Sunday, November 19, 2006

Three Days And Counting

My big Thanksgiving Day race in Manchester is only 3 days away, so it's time to take stock, and I have to admit that everything has gone just fine. In other words, I haven't planned well. As every veteran runner knows, there are two key parts to a successful training plan: Do lots of solid workouts; and invent plenty of excuses--excuses that you'll be ready to bandy about after a disappointing performance.

I've failed miserably at part two: no injuries, no missed training sessions, no excuses.

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean I'm going to have a great race. I've trained well, but I don't seem to have gotten much fitter and faster. This is part of the mystery of training: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Last April, prior to the Runner's World Half Marathon, I could feel my training come together a week or two before the Half. I knew I was ready for a good race-day effort, and that's what I got: a 1:28:30 half marathon, my best in a number of years.

This fall I figured I'd (1) train harder, (2) lose a few more pounds, and (3) get faster. I achieved numbers 1 and 2, but number 3 never happened. Like I said, the mystery of training. I've had workouts such as 6 x 800 in 3:03 (on a slightly downhill treadmill) and 4-mile tempo runs at about 6:45 pace, but I was expecting more. Not much more, just a nice little breakthrough at some point.

It didn't come. Still, I'm determined to run to my limit on Thursday. Here are my times for the 4.75-mile course the last 4 years, working backward from last year, 2005--32:20, 31:03, 32:15, 32:31. My new division, the 60-69 division, has been won with about a 31:40 the last couple of years.

Since a personal Blog is nothing if it doesn't get truly personal, I'm going out on a limb here to predict what I'll run on Thursday. These guesstimates assume that the weather isn't a big negative factor: Good Day (31:40), Great Day (31:10), Fantasy Day (sub-31:00). Anything less than the Good Day 31:40 would be a real disappointment. Especially since I don't have any excuses at the ready.

The Fantasy Day result is the one I thought I could achieve 2 months ago. Now it seems largely out of reach. But that's why they hold the race, isn't it? To see how far we can stretch ourselves.


At 12:18 AM, Blogger Perry H. said...

Best of luck Amby! I'm inspired to give my own 5 miler here in Austin my best effort. Let us know how you did! Like you taught me in your inspiring book, Tradition kept is the key I think.....

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

go Amby, GO! Thinking of my dad as well, it just seems that you men of experience have a way of finding performance uumph, when one least espects it...

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you remember all the cold days we use to have !!!!
So I don't think 49' and a little rain will hold you back.
I think you're going to win that division and have a super race.
Just remember all the good times you've had there and let it flow.
Good luck Amby..
Kevin Gallerani


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