New Years Resolution: The Pace

When I think of “pace”, I generally think of “keeping up pace,” as if I’m always behind the eight ball, never on top of things, and striving to catchup.

When I read Run Less, Run Faster1, I noticed there is a constant theme of keeping the pace prescribed for that run. Even if you knew you could run faster, you have to run at that particular pace. Pace is vital and keeping the right pace is critical.

We ran 6 days a week, and every day, our “training” run resulted in a competition. No matter how much we bot insisted that “Today, we’ll take it easy,” at some point, one of use would push the pace and then the race would be on! No rest days. No speed days. Nothing but race days.

Having race day every day doesn’t work. I’d like to think that if I can just tough it out — if I can just get through the hour, the day, or the week going at 110%, that then I will finally find time to rest and recover.

That never happens though.

What ends up happening is things start dropping off my plate: I don’t turn things in on time, I get sleep deprived, I don’t do my best work, I neglect cleaning up after myself, I don’t eat well, I don’t get out…the list goes on.

I guess this point is that I run as fast as I can until I can’t run anymore and I crash, not always a big crash but still a crash.

What if I were to force myself to set a pace though? Maybe not even a great pace, but a pace that I can finish. Sure, I’d like to be able to run a seven minute mile for the entire half marathon, but that’s not going to happen2.

What if I ran a ten minute mile? Ugh, that’s so slow. But, I think I can do that without crashing (and I can…almost).

You may be able to see how this might translate more generally to life: setting goals which are maybe not so grandiose, but which are achievable and build upon themselves to propel one forward. I may have lull spots where nothing is happening, and that’s great! I did a little better that expected, but I don’t need to go fill that void with something ten times harder just “for the challenge.”

Obviously, one of things I want to try and focus on for this year is keeping a good pace. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do that, but I’m going to start by setting some resolutions that are easy and that I sort of like doing already.

Run four races

I want to run in four races this year, spaced roughly 3 months apart.

Here’s what I’m looking at so far:

  • St. Patricks Day Dash (6K): March 13
  • Beat the Bridge (8K): May 15
  • Seafair Sprint Triathlon (5K): July 24

I’d also like to run a 10K in the Fall, but I haven’t found one yet.

Write something meaningful once a week

This will, naturally, take place as a weekly blog post and starts with what you are reading here. The goal of “something meaningful” is to let what I’m writing marinate over the week so I can really wrestle with it and edit it. It’s also to avoid the well know fact that “Once you start measuring something, people will change the way they behave”3, case in point: “You can tell which people listed blogging as a performance review goal“.

I’ve done that before and sometimes can turn out really lame.

365 days, 365 pictures

Finally, I’d like to take a picture a day. I’ve been having a fun time taking pictures using Vignette for Android and uploading them using Flickroid, which is a nice alternative to carrying my camera around all day. Forcing myself to take a picture a day will make me more observant, I think.

Rules for my 365 challenge are:

  • One photo a day…which doesn’t necessarily end at midnight, just before I go to bed for that day
  • I do not have to use the same camera
  • I can use my cell phone camera
  • Post processing is definitely acceptable as long as I don’t bring in additional elements
  • Only one picture a day will be added to the 365 collective

I won’t post photos here every day because sometimes they sit on my camera for a bit before I get around to editing them. However, they have been taken and they will end up here eventually!

Speaking of which, here are this week’s winners:

Day 1 (January 1)

DSC_1745
50.0 mm || 1/25 || f/2.2 || ISO800 || NIKON D7000
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 2

data
Vignette for Android
Shoreline, Washington, United States

Day 3

data
Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 4

data
Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 5

data
Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 6

data
Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 7

data
Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Here’s to the pace!

What goals are you setting for yourself this year?


