Hope for the Warriors, but not for my speed

Flag dedication at Hope for Warriors race

Today’s run (street): 5.4 miles

This morning was spent at the Hope for the Warriors race in Lindenhurst, NY. For the first time in four years, I didn’t participate, but I came to support my family who served again as race volunteers. Last year my wife and kids manned the registration desk while I ran the 10K race. I decided to skip the race this time, for the same reason I missed the 2014 Dirty Sock, Cow Harbor and TOB Supervisor’s run. I’ve lost interest in competing.

I don’t know exactly why the thrill of racing is no longer there for me. I used to love the experience of training for a race and reaching the point where I knew I could hold my own. Between 2009-2012, I generally finished in the top 25-30% of the field in 5Ks and usually in the top 50% at other distances. My performance has been steadily slipping since then. It’s hard to get motivated to race under those circumstances.

The frustrating thing about it is that I can still run fast when I really try, but it takes much more effort than it used to. I’m sure my speed decline is partially due to training easier than in the past. When I was commuting into the city I would get up and run at 4:00 AM just about every day. Those runs focused on speed for practical purposes. I had only so much time to run my route so that I stayed on schedule to make my early train.

My weekly volume at that time was about 20 miles a week and I would regularly break 9 minutes a mile. Today, I am covering 15-20% less distance per week and 60% of that is done as longer, slower runs. Except for those rare times when I do a speed workout, I haven’t broken 9:00 per mile in over a year.

Today, after we’d returned home from the race, I did a neighborhood run and pushed especially hard on my last mile. My split was 9:37 and it felt like I was running at 5K pace. In fact, 9:37 was my pace at my last 5K.

Due to the earlier activity, I didn’t get out for my run until 10:30 AM this morning. While I ran, I thought about the experience of being at the race but not participating. At one point, three young guys had walked by me talking about the 5K they were about to run. I’d forgotten the 5K race was an option and, for a second, I regretted that I didn’t just sign up for that.

Being among the runners this morning did not rekindle my excitement for racing as I’d hoped, but it did motivate me to try to train a little harder so I could put in a credible performance in a 5K before year’s end. It’s been a lot of months since I ran the Brooklyn Half, which is the last race I’ve run in 2014.

Congrats to TPP, who absolutely rocked it at Hope for the Warriors today, attaining a 10K PR and (yet another) age group placement!

12 thoughts on “Hope for the Warriors, but not for my speed

  1. I think signing up for a race will be the motivation you need. It will give you a real goal to aim for. That's great that the whole family volunteered (Hi ER's family!). That's something I haven't done yet, but am looking forward to the experience. I think I smell hot chocolate on the horizon…

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  2. Anonymous

    \”The frustrating thing about it is that I can still run fast when I really try…\”That suggests to me that your decline is due to a lack of miles, not effort. Don't worry about your effort, just worry about getting out of bed and running consistently. You lost the stamina and endurance required to maintain a fast pace, and endurance and stamina only come from putting up a lot miles. Signing up for races will force you to get back out on the streets or the treadmill. That's really the only reason why I race, other than to get together with friends. It forces me to train. Hard to justify blowing off a workout when you've got a race coming up, knowing that it'll just make the race more difficult. Good luck.

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  3. Thanks, I never backed off my running regime and commitment, I'm just totaling a few less miles due to schedule constraints. I've definitely stopped racing the clock on my runs and that probably explains some of the slowdown. If I'm going to run the Hot Chocolate in December I need to start thinking about speed – and doing something about it.

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  4. Anonymous

    Yes. Sorry for the confusion, but I couldn't congratulate her on her own blog because she's evidently been too busy basking in the glow of victory to post a race update. I imagine that she did real well if she's talking sub-50:00 next year, and well enough to change her goal for the 10 mile run to the brewery.

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