2017 Goals and Other Thoughts

First, I’ve decided to enter the lottery for the 2017 New York City Marathon. I know I was on the fence right after I ran it last year, and thought about taking a year off. The problem is, unless I decide to raise a bunch of money for charity, there’s no guarantee I’ll get in to the 2018 race, and one year off could stretch to two years (or longer). 23 percent of people who entered the lottery last year got in. I was lucky, but I don’t know if I’ll be lucky again the next time I enter the lottery, so I’ve decided I need to keep trying every year until I get in.

Having said that, if I don’t get in to New York City, I won’t be running a full marathon this year. I’ve trained for and run the full twice, and it’s rough. A good chunk of the training is during the summer, and it takes up a lot of time, and there are sacrifices. I can’t tell you how many times I’d go out with my friends, and I’d be the first one to go home, I imagine by a large margin, because I had to get up and run the next morning. The race itself takes a lot out of me as well. And let’s face it, I’m 43, this isn’t going to get any easier. At this point, I don’t think a marathon is worth the time, effort, and training for me…unless it’s the New York City Marathon. It’s a special race. It means a lot to me since it’s the place where I was born, and it’s just an amazing experience. It is absolutely worth it, but right now, I don’t see any other race that’s worth it. (Well, if I could somehow get into Boston without raising a ton of money for charity…)

“NYC or bust!” is a nice mantra, but it kind of makes it difficult to set specific goals for 2017. I also have some nebulous ideas about things I might want to do in 2017 that also don’t make for good specific goals. Let’s give it a shot anyway. I’ve got 3 goals, and the first two are very similar to last year’s first two goals.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

This one isn’t just similar, it’s exactly the same goal I set last year. In 2016, I didn’t make it, primarily because of my ankle injury. Now, if I do run New York City, and *knock on wood* I stay healthy, I should have no problem meeting this goal. If I don’t get in to New York City, I plan on doing a fall half marathon instead, and I’m not sure what my mileage will be like. Hopefully I can still make it to 1500.

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater

Last year, my goal was 5 races, 3 that were 13.1 or greater, and I ended up with 7 including two half marathons and a full. This year, I’m bumping up the goal for total races to 6, but dropping the long ones to 2. I’m already signed up for the Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K next Saturday and the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in March. (Revenge!) At this point, it looks like I’ll be doing the Teal Diva 5K again this year (although I do hope they fix the course so it’s longer than 2.85 miles). And in the fall, I’ll either be running the New York City Marathon or a half marathon somewhere else.

I’ll do at least one warm-up race before my major fall race, probably the Yiassou Greek Festival 5K for the third year in a row. If I’m only running a half, I might squeeze in another shorter fall race. I’m on the fence about the Charlotte 10 Miler. It’s a good race, and I’ve run it well, but it seems like each year I’ve followed it up with a disappointing half, and I really, really want to run well at Tobacco Road this year to make up for last year.

Of course, if they bring back the Charlotte Checkers 5K, I’m there. Will run for hockey tickets.

Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

OK, yeah, this goal scares me. I do think I’ve got a decent chance at a PR in the Joe Davis 10K. A PR at Tobacco Road on a healthy ankle is probably doable. If I get into New York City, maybe I can get a new marathon PR. Of course, if I don’t get in to New York City, I’m guaranteed to not get a marathon PR. Then I might have to rely on a really good 5K.

For the record, if I run a race at a distance that I’ve never raced before (like I did in 2016 with the Turkey Trot 8K), I won’t count that toward my goal. Of course, the only common distance I’ve seen but haven’t raced (outside of ultra marathons, which, see my comments about marathons other than New York City) is 4 miles. I don’t want cheap PRs. Even if those 4 miles are the best 4 miles I’ve ever run, I won’t count it toward this goal.

The bottom line is that I want to make some changes to the banner at the top of the page, and I think I’ve got a few opportunities.

So those are my 3 specific goals. I have a few things I’d like to do this year, but for various reasons don’t want to make them official goals.

I really want to add some other exercise. Maybe it will be bicycle (maybe stationary, or maybe I’ll finally buy an actual bicycle). I might try yoga, but I want to do it for exercise. I’m not interested in becoming one with the universe. Maybe I’ll take some swimming lessons? (I can get around a pool without drowning, I just can’t effectively swim from one end to the other.) Or maybe I’ll just get on an elliptical once a week. We’ll see.

I want to eat better and not drink Mountain Dew all the time. I’d really like to start cooking more than just pasta.

I really want to focus on slower easy runs, and faster workout runs. I think I have a tendency to not let my easy runs be truly easy, and it’s not helping me.

Finally, I really want to work more on this blog. I need to set up a proper page for all my race reports. I’d like to do a series of posts, probably one per week, on the basics of running, to hopefully help out any newbies out there get started. I’ve also considered writing one post each week that isn’t necessarily running related, just whatever happens to be on my mind. I also need to do a much better job of promoting this blog. That’s not easy for me, but sometimes I just need to put myself out there, even when I don’t want to.

None of these things are easily measurable, so they don’t make good goals. But if I can do the first 3, I think I’ll notice a difference in my running.

And like I said at the end of my 2016 wrap-up, I’m ready for 2017.