Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Fire Under my Butt

I've improved a lot in the last semester, especially in my running. My first workout of this semester was a 4-mile run with two of my friends who were training for the L.A. Marathon. Our pace was around 11:30/mile. A few weeks later, at track practice, we had a run test to determine our 5K pace, and I ran 11:00/mile. And that was really pushing myself. Two weekends ago, at UCSB, I ran my 5K in 28:08, at about 9:03/mile, and this week at CSULB I ran 8:34/mile.

My next race is the Shawnee Mission Triathlon, which is the first triathlon I ever did. The distances were 1000 M, 18 mi, 4.5 mi. My goal was to finish, and I did . . . third from last. All my energy is going into improving as much as I possibly can in the next two months and presenting myself at that race as prepared as I possibly can be; I want to see how far I've come.

As I was reflecting on my race times for today, I started wondering how my times from that first race would compare. I looked up the 2006 results, and there I was, 46 out of a field of 48 (and 48 didn't finish), with a time of 2:59:10. 24:18 for the 1000 M swim (that's 2:58/100 M), 1:33:50 for the 18 mile bike (11.5 MPH), and 55:26 for the run (12:20/mile). This year, at the very least, I want to swim in 20:00, bike in 1:00, and run in 45:00. That gives me a time of 2:05 (plus transitions). That's almost an hour faster!

Then I started wondering what, exactly, the field was like last year. And I wondered if it would be similar this year. The winning woman went in 1:40:50. But she was 36, therefore not in my age group. In the 20-24 age group, there were only three other women. Only three. And only one of those was in the top ten. So I've been thinking . . .

I want to really, really push myself, this year. I want to knock off those extra 5 minutes and finish in under 2 hours. And I want to finish in the top ten (which last year would have meant a time of 1:58:33 or less). And I want to podium in my age group.

Are these realistic goals? I'm actually not sure. For me to say that I want to finish in under 2 hours is ambitious, no matter how much I plan to improve. Getting my swim down to a 2:00 100 M from today's 3:00 debacle will take lots and lots of work. Averaging anything more than 18 MPH (which I did today) on the bike will be tough, especially since the course is relatively hilly. And to run 9:00/mile after pushing myself really hard through the first two events will hurt like nothing else. But I want to do this. I really, really want to do this.

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