Monday, January 26, 2009

The Genesis of Race Goals and Tossing the Pigskin

"Every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor, upon which one walks as a matter of course and prescriptive right." - Aldous Huxley

Now, I have no idea who Aldous Huxley was (curiousity made me do a little research anyway and he seems like a philosopher/quote-meister that did a lot of drugs) but this quote seemed appropriate given the topic I've decided to ramble on in this post. I'm sure that others may think this way (and I'm sure there are many who don't) but I thought that if I wrote this down it would help me understand if I should be happy after a race vs. dissatisfied. The Gridiron Classic 4m race scheduled for Feb 1 in Central Park is next up on the agenda so I figured that I would list the options around my goals for this race. This would let me be somewhat of a Monday morning quarterback, albeit the Monday beforehand.

I typically go into each race with a variety of goals: Finish time goals, finish place goals, race strategy goals, and physical goals. First, finish time goals:

  • Last year my time in this event was 47:03.
  • My PR for 4m is 44:48 on a similar course in the park. I view this as my interpretation of Huxley's ceiling/floor.
  • If I take the pace in my last race it would be 44:24 over 4 miles.
  • If I would beat the 11:00/mile pace I've been shooting for (I know, for too long) my finish time would be less than 44:00.
  • If I took last years Gridiron Classic time and improved by 1min/mile, it would be 43:04.
  • NYRR has my fastest time as 10:39/mile. That would be a time of 42:36.

Now, I'm aware that there are circumstances out of my control. Weather is the most obvious with wind, temperature, and precipitation (potentially accumulation or ground cover) having contributions. The course itself could be impactful but I'm aware of the terrain expected. After all, I did do this race last year and a bunch of other races in the park since then. I'm feeling generally OK but am aware the injury bug could bite at any time.

If I run the race I should run, my time should be sub 44:00.

I will be disappointed if I don't break 44:00. It could be considered a bit arrogant (or me being a pig again) that I could be disappointed with a PR but that's my mindset at this time. On the flip side, what would make me happy? I typically set a reach goal and in this case it would be sub 43:03. It is possible, not probable, that I could reach this so I'm going to give it a shot but if I don't meet this goal, I won't mope about it. My strategy would be to try to maintain a 10:45 pace as long as I could and see what I have left near the end.

There are other goals that will be mixed in:

  • I want to run the whole tamale without taking significant walking breaks. This means I could take a few seconds at a water stop but more that this would be disappointing.
  • NYRR has something called Performance % based on Age Graded Time. The science behind this calculation is a mystery to me but it is supposed to assess a performance as compared to the other competitors. The logic behind this is that if the conditions impact performance, it should impact the field. This gives a way to compare performance against the field. My high water mark is 42.9% (done in the 1/10/09 Fred Lebow Classic). I'd like to be better than this number, whatever the number means.
  • As always, I want to have fun. I GET to run the races, I don't HAVE to run them.
  • I don't want to get injured.
  • I want to knock off the second of the nine for the 9+1 guaranteed entry into 2010NYC26.2.
  • It would be great for me to beat some of the family and friends that are racing this day. The only way this will happen is if I have a great day and someone else has a bad day. but I can hope......The early betting line has Sarah, Michael, and Amanda as the favorites. EagleChick Christine, EagleDoc Fran, Sis MB, and Dr. Wannabe Caitlin could impress. RayRay would impress if she would show up (still in doubt) and toss the pigskin (even more in doubt) this year.

My only hope for a "wow" performance is in the football toss beforehand. Since my throw last year looked more like a dead quail, this hope might be a reach goal itself since last year before the Gridiron Classic was the last time that I actually tossed the pigskin.

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