I’ve had a five year plan for running (ha, unintentional humor I discovered during editing) in my head for quite some time now. Actually, it’s more like a “before I’m 30” plan, not because 30 is a big, scary age but more like… five year plans sound good when they end on a decade. So my 30th birthday it is and my five year planned started on June 7th, 2014, officially — the day after I was finally discharged from physical therapy. Sometimes life works in funny ways, you know?
So, five years. I don’t even know what could happen to me with five years of consistent running under my belt! I’ve run consistently for about six months, ran a half marathon under my two hour time goal, it was fun and I decided I’d do it again. Then I stopped for three months, picked up again for six months – crushed my half marathon PR by over 15 minutes – and got injured. It’s killing me that I left off my last hard running days with a hell of a half marathon PR, a 5k PR, and huge goals… and poof… just like that, done.
I am going to finish out the next five years of running with a freakin’ bang. It’s going to be awesome. I’m going to be strong. I’m going to kick out some more PRs. I might even invest in runderwear for it (Hollie – when the time comes, point me in all the right directions). Then I’m going to tackle the marathon and hopefully not hate it too much, but it’s a guaranteed PR so it can’t be all bad, right? Besides, if I do completely hate it, I know I have a few friends who will be like “What? Marathons suck, drink this beer. Sign up for another one. It gets better with age.” and then I’ll have another one to write on my calendar in the distance. Then I’ll knock out a few more PRs, likely with some craptastic races in the middle (because I should throw a little realism into this five year plan), tackle that second marathon, maybe hate it a little less when I get another shiny PR (because I feel like the 2nd one has to be better than the first). It’d be ideal that this would transition into phase three which is basically going to be “Let’s BQ, bitches.” (in the voice of Jesse Pinkman).
Like every “plan”, things never go according to it. When I was prepping for teacher interviews in my final semester at college, we were asked how we think we should answer the “What’s your 5, 10, 15 year plan?” question. Apparently what your future employer is looking for is somebody who knows what they want, but recognizes that plans change and are willing to adapt to those changes. Well, I’m willing to adapt to changes. But they have to be reasonable changes. Breaking 22 minutes in my 5k is a plan that is staying and it’s happening.
The marathon might not be my thing. BQing might be laughable. I might fall in love with trail runs. Maybe I’ll find out that marathons are awful, but ultras are awesome (kind of like 7 or 9 hours of sleep is perfect for me, but never 8). Or I could just decide to stop running all together and be one of the CrossFit snobs I never wanted to become. The future is unknown, but I’m sticking to the plan as long as it fits.
Winter 2014-Spring 2015 (26): Injury free half marathons
Summer 2015 (27): Sub 22 5k
Fall 2015 (27): Sub 1:40 half marathon
Spring 2016 (27): Marathon
Even though I’ve got this five year goal shape in my head, I can’t put down much into my head beyond spring of 2016. It’s just silly. I want to run the Lake Effect Half (February) injury free. Last year it didn’t go that well. If all goes according to plan, starting in March I’m going to officially start real, legitimate training. It’d be nice to come into the Buffalo Half (May) strong and come close to my 1:42.47 PR to get a “feel”, but I honestly think I could crush that with some effort. I just don’t want to look towards that being a goal, yet. Injury free first. I went into that race with my “A” goal feeling supremely ridiculous at 1:45, I paced myself for 1:50, which felt far-fetched but was more realistic on a good day. Is it weird that I still think about that race a lot? I concentrated on trying to stay above 8:00/mile for a good third of the race before deciding my legs didn’t want to do that pace and I picked it up. What if I had a better plan? A better idea of where I was at? It’ll be almost two years since I actually raced when I toe that line again, barring no setbacks. I kind of want to crush it.
I plan to focus on the shorter races over the summer while keeping half marathon distance running under my feet. That sub 22 minute 5k has been laughing in my face since I was 15 and it cannot happen any longer. I need to see 21 on that clock next summer. I will see 21. And then I will drink my face off in that beer tent like I just turned 21.
From there, we’ll hope for a marathon in the works.
And in between, I’ll always aim to PR in my races. I’m not good at running races for the sake of running races without trying to beat my last time. I’m kind of a novice in that I’ve never run a race of the same distance and not set a PR (with exception to high school cross country/track and injury races). I have always set PRs. My five year plan includes being reminded to be humble very often because I’m going to have to fight for PRs sometime. I’ll keep my cross training so I never end up back on the injury pain train again. Maybe I’ll even get to experience a destination race. There’s a lot of absolutes in there, but I won’t be injured again and I will not always set PRs. I think those are pretty solid absolutes to
aim for bank on.
Thirty seems like so far away but I have a feeling I’ll be looking back on this in 5 years laughing at these goals and how far I’ve come. And the best would be if I can do it with a glass of wine, looking at my medal holder, seeing the blue and gold finisher medal staring me back in the face. Wouldn’t that be a great first destination race?