When I ran Boston this year.…. in some of the worst Boston weather ever… I was secretly not so upset about the weather…. I have a history of doing really well in the cold, and not so hot….. in the hot…. So, when I ran that Boston marathon I qualified for next years Boston, running 3:39:31, but only by 29 seconds. Of course, based on the last few years, this will not get me into Boston.
I would not have minded so much, but it is likely that if I am qualified I will have the opportunity to run for Hylands again…. and that was awesome. So I figured I would take another shot. Fast forward 6 weeks and I am standing on the starting line of the Mountains 2 the Beach Marathon in Ojai/Ventura California. I have a good history with this race. After the 2012 Boston marathon (when it hit 90 degrees) I ran M2B and set my all time PR of 3:15. Last year, 2017 I ran it again. I had a rough finish, but got a BQ with a time of 3:36 and change.
So, Sunday I stood there in Ojai assuming I’d be able to run down the hill to Ventura and get myself a BQ with some cushion. I was a little worried about my interim training… It was a little sparse…. 3 weeks out, my big 20 miler that I was supposed to run between was a DNF due to the heat. 2 weeks out I did a Metric Century ride in lieu of a long run. I figured it was all good…. My plan was to run with the 3:35 pace group….
I did not stick to the plan. First of all Joe was there and he was shooting for 10 minutes faster and I got to thinking, maybe, with the downhill course I was in that kind of shape… and so I started just behind the 3:30 group and ran with them for a mile… but got antsy and snuck ahead. I ran the 3 mile uphill and a mile or so down and found myself beside Joe… at that point I regained a little sense and eased off. I found a comfortable pace ticking off sub 8s on the downhill… Very gradually, Joe eased away…
All was well for at least a half. Somewhere in the next few miles though my adductors tightened up feeling like I was at mile 25 rather than 15. I tried to think my way through it, and backed off a bit more. By 17 or 18 the 3:30 group ran by and I was really losing pace. By 20 or 21 the 3:35 group went by and took all remaining hope of that BQ… I went into survival shuffle mode…. threw in some walks… even considered a DNF….
I’d have to go to 23 though because that was where my wife and friends were waiting to cheer me on. The course went within a half mile of the Ventura RV Resort and we spent our weekend camped out there… this, btw, worked out great. We drove out Friday evening. We went for a nice tandem bike ride Saturday on the beach and included a stop at the fairgrounds expo. 4:30 am Sunday I simply left the trailer and walked a tad over a mile to where the shuttle busses were picking everyone up downtown. My wife and friends were going to cheer me on at mile 23 and then walk a half mile further to the finish line. We’d all walk the 1.2 mile bike path back to camp afterward! Later Sunday afternoon we walked several more miles making a nice loop on the beach.
back to the race report….. So I had a few walk breaks but ran and tried to look good approaching them. They cheered loudly and had the camera’s going… Cheryl, noting the lateness of my arrival knew I was not well. I paused to complain about how I was having a bad day, and my friend, (Pastor) Darrell, says, “What do you mean? You’re about to finish a marathon?” This snapped me out of my pity party. I was still sub 4 pace? How many people can do that? I jogged it in and finished about 3:52.
I decided ANY race that you finish vertical, uninjured… that is a good race!
But now what? Do I try again? or?
- Try again.: I would have to find a marathon before the second weekend of September, cool enough and fast enough to give me a chance. The ones that come to mind are Santa Rosa – August 26 or Revel Big Cottonwood –
- Salt Lake September 8. I have heard mixed reviews on Big Cottonwood… It is very downhill, dropping a mile in elevation… but it flattens out around mile 18 and at that point you are in the very hot valley…
- I have heard good things about Santa Rosa – very flat – and the upper bay area tends to remain cool even in August… Checking the average temperature there, however, I came up with a reading of 82… It starts at 6:30 though so it would not be that hot by a finish of 10:00 am.
- Whilst checking options I stumbled upon a MUCH closer marathon – Camarillo – August 12. It, like Santa Rosa is advertised as pancake flat. It uses a bike path for most of the two loop course and may be partly shaded. My first thought was that it would be hot.. but the average weather for Camarillo in August has a high of 78! So, it should be as cool as Santa Rosa – and hundreds of dollars less expensive than either of the above. Also, being small and local, it is not likely to sell out… I don’t have to commit right away…
- Try something else- perhaps another World Marathon Major.. I recently found that the Chicago Marathon has set up qualifying standards one can use to bypass the typical lottery system used to get in. It so happens that a sub 3:40 would qualify me to enter Chicago… Chicago is run in October, so the 2018 race has yet to be run, but the registration for it is almost a year ahead of time – in November… so perhaps I could register and run Chicago 2019 instead?
- Or Both? I have always been intrigued by big goals – like running a marathon in all 50 states (good luck Oscar) or on all 7 continents (even Antarctica.) Perhaps a worthwhile such endeavor would be to run all of the World Marathon Majors – Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Berlin and Tokyo…. hmmmmm…
I am thinking that I will train through the summer and plan for Camarillo to leave my options open. I plan to use the Hansen’s plan with a few long run tweaks here and there… and allow Elliptigo substitutions for an easy run or two in the week. BUT, I am not going to allow myself to enter Boston OR Chicago if I do not get serious about my weight… I have been hanging out around 180… No registration for Boston if I am not sub 170 on registration day….. and I hereby disallow myself for registering for Chicago if I am not sub 165 on registration day…. This is in print… please anyone reading this… if I do not report weights at least each week… comment… ASK!!! please help keep me accountable.