It's taper week, and I have extra time on my hands.
As one gets to my age (55), running for PRs is just pretty dang hard. Even improving year to year becomes a struggle. Over the next few decades I know it will be less about getting faster and more about limiting the inevitable slowdown. So I've been just measuring age group PRs for a while. But sometimes I will see an age-grade % in a race result, and I realized that's a pretty good way to measure my times against past performances.
So I pulled up the age-grading calculator and opened my race spreadsheet and proceeded to look up and enter age grades for all 306 races I have done since 1977. Now I can sort by age-grade to really see my best performances. It was fun! And results were pretty accurate. My best grades were still from my early youth PRs when I was 18 and 19. But my races now are pretty close to those, considering my ancient body.
My top score was a 78.46% for my 10K PR at age 19 of 34:03. I had six other races in that period over 77%. But then my top old man score was not far behind at 75.45% for a 5K of 20:10 at age 54. All my top scores lately are in the 5K, so I guess I'm under achieving in the longer ones. I have 22 5Ks in the last 5 years over 70%, but only three 10Ks and one Half over 70%. Last year's Phoenix half in 1:35:47 got me a 70.47%.
As for marathons, my top score remains my first one at age 18, my PR of 2:58:55. But it's only good for 68.77%. But my next two were my BQ races at age 49 and 53, both around 66%. So now I have a new goal for Sunday, an age-graded marathon PR. To beat 68.77% I need to run under 3:28:33, which happens to be right about what I'm shooting for!
So anyway, yes, the LA marathon is Sunday. I've been tapering hard. I decided that my injury-forced 5-week taper from two years ago worked so well, that I needn't worry about running too little these last three weeks. Two weeks ago I dropped to 4 runs and 38 miles with nothing over 11. Last week I skipped a run and only ran twice, 7 and 12, and I'm feeling pretty fresh. This week I will only do two runs, 7 today and 5 on Thursday. I do have a little injury tweak. One foot is a little sore, in the ankle and the arch, but not a big deal. Still, enough to make me want to cut back. The weather looks to be perfect! Colder than usual. 45-55 degrees during the race and partly cloudy or maybe a little rain. So I've got no excuses.
Goals. Well, as usual, the main one is to BQ, which means under 3:37 to be safe. But my training suggests I'm really capable of sub 3:30, maybe 3:25. So I will be shooting for under 3:30. And now hoping to crack 3:28:33! Likely I'll be at 3:25 pace for twenty miles, like usual, and then we'll see if the increased mileage helps me maintain better through those last 6 miles. My facebook should be posting tracking if you're curious.
The calculator is here if you are interested. Go ahead and wish me luck! I'll be wearing the Loopville All-star shirt and thinking about you guys!