Sunday, August 22, 2010

Choices for the Fall

First, a quick update on the medical front: I took 3 Lithium pills on Friday, which proved to be too many then I cut it down to 2 for Saturday and it still felt like it was too many. It's evening on Sunday and I've taken nothing today and my energy is progressively improving. I tried to quit last week but could not and I might try again this week. I think there is a chance that I could be free from any pills for the first time since 1998. What more could I want for my 30th birthday?
As far as the upcoming month, we'll see cooler and drier air coming into Alabama. YES! Afternoons may still be quite warm but less humid and we'll see cooler mornings, which means that I can do long runs outdoors again. As for racing in September, there's really not a whole lot on the radar. There is a race in Tupelo on my list in the future but I've ruled it out for this year. It's a 14.2 miler and I'd treat it as a training run in which I run the first 13 at BQ pace then run the last mile all out. If I can run the last mile in the low-6s, I'll know that I have a shot. Johnny usually directs an 8K on the 3rd Saturday and I feel that I should come out and support him. There is a 5K at the Bessemer airport on the 25th that I may consider. It'll certainly be flat but with a light turnout, there is a high probability of ending up in no-man's land in which I'm the only one finishing in the 19s or 20s. If my 5K PR ends up being a solo time trial, I would be okay with that but one way or another, I'll get it before the end of the year. I also want to take one more shot at my lifetime goals in the Mile and 400 and that will cut into my mileage since I'll need a rest day prior to the attempt and the day itself will be lower mileage. As for October and November, I've got a ton of options:
Oct 2-3: Montgomery half, Hueytown 5K (local), 13.1 Atlanta series
Oct 9-10: Run for Life half (Jackson, MS), Race for the Cure
Oct. 16-17- Murfreesboro half, Maple Leaf 5K (local) both are flat and fast
Oct. 23-24- Houston half
Oct. 30-31- Silver Comet half (Atlanta), Greenville half
Nov. 6-7- Vulcan 10K, Food World 10K (Mobile)
Nov. 13-14- Huntsville half, Chickamauga Battlefield half
Nov. 20-21- Turkey Burner 5K @ my old gym in Monty
After all that, I have my marathon in Huntsville on December 11th. Of course, I won't race every weekend but I will likely end up choosing 3 or 4 and odds are, all of which will be PR attempts. More racing means fewer miles and fewer long runs on the weekends. If I am to keep my slim BQ hopes alive, I really can't afford to race more than once a month. How much of a chance do I really have this year? That should be answered pretty soon. If I still have to take the Lithium and my medical report reveals continued hyperthyroidism, I have no chance at all. If I am free from any chemical imbalances, I have no doubt that my talent is sufficient to achieve a goal that is arguably the most sought after among amateur athletes. However, I expect that even if I am 100% healthy, I will still need to average close to 60 miles/wk if not more. I cannot afford many race weeks and mini-tapers in which my distance may not top 40. So the question is: Do I really ramp up the mileage and go for the BQ or do I race frequently and focus on steadily improving my current PRs? I set all time PRs or post-HS PRs at all 6 distances in both 2008 and 2009. As for 2010, I am halfway there with near misses at 400 and 5K. Setting PRs at every distance is a goal that is attainable with or without freedom from the Lithium though the half in 1:32:57 could be tough to beat. What's my answer to that question? I cannot say just yet. If I can successfully quit the Lithium and see an immediate and significant improvement in my training as a result of it, I just might go for the BQ. If I break 1:30 in October and have another 2 months to improve, I will certainly go for it. Otherwise, I will not. One of the best things about being a runner is that if you miss a race in a particular year, the event will almost certainly be held again the following year and that includes Boston. Barring an adjustment to the qualifying standards, it will get easier in time. At 33 years of age, I will need to run a 3:10 but at 34, it relaxes to a 3:15, then 3:20 at 39 and all the way to 3:30 at 44. Yes, I expect to slow down between 33-44 and who knows what life has in store but my capability surely will not slow by a full 20 minutes or 45 seconds per mile.

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