Sometimes I worry that I have lost my capacity to dream. Or, to put it another way, that I now have a good feel for my limits. The first formulation disturbs me, the second just sounds mature.

I decided to run a half marathon this spring. I looked at what I was doing in workouts… I’d just run 6 miles at a 6:30 pace so I figured I could probably race 13 at that pace (If I can run x at a workout then I think I can run 2x in a race). Then I did some age-grading: my best half marathon was 5 years ago and was 79.27%, at my current age that works out to a 1:26:41 time or 6:37 pace. On the other hand my best race ever was 80.94% which corresponds to a 1:24:54 time and 6:29 pace. So shooting for a 6:30 pace seems about right to me, or even a little adventuresome.

And then Orchard to Ocean 10K tempted me. I’d done 6:15 pace for a couple of 3 mile workouts and that seemed a good pace to try for at a 10K. A little work with age-grading said that my best 10K was 80.94% and at my current age that corresponds to a 6:15 pace (38:52 race). So that again sounded like the right ball-park.

I made the mistake of talking to Rusty about these. I should know better. First of all he didn’t like the idea of a 6:30 pace for the half. He said that would be too easy for me. “6:25” was his suggestion. Ulp. Well. Maybe. I guess it’s not unreasonable to have a goal that I probably can’t hit but is close enough to possible to inspire me.

As for the 10K. He said I should think in terms of a 37:20 10K. That’s 6 minute pace! I can’t do that any more. That’s 84.25%! I’ve never done that. When I demurred he pointed out that if I didn’t believe I could do it, then I certainly wouldn’t be able to. “We are such stuff as is made of dreams.”

Today I had a 4 mile tempo. I felt that after Rusty’s talk yesterday I needed to try to pick up the pace a bit. So I led my group. We had two miles out, up a hill, and then 2 miles back down the hill. I went up at a 6:20 pace (and no one passed me, not even the people who are faster than I). Then I flew down the hill (one mile was sub-6!), averaging 6:03 pace. Average for the four miles was 6:12 — according to my watch. But it often (but not always) will overestimate the distance by about 1% and underestimate my pace by about 3~4 seconds. So 6:12 might just be my bog-standard 6:15 pace again… It isn’t a 6 minute pace yet. Maybe… if we had 6 miles of downhill I could run a 37:20…

Perhaps I should should try for a 6:12 pace though? That’s 38:30 and 81.7%. Not quite as frightening as 37:20. Perhaps I can dream about that without it turning it into a nightmare…


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