Week 124: Finishing Strong

This week marked the beginning of November. That’s notable for a couple of reasons. First-off it was my birthday! It also means that there are just two months left in this year. That’s right just 60 days to accomplish those goals that we all set at New Years time.

So far 2019 has been a pretty good year and I have accomplished most of my goals I prioritized for this year. But there are still some things I want to accomplish. So that can only mean one thing, it is time to finish strong.

For the rest of the year I want to try to push myself a bit more. To run a little harder. To go to the gym a bit more often. To lift a little heavier. And it is a good time of the year to do that with Thanksgiving and those Christmas cookies!

My “finish strong” strategy started taking shape with my Columbus Marathon performance which kicked-off racing season. From the marathon day through New Years I am participating in a race every two weeks. On of my goals that I hadn’t achieved so far this year was to improve my running pace without pain and these last few races should give me a good chance to do it.

My quest to improve my speed started off on the right foot this weekend. On Saturday I participated in The Great Pumpkin Run 5k. It was a cold morning and I wasn’t feeling 100% after being out late celebrating my birthday the night before. But waiting for the perfect conditions means never trying so I decided to make this race the time when I start pushing myself.

Once I crossed the start line I ran hard. I didn’t throttle myself at my 9:30 to 10:00 per mile average pace. To make things even better I barely looked at my pace tracking while I was running. I just ran at a pace that was a little uncomfortable but not painful or excessive.

I crossed the finish line and looked at my results on my fitness tracker but I didn’t believe what I saw. I had a little hiccup with starting the tracking at the beginning and lost a few seconds of data so I was concerned that it skewed the results. So I had to wait for the official race results to be posted which didn’t happen in real time. When the results finally became available I was shocked and to barely believe my eyes.

I completed my 5k with a total time of 26:01, that’s a pace of 8:24 per mile. This wasn’t just my best time ever but it was 26 seconds per mile faster than previous personal record. It was significantly faster than I had expected to reach as a stretch goal. And I felt good with no pain afterwards.

I am pretty proud of my performance in this weekend’s race but I am not convinced it is repeatable. I may have just had a one outlier time. The good news is that I have lots more opportunities to test it. With a few more hard runs maybe I can get to a consistent 5k pace of under 9:00 per mile. That was my goal for this year and I am going to finish strong.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope that my experiences and my tips can help you achieve your own big goals. If we work together we can build a world where goals never die of loneliness!