First, I don't think I'm going to do the Austin Endurance Challenge next year. I originally did it as a motivator; the regular races ensured that I'd always have a short-term goal to keep me actively training. But I found it difficult to work my long runs around the series races and think that they interfered with my training and my performance. Plus, there are several races in the series that I wouldn't otherwise run and several non-series races that I would run except that they conflict.
Instead, I'm going to focus on completing two or three marathons next winter. The big news is that I signed up for the New York City Marathon on November 4. I don't automatically qualify (would need a 3:10 for that), but they have a lottery system. If you don't make it in the lottery for three consecutive years then you automatically qualify the 4th year. So sometime in the next 4 years I'll be running the NYC marathon. I'll also run the Austin Marathon next year and I have to decide if I'll do San Antonio, Dallas, or Houston. I'm also going to enter the 3M Half Marathon.
My stretch goal is to run 3:20 or better and qualify for Boston. Since my current PR is 4:17 that sounds pretty outrageous and normally I'd agree with you, but you haven't heard the rest of the plan which I'll get to below.
I also have a few spring races that I like to run.
- 3/25: Capitol 10k
- 4/15: Schlotzsky's Bun Run 5k
- 5/12: Chuy's Hot to Trot 5k
- 5/19: Congress Avenue Mile
I should find out in June whether or not I made it into NYC. If I make it I'll have to start training in June and train hard through the summer. NYC this year will be for fun and not for a PR so even though 4 months in the heat of the summer won't be enough time to peak, it will give me a good progress report for the following marathons. If I don't make it into NY then I can take the summer off and not start marathon training until September. In the mean time I'm going to just run for fun and focus on my weight.
Which brings me to the exciting short term goal that I have. The day after Austin I launched into the really hard goal for this year: losing 25+ pounds of weight. The goal of qualifying for Boston is only attainable if I can get down to about 10% body weight. While years of weight lifting means that I'll still be heavy, I should be able to get to a Boston qualifier time with only slightly better conditioning than I had this year.
Before I started running I weighed 265 pounds and managed to get down to 230 and keep it there. This marathon season I got down to 225. I plan to get to 200 pounds or 10% body fat, which ever comes first. I've done it before so I have an idea of what it will take. I'm honestly not looking forward to the process, but I do plan to relish the results. Plan on upcoming blog posts that comment on how much dieting sucks. I've done reasonably well the first week, but I need to keep it up for about 3 or 4 months.