Long time readers of this blog (are there any other types? Both of you are very faithful, bless you!) will know that my running goals change just a little over time. The last goal was to do 10 marathons. Before that there was the running a marathon under 4 hour goal. And way back when there was Finishing a Marathon Without Dying (check, check, and check). Currently I have two or three other goals. An ultimate goal is to run down the Grand Canyon, across it, back up the other side, and then turn around and do the same thing again. It can take 8 to 12 hours for "middle of the pack runners" (which is me). This is not a formal event, but it's something distance runners sometimes do and I think it would be the pinnacle of distance running. It's called "Rim to Rim to Rim" or, as a coworker kindly phrased it, RimJob 2013. Sorry bout that, but I'm not the one who came up with it *grin*. This is a 42 mile run, so another obvious goal is to get to where I can run more than 26 miles at once. Those are called ultra-marathons and are, as you know, kind of insane.
The new goal, however, comes directly from this most recent marathon. The fact that I was able to hold onto a pace that was not that far off 9 minutes per mile for 18 miles kind of surprised and very much pleased me, so now my new goal is to do another 4 hour or less time in a normal marathon. I say "normal" because I'm not going to try that on a trail marathon or other insane kind of event - just on a flat old marathon course. A sub 4 marathon is typically about a 9 minute pace, or just a smidge over. I've done this before, but it was a few years ago and I had thought my (for me) speedy days were over. But now I have new hope and I may try for it this fall in California. The challenge will be to work on this while simultaneously upping my miles to more ultra distances (i.e, 50+ mile weeks with lots of back to back effort). That will be, uhm, fun?
In service of this new goal I did 13.1 miles today at a 9 minute pace on a treadmill. Well, it was just slightly above that. A 9 minute pace for 11 miles, then about 9:20 for the last 2.1 miles, but still pretty close. I went with the treadmill because a) it's 90 freaking degrees out, and humid to boot, but also b) I wanted a way of really tracking and regulating my pace. I wanted to see if I could stay at that 9 minute pace for a moderately long distance. Turns out I can, so now I just need to incorporate tempo runs into this summer/fall so that I'm training to run my distance runs at that speed.
Now that I've shared this goal with the (very small) virtual world of our readers all I have to do is implement it. Wish me luck and above all, no damn injuries!