Maybe My Half-Marathon Goal Is Too Aggressive

Maybe My Half-Marathon Goal Is Too Aggressive


What is this parasitic blob that has taken up residence in my head?

Ooooh, yeah. It’s doubt. Hello, old friend.

I’d been riding my runner’s high for about seven months, right up until week 1 of my new half-marathon training regimen. In March, I turned in a fantastic race in Washington, D.C., finishing the half in 1:55 after training to break 2:00. I wanted more.

Heck, if I could break 2:00 by five minutes, why couldn’t I break 1:55 by five minutes?

I’ll tell you why: To shave 10 minutes off a half-marathon is to shave 46 seconds off each mile. And lemme tell you, it’s hard. At least for these legs.

Finish time Pace per mile
2:00 9:10
1:55 8:47
1:50 8:24

It took me two years to break 2:00, and that whole time I trained for right around 9:00 miles. These days, to get in under 1:50, I’m training for 8:30 miles—I know 8:30 gives me a 1:51 finish, not 1:50, but I’m expecting to surprise myself.

Well, here’s a surprise: 8:30, at least so far, has proved nearly impossible.

Continue reading “Maybe My Half-Marathon Goal Is Too Aggressive”

The Best Yet: Breaking Down a Near-Perfect Race


It took two years and two months. Finally, I reached my goal of a sub-2:00 half-marathon. If I’d done it on my first half or my second or my third, I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much.

And I didn’t just squeak under 2, either. I blew it out of the water. Official time: 1:55:20.

All my training was based on 9:00 miles. I think 9:02 would have gotten me in just under the wire, so I wanted some breathing room. My plan was to start out around 9:15 and gradually pick up the pace. But by the first 5K, I was already closing in on 9:00. Too fast too soon? History says yes.

Continue reading “The Best Yet: Breaking Down a Near-Perfect Race”

15 Reasons Why I Run

running_shoesMy run tracking app of choice, RunKeeper, posted a short poll today that got me thinking. “Fill in the blank. I run to __________!” I couldn’t settle for just one answer. So here are 15.

I run because __________.

  1. I put it in my calendar. (Things that are scheduled are more likely to get done.)
  2. My wife likes how I look.
  3. I like how I look.
  4. I fit into my smaller jeans.
  5. I can eat anything I want.
  6. I feel great all day after a morning run. (And I always run in the morning.)
  7. I have energy for everything else in life.
  8. I sleep so well at night.
  9. During a run, the daily grind rarely enters my mind.
  10. When I push through challenging runs, I’m strengthening my character.
  11. The runner’s high.
  12. With runs lasting 30 to 300 minutes, I have plenty of solo think time.
  13. I get to rock out to motivating music.
  14. Personal records.
  15. I love me some bling and a space blanket at the finish line.

Finding Inspiration in an Elite Runner’s Failure

Photos by Aaron Lavinsky/azcentral sports
Photos by Aaron Lavinsky/azcentral sports

I finished my third full marathon two weeks ago. I set a personal record, too, with an asterisk that says *Hit wall at mile 22.5.

Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about Roosevelt Cook.

Cook finished second in the P.F. Chang’s Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. It wasn’t because he couldn’t quite catch up to the winner. Rather, it was his race to win. He was leading the whole thing, comfortably, and then—BAM!—he crashed (bonked, hit the wall, etc.), allowing the eventual winner to pass him around mile 23.

I had a mental picture of Cook simply slowing up, until I saw a photo of him hunched over, hand on his hip and head hanging low. Full stop. An elite marathon runner stopped on the course?!

Continue reading “Finding Inspiration in an Elite Runner’s Failure”