Saturday, January 2, 2016

Athletic Goals for 2016

I'm pretty good at setting goals but not always so good at achieving them. I remain undeterred at making resolutions, however, because if you shoot at nothing, you will hit it every time. Last year, I actually struck the bull's eye once or twice, so I am setting up a few new targets for 2016. 

  1. Weight. Lose it. This has been on my list for the last couple of years. I gained weight in the latter part of 2013 when I stress fractured my right tibia in my ill-fated Great Noxapater Journey Run. For some reason, I have repeatedly failed to shed the unwanted adipose tissue. Despite my shortcomings in this area, I have recently become more serious about this and have even started my efforts during this holiday season. I have refused to gain any extra weight during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's and have actually lost almost a pound. If I can do that now, my prospects for success during the upcoming year look pretty good. Two things have helped motivate me. One is I now have ten months of unbroken running and with that kind of base, I know my weight is the only thing that is keeping me from running the kind of times I want to run. A second motivator is the videos of my last two Challenges. I watch those vids in horror as I climb out of the water with my big belly on display for all the world to see. I am determined I will not exit the lake as a fat man at Chicot V.
  2. Chicot Challenge. This year I have set the bar even higher and hope to swim 21 miles and raise more money than ever for the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. Last year's Chicot was a lifetime best of 19 miles. That will be a new record for me and equal the distance of the English Channel. To pull it off, I will have to train both hard and smart. That's the challenge I want, and already just the idea of a swim that long has forced me out the door and into the backyard gym after the darkness and cold had set in. That's what I'm talking about. 
  3. Heart O' Dixie Triathlon. For the last few years, I have set my goal to break three hours at the continental United States' oldest continuous triathlon. I have repeatedly failed to do this because I would not pay the price for success. I came fairly close last year, 3:05, but my Achilles heel was and remains the bicycle leg. I just don't ride enough miles and don't ride them hard enough to pull that part of my race up to where it needs to be. I will do the swimming (I always finish first in my AG in the swim), and if I stay healthy I should run well. Will I ride enough this year to make my goal? I can only resolve to try. If I can it could be a magical year for me. I move into an older age division in 2016, and if I train hard and smart maybe I can place at the HOD.
  4. 300 Oaks. After several straight years of slowing times, I finally ran my hometown 10K 2:50 faster in 2015 than I did in 2014. For 2016, I hope to knock another 2:50 off. It's not socket rience: lose weight, stay healthy, do speed work, raise Vo2Max, improve leg strength. Just do it. 
  5. Gateway to the Delta Ten Miler. Forrest and I did this one for the first time in November 2015. We liked it, I ran well, and I want to go back. Next year I will be in the 60-64 grouping, and if I can run just a little bit faster, maybe I can win my AG instead of getting second.
  6. Bench Press. Last year, I maxed out at 165 pounds. This year I aim to get up 170 at least once. Or twice. To succeed at this will lay a good strength base for my Chicot training. The weightlifting really does help my swimming.
  7. One Day Run. I want to break my all-time one day run distance which currently sits at 47.25 miles set several years ago. I just haven't come up with a course that gets me excited. 
  8. Big Hill Mile. Earlier this year, I set a personal challenge to run up the hill on Humphrey's Highway four times. Since I have run out of year, I will have to do it in 2016. It's a worthy goal, one that will make me stronger and more fit than I have been in years if I can pull it off.
  9. MDCC 5ks. Win them. I won three school 5Ks last year. We should have two this spring, one on the main campus and one here in Greenwood. If I train to accomplish my other goals, I will be fit enough to pull this one off also. This is my only chance to be the overall winner in a footrace so I want to hang on to my success as long as possible.
  10. Health. Stay well. This has been a sometimes stated sometimes not but always on my mind goal. If I can avoid running injuries, I will probably achieve all my running aims. Over the years, I have usually broken down after nine or ten months of steady training. Will I finally break this unfortunate cycle? I can only hope, and try to be smart about how I train. Currently, I am beginning my eleventh month of running. Strength training, stretching, good nutrition, good shoes, and common sense are all I know to do keep from singing the injury blues.
So there you have it. Nothing earth shattering. Maybe my goals aren't big enough. But if I can pull these off, athletically at least, 2016 will be a successful year.