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Spring is a weird time of year, for me, running-wise. Everyone else seems to be gearing up for a great season of races, and I am generally winding down and dreading the Atlanta heat. The whole time I’ve been running, my goal races have been in the spring, and I’ve then had downtime—and sometimes weather malaise– as the weather warms up and I recover.

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“Don’t make me run. I just want to sleep.”

This year, I’m treating things differently. First of all, my major race came and went in February! We officially start spring today—and I just can’t slack off just yet. The potential for goals has presented itself, and I am ready to take on the challenge. I’ve got several races coming up, and one major goal. So here’s the rundown:

The “A” Goal: The Wisconsin Marathon, May 4: Run 3.2 miles at 8:10 pace. I’m not running the marathon, or even the ½, as I have the last two years. But I’m going up to the race with my friend Katie, who is attempting a BQ. I plan to see her at mile 4, mile 11, and then at mile 23, jump in and run the last bit of the race with her. Her goal pace is 8:20; I want some wiggle room in my ability in case we need to push it some to make her goal.

I won't be running for a medal this year, but for something that is way cooler!

I won’t be running for a medal this year, but for something that is way cooler!

The “B” Goal: Run a 24:50 5k, Mid-May.  For a long-time, a 25:00 5k has been a hazy, somewhere far off in the distance goal. The 5k has been a distance I hate for a long time. I just want to yak the whole time. But a few weeks ago, Tim said something to me that made me re-think why I hate the 5k so much. He is a good racer, and he said to me, “A 5k should start hurting about 1:00 in.” Well, that made me consider: it’s supposed to be hard!  And I know I can handle hard. I just have to do it. Then, during the Silver Comet 10k, when I finished with that awesome 8:26 pace, I decided I wanted to shoot for running a shorter race in which my average pace started with a 7. 7:59/mile would put me at 24:50. I WANT THAT. I’ve seen what speed training can do, and I intend to spend a lot of time at the track to get there. I’m looking at a race in mid-May to shoot for that goal. It lines up nicely with the goal I have to run with Katie in Wisconsin, and I may make the Brunch Run the goal race. Plus, there will be bacon afterward. HELLO.

The “C” Goal: Toughen up in the heat, all summer. Every year I’ve said I would use summer as a time to get faster. While I certainly would like to finally have my ‘summer of speed,’ I have wound up rehabbing or prehabbing an injury for the past two summers. This year, I want to get tougher about the heat. I don’t know exactly what that means, except embracing the fact that it will be hard and I will sweat a lot. But Idon’t want to give up the gains I’ve made so far, and that training in heat without excuses will reap dividends in the fall. For sure this will mean looking forward to the Peachtree, and not dreading it as I so often do. I’ll formulate more on this goal going forward, but now I’ve at least said it.

I do NOT want to let my Ragnar Chicago team down by wilting in the heat.

I do NOT want to let my Ragnar Chicago team down by wilting in the heat.

Upcoming races: I’ll be heading to Charleston in a couple of weeks for the Cooper River Bridge Run. I’ll figure out closer to time what that race goal needs to look like as it lines up with my 5k training. I’ll also figure out if the Brunch Run on May 11 is indeed my 5k PR attempt. I’ll also formulate a plan for the Soldier Field 10-miler. I’ve never run a 10-mile race before, so it’ll be an automatic PR, but I want to run a worthy race.

Anybody want to share their goals, or how to work toward a speedier pace, with me?

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