  1. Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, Ray Moss, et al 

  2. For the record, I can run a seven minute mile…but only for one mile 

  3. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2010/11/16/10091537.aspx 

That One Time I Did a Sprint Triathlon

I completed my first sprint triathlon yesterday in 1:48:09 (that would be one hour, 48 minutes). I felt pretty good about that time, and it was nice a split between my target (<2:00) and my reach (1:30). Overall, I think the swim part was the easiest, probably because I was the most worried about it and put the most effort into getting ready for it. Swimming is also the first part of the triathlon, so I was still fresh and feeling energized. I felt really good on the transition to the bike, but had some issues with actual ride itself. I didn't have an outright mechanical failure, but after the race I noticed that my back tire was skewed relative to the frame. This caused the tire to rub up against the frame and no doubt cost me some time. I taped a Clif Shot Bloks to my bike, which was a good idea; I didn’t not have water, which was a bad idea.

The transition from bike to run was pretty easy. All I had to do was dump my bike and helmet and off I went. The first part of the run was Suuuuucky, with a capital “S”. My legs didn’t take the transition to well. I walked for a bit so I could reorganize my thoughts and energy then started running again, pacing behind another runner and just focusing on forward progress. The last 2K were much better than the previous three and I felt pretty strong for those.

I finished 931st overall (out of 1104) and 29th (out of 31) for my division (males 20-24)

My swim time was 16:36 (1:53/100 yards, placed 19/31)
My bike time was 55:42 (12.93 MPH, placed 31/31)
My run time was 31:22 (10:06/mile, placed 28/31)

My swim to bike transition time was 3:21 (placed 21/31)
My bike to run transition time was 1:08 (placed 4/31)

If you look at those numbers and do some extrapolating, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to shave 10 to 15 minutes off my time for just biking with a properly aligned wheel (I was passed by practically everyone). I also need to work more on my running after biking transition (not the actual in-the-pit transition, but running after biking 12 miles).

Pictures will come soon (mom still has them on the camera).

See also: Raw Race Results

Race Results and Andrew Signs Up for a Sprint Triathlon

I ran my first ever race a month and a half ago, the St. Patrick’s Day Dash. Here’s me running the race:

Photo by Al Cruise. ©2010 FotoJack.com

My official stats are:
Bib number: 9885
Overall place: 2844 out of 7892
Division place (Males 22-25): 170 out of 267
Gender place: 1799 out of 3529
Time: 36:241
Pace: 9:35

Not to bad for my first go. I didn’t hit my target of 8 minute miles, but I think part of that was due to the vertical inclination of the race (which I created using this Path Profiler):

Ignore the 4.47 miles, that’s incorrect. It was closer to 3.7 miles.

I had one little rest towards the top of the climb, but other than that I felt really good about my time and I was amazingly consistent given the vertical nature of my climb. I’m pretty sure the path around Green Lake doesn’t vary in altitude by more than 10 feet. Also, my Nike+ needs to be calibrated again…it keeps over estimating my runs by about 20%, which I feel is ridiculous.

After my big race, I took a week off and then ran one day. Then took the next month off, mostly because I was lazy and didn’t have a reason to run (I don’t enjoy running for the sake of running).

I do like competition though, so I signed up for the Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon at Seafair Sprint Triathlon. Am I crazy?! Probably.

It’s a 0.5 miles swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run. And it takes place on July 18th at 7am in the morning!

Source: http://www.seafair.com/events/triathlon/coursemap.asp

I’m not actually entirely sure how I’m going to train for this. I don’t even have a bicycle. I think the good news is that I can swim2.

My plan for now is to pick up running again, which I started yesterday with a run around the long loop of Green Lake, and then intermix bicycle and swim training. Lingering questions include:

  • Can I actually swim 0.5 miles in open water?
  • How do transitions works?
  • How long will this event take me? Early estimates are looking at close to two hours.

There are some training clinics I’m going to be going to, but I wonder if they will be enough for this endeavor. Anyway, expect future updates here. And if you’ve ever done something like this, I am now taking any and all suggestions.


  1. Average time: 40:48 

  2. Back in the Day™ (circa 1995), I used to be on swim team. Most recently, I did a swim class in college, but that was four years ago (What?! How could that be four years ago?)