Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goal-Setting and Loose Ramblings from my Brain

I think it's a good time to "reset" myself somewhat and clearly establish some upcoming goals...with regards to future running endeavors and aspirations. One thing I am no longer striving for is the common goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. This past Friday, I had the day off and Vince and I had another great 9 mile trail run followed by my return to "retail sales" at Vertical Runner. Back before I landed my government job in April, I was working part-time at the store but now with a full-time job in Canton, it's become impossible. I absolutely love working at VR. I called my wife while there...reaching for some accountability...I told her that I felt like a kid in a candy store. The new fall/winter apparel is covering the walls and I could do some serious damage to my credit line if not I wasn't careful. She brought me down to reality and I walked out empty-handed but not before trying on a few Keen's new light-weight trail running shoes. Oh my, I sure do love Keen. They fit perfect every time. ANYWAY, Vince was rattling off all the folks who were heading to Boston in April. Wow, I had no idea there were SO many chowder-eatin' runners in my midst. The closest I ever came was by accident. It was November 2000 in Richmond. My goal was to crack 3:30 for the first time and I ran a 3:21. That was only 3 years into marathon running. Now in my 11th year of "serious" running, I have attempted to at least PR, but the closest I've gotten is 3:26...twice. Richmond 2007 and Athens 2008. Now, I've inserted this crazy ultra-stuff and my overall pace has greatly slowed but endurance and plain 'ol grit has increased. Undoubtedly, speed can be regained through track work as I've proven in the past. I'll try to hit the track this fall/winter at the Kent field house and get the turnover moving a little quicker again. However, I no longer desire a BQ least for now. I'm not a believer that "anyone" can qualify for Boston if they only try and train correctly. We're all made unique and for some of us, we just need to wait until we're older and qualifying becomes more in reach. (yes, I understand that many of you disagree with this...can we agree to disagree?) I'd say my passion falls more in reaching distances/time in excess of what I've previously accomplished. Pushing the "envelope," so to speak. With that in mind, my immediate/near-term running goals are shaped. Let me say this, too: as I blog this morning, I'm tracking good friends running the Columbus Marathon. It was in the 30s this morning and crystal clear. Truly a "Big Red Bow" morning...couldn't be better. I am so excited for a few who are on track to set personal records. They may finish by the time I finish here and if so, I'll post their results down below. I'm not even there but I'm very excited to see how they are doing...I really wish I was there today. You guys are a true inspiration! I love seeing others reach their goals...makes me speechless, I guess.

On deck for my immediate future:

13 days from now, my dad and I will hit the road for Lynchburg, VA. At 6:30am, November 1st, the gun will sound for the Mount Masochist 50 Miler in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's been sold out for months at a race cap of 300 runners/masochists. This is one of Dr. Horton's races and with that said, is 54 or so miles. This will be the first Horton race I've done. CRAZY elevation profile and a race cutoff of 12 hours. For sure, I'll post a race report as soon as I can afterwards. My dad will have an eye-opening experience as this is will be his first exposure to the ultra-side of running.

Next will be the Home Run for the Homeless on Thanksgiving Day in Akron. It's a very hilly 4 mile race that benefits the homeless in Akron...obviously. A really cool thing at this race is the mountain of running shoes that are donated each year. I accumulate my over-mileage running shoes, clean them up well, and donate them each year. They all get distributed to the homeless in Akron. This is a large event and regardless of your ability, I encourage you to participate. Don't wait until race-day to register as the line is always very long. Pre-registration is only $9. Here is the form to end the procrastination. A 1-mile family fun run is also offered. What else will you be doing on Turkey Day morning????

9 days later, a group of 6 of us will be heading to southern Indiana for the Tecumseh Trail Marathon...a point-to-point trail event. Road trip! This will mark marathon #23 for me. I've never run a trail marathon and am really looking forward to this. The race should be sold out by the end of this weekend at 600 runners since only 20 spots remained two days ago. It's a solid 5 weeks after the Masochism so I should be recovered and ready to go.

The year's last event will be the GNYER (Great New Year's Eve 5K race) in Stow, OH. A fun event with hot soup at the finish. I actually PR'd on this course last year with something like a 19:40...and it's a very hilly course. I wanted to run another 5K in 2008 that was flat to get another PR but it never happened.

For 2009, a few key events will be the Winter Buckeye Trail 50K (almost sold out!), some spring marathon (TBD), the Green Jewel 100K (date TBA), and the capstone event, the 2009 Burning River 100 Miler. Mr. BR100 and I have some unfinished business. Plus, that BR100 sticker is burning a hole in my glove needs a home on my rear car window. (did you know that this sticker was my idea?!?!? Sorry, I had to grab some fame while I had the chance!)

OK...the Columbus Marathon: a HUGE shout-out to Susan L. for running a 3:18!!! I cannot describe how proud I am of you!!! That is phenomenal! To Boston once again for you! Also, great job to Jamie C. who accompanied Susan along the way and also ran a super race...3:19 finish. GREAT! Kudos to Jim C. for another sub 3 hour finish at 2:55...awesome job. And lastly (sorry, I'm sure I'm missing people), congratulations to the newest chowder-eating club member....Rose!!! Rose, you finally did it! Boston bound! 3:37!!! YOU ROCK!!!
You guys are all such an inspiration. Heck, I've had the jitters all morning just "watching" you online! Nothing beats the 'ol road marathon...such an exciting event.

This felt like an exhausting entry today...would've rather been exhausted by running Columbus!

See you on the trails...


Brett S. said...

Nick, I will second your statement about us all being built different. What is achievable for one may not be for another. However it doesn't have to stop us from trying.

Nick Billock said...

True. However, I think shifting focus from time to time is good to keep running fresh and interesting. Constantly trying to qualify and failing can and has got me in a rut. If running ever turns into something that I don't enjoy, a change has to be made. I will try again, for sure, but I think it's OK to not have it be the main goal right now. I'm not saying "I give up!" but more like "I'll get back to this one day."...but just not right now. Make sense?

Sensationally Red said...

Being a long slow distance girl, the thought of training for Boston just makes me tired. Let me tell ya theory is that a consistent Boston qualifier is not a qualifier in the sack. Jack rabbits. Give me a turtle anyday..

Thanks for your kind words on my blog. I'm given hope in your obviously solid marriage. That picture of you two is too cute!

Susan said...

Thanks for the "shout out". You have been a constant support and I appreciate you. I especially appreciate your talking me out of the parka I planned on wearing for C-bus! Goals can be consuming, but they also keep us going. Keep going, Nick. Your Boston goal is very, very attainable.