“If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else”.
(Lawrence J. Peter)
I start each year by creating a set of goals for myself to ensure I continue to Walk into the Future.
Past years I created a goal to run a set number of miles during the year (example: 1,000 miles) but decided to eliminate this practice and concentrate on run quality instead of quantity.
My 2022 run goals centered around 3 quality runs weekly without the shadow of a set number of miles as the goal. I always found myself singularly focused on the end number instead of the impact each run had towards my goal and fitness level. Mentally I was always chasing a number I made up in January and that was not always a fun activity.
Fast forward and the 1,312 training miles I completed in 2022 is the most yearly mileage I have ever completed. Launching my full marathon training program in July helped me clock miles but I was well on my way toward a mileage personal record (PR). The marathon training process highlighted I needed to add training sessions and mileage to fully embrace the run challenge of a full marathon.
I routinely ran 3 days a week prior to my marathon training program and needed a 4th day to continue to build my mileage base. I also needed to create a true run plan to identify the targeted mileage for each session.
Prior to 2022 I would just go out for a run and then determine how far I wanted to go during that session. Running in 2022 forced me to lay out a detailed weekly training program to identify how far I would run during each session. I know this sounds simple and I’m sure most folks do this, but my running program had structure but needed more focus to get me to the start line for the Palm Beaches marathon. I discovered putting a number on the training session (3 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Wednesday, 8 miles on Thursday, 10 miles on Saturday) made me hit my mile markers each session. Anything less than what I projected left me looking for ways to get my miles in. Weekly mileage numbers were critical to my running success in 2022.
Mile by mile, day by day allowed me to top 1,300 miles in 2022. I’m sure I could have surpassed that number if I put more focus on the mileage for each session prior to July 2022.
My 2023 run goal is to run 4 days weekly (25 – 30 miles total) with one day dedicated to speed work. I am registered for 10 races for 2023 with a combination of 5ks, 10ks and half marathons. I don’t know if I will tackle another full marathon in 2023 or ever but never say never. I will let my weekly running sessions determine how many total miles I run in 2023. Excited to track my progress and growth as I expand my running base and test myself with road work.
What goals do you have for 2023?
FYI: Clocked 127 miles in January 2023! 😊
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”.
I did not make this rate go up much but happy to join the folks who have toed the line and completed a full marathon.
I have documented my goal to complete a marathon in 2022 and provided updates on my training progress since July. I selected an 18-week training program to prepare me for the journey. The training plan was precise on when to run and how far to run to build a base to start and complete a marathon—mission accomplished.
Thanks to my friends and family for the encouragement during the training—it meant a lot to get positive shout outs while I was on this journey.
Made my way down to West Palm Beach the day prior to the marathon to get acclimated to the area and attend the Gardens of Life Palm Beaches Marathon EXPO. I was expecting this to be a large venue like the Rock N Roll events, but it was much smaller than I imagined and completely outside. The EXPO was a series of tents in front of the Meyers Amphitheater close to the water. There were only a handful of vendors at the EXPO so not much to browse or purchase. Check-in was simple considering the size of the venue. Got my race bib, t-shirt, goody bag and headed across the street to get food.
Made my way to the ER Bradley’s Saloon which had a funky vibe, great atmosphere and was still serving brunch when I arrived. The World Cup was playing on all the TVs and they had a DJ spinning tunes in the middle of the afternoon. Seems like a great place to hang out when I’m back in West Palm Beach.
Headed back to the hotel to get off my feet, rest and mentally prepare for what was coming in the morning. Got to bed early since I needed to be up around 4:30 am to prepare and make it to the start line for the 6 am race time.
Leveraged my hotel proximity to the start line and used the 1-mile distance as part of my warmup before the race. Yes, I used this distance to run/walk my way to the race start—wanted my legs to be warm for the race.
This race did not have corrals so found a nice spot in the middle of the other runners and waited for the race to start. We got delayed for 10 minutes which had a few folks upset since they were ready to challenge themselves and the course. We never heard why we got delayed but the horn went off and runners surged towards the start/finish line.
I decided the day before to keep my pace as even as possible and focused on mile splits within the 10:30 – 10:50 range. This would allow me to gauge my fitness and mental capacity over the first half of the race to determine what I had left in the tank.
The first few miles went by, and I realized I had a big smile on my face. This was because the months of training, early mornings and sacrifice was being played out in a real marathon. Looking back, I was smiling at this point because we started around 6 am and the sun was still not out—didn’t realize it at the time but the coolness of the morning was going to go away very soon.
Fast forward and I kept the 10:30 – 10:50 pace range through the first 16 miles of the race. I crossed the half marathon (13.1 mile) point at 2:26:32 which may have been too fast, but I felt good. This is where my lack of marathon experience showed. I was able to maintain my run form and kept moving forward with this pace.
The sun came out in full force at the 16-mile mark, and I noticed my pace start to slow. At first it was a gradual slow down then the pace slowed more. I felt great mentally, took water/Gatorade and gels at every station. A lot of folks talk about hitting a wall in the marathon, but I won’t completely say that’s what I did. I never thought about quitting just was upset with myself because my legs did not respond when I wanted them to.
Decided at this point that I didn’t care what the clock said I was finishing this race.
Amazing thing that happens during marathons is you get to see other folks experiencing the same mental struggle, pain, and doubts. We even talked to each other as an impromptu support group to keep moving forward. Even funnier is when you see another runner talking to their legs to keep them going, I didn’t do this because I didn’t think it would work. LOL.
The last 10 miles of the race was just me putting one foot in front of the other and showing the most grit I’ve ever displayed in my life. I set a goal to complete a full marathon and I got it done. Can’t say it was slower than I imagined because it’s the fastest marathon of my life (yes, the first one too) so I’m proud of the effort to make it from start to finish.
Official clock time was 5:48:28 (five hours, forty-eight minutes, and twenty-eight seconds).
I’m going to bask in this accomplishment, take some time off from running and sleep in for a few weeks. My Walk into the Future has a busy 2023 race calendar so will enjoy some downtime before cranking up the training.