Let the game begin (whimper)

I’ve said it aloud. In front of my boss’s boss’s marathon-running boss, no less. And a few other co-workers. Of course, only some of the even know what it means because you kinda have to do it to know.

I want to run the Thanksgiving Day 5k in less than 20 minutes. What the heck, let’s say 19:30.

Now, you’re probably wondering, "Why in the heck would you want to do a thing like that?" And that’s a valid question. I read a comment under a column in the NY Times yesterday that stated, quite succinctly, my general take on marathons: "training for a marathon represents the triumph of ego over good judgment." And maybe that has something to do with my desire to run a fast 5k. But I think it’s more that I know I can do it. When I was in high school, I used to run a 2.1 mile route in between sports seasons. I got my time for that run down to 12 minutes. In college, I had to do a 1.5-mile run for two separate fitness tests (once at the start of the semester and once at the end). For the second test, I ran it (sick with a cold—snot dripping from my nostrils) in 9 minutes flat. Also, I’ve run this same Thanksgiving Day 5k every year for the past three years now, and, if I recall correctly, my times have gone 22:35, 20:35 and 21:30. On the slower years, I started fast and then faded hard. On the year of the near miss, I was passing people in the last mile. I can do it—I’m convinced.

The beginning of an annual tradition (wow, I actually look tall in this picture)

Now, training: That’s the big question mark in my plans. The year of the near miss, I was having my best cycling/time trial season. I’d taken the time to develop a base. I had more aerobic training in my system than I knew what to do with. Oh, and I also had only one child and a lot more spare time. Mind you, I’ve also achieved 6 min/mile speed (in high school and college) via anaerobic puke-worthy speed training. I used to know how to really make it hurt. That was before I got on the periodization bus. Now, I don’t do a lot of "making it hurt."

But I figure that the proper training will really be a mixture of both. I’ll have to do some hurting, I think (which will, I hope, lessen the hurting on race day). I’ll also have to build up the aerobic capacity. So I’ll be throwing in a few bricks, some 2-mile all-out time trials and some strength training. At least, that’s my plan.

For all of you readers out there (whoa now, let’s not totally overwhelm the MSN servers), I’m curious: Do you know anyone who’s run a 5k that fast? What did he or she do? What kind of fitness background did he or she have beforehand? Really, I’m curious.


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