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 

Life Tips

I’m posting this because I agree with them and because I want to remember them. I especially like number 6 (about failing), and it’s been part of my unofficial New Years Resolution to fail gracefully more. This is author Nassim Nicholas Taleb list of top life tips:

  1. Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.
  2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.
  3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.
  4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act – if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.
  5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.
  6. Learn to fail with pride – and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error – by mastering the error part.
  7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).
  8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.
  9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.
  10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

The TimeOnline also did a great article that’s worth a read: Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom.

via BoingBoing