Slowly but surely, I feel like I'm getting back to my old self. I've said it before, I'll never be "elite fast", but I've been fast enough (and fortunate enough) to win my age group a few times. So if I'm one of the "faster old guys" I guess that makes me "moderately fast", or "slightly above average fast" ... which at 43, I can live with.
Since the whole foot-strike change, I've really struggled with three main things - leg fatigue, reduction in endurance, and reduction in speed. But as I slowly ... and I mean SLOOOOOWLY, progress through the whole forefoot strike thing, I'm gradually beginning to see all three improve. I know the endurance will come eventually. That's just running more and more and more ... right? And as my legs get stronger, they don't fatigue as easily. I rarely have anything other than common muscle soreness after a run. But the speed ... ah, the speed. That's tricky.
I know many of us runners don't talk about speed. It makes running "work" and not "relaxing". It makes us "too competitive". And it in some folk's minds it creates unnecessary separation between us as weekend warriors. But if they're timing it ... I'm gonna run it hard (most of the time). Plus getting faster and more efficient is probably the key factor in letting me know I'm progressing as a runner. But it's really just a competition with myself. I mean, I NEVER single out Bob from Cleveland, or Chuck from Davenport and say, "I'm really gonna fly by those guys today!" But do I wanna win my age group ... heck yeah!
And until recently, I thought my limited version of "speed" might be gone with this new foot strike. At some points in the evolution, I didn't even know if I'd stick with it. But my last few runs have given me a little peace of mind that maybe, just maybe, I'm getting back to my old self. At the Little Rock Half Marathon a few weeks ago, I went 1:33:23/7:08 mile - which I know is not blazing fast for some of you jack rabbits, but it was good for me. And this morning in my weekly speed workout, I did 4 one mile repeats in the middle of a 10 mile run. They went 6:30, 6:17, 6:07, 5:58. Again, not earth shattering I know, but solid for where I'm at. And I felt okay with it.
I'm really trying to build toward the Rock The Parkway Half Marathon in Kansas City in about 4 weeks. And everything I'm doing is geared specifically for that race right now. I'm shooting for sub 1:25 ... which is a TALL order for me (6:29/mile). But hopefully if everything goes well, I'll be close. That time won't be good enough to win my age group - it's a pretty large race. But if I can pull it off - I'll finally feel like the old me, and officially call myself a forefoot striker. And one thing's for sure, everyday I'm making strides. So watch out Prairie Fire Marathon in Wichita in October ... you're the ultimate goal. And slowly but surely, I'm starting to feel it again!
... be great today!