Light at the end of the Tunnel Lite Marathon- pre race post
As I think about my quickly approaching marathon on 9/13 and consider my chances hitting my goals, overall I feel good about it. The magic finish time is sub 3:25 for a Boston Qualifier. But what I really want is to not just qualify but actually get into the race so will need sub 3:23 to guarantee my entry.
Every race I establish 3 goals. The ‘easy’, medium and stretch goal. This time they are:
- 1st– just finish, enjoy the race, finish time between 3:50-3:40
- 2nd– finish, enjoy the race, finish time between 3:39-3:24.
- 3rd-finish, enjoy the race, finish time between 3:23- 3:21.
Why should I feel confident? A few reasons include:
- stayed healthy
- the course
- the weather
- 3 long runs-20+ miles
- Raced HM then 21 miler in same week.
Why do I have confidence in scoring this BQ, well, mostly because I’ve stayed healthy during this entire training cycle. Usually, I have to miss several days to a week or two to rehab and allow some minor injury to heal. This time, didn’t miss any training due to that kind of injury. Of course I did miss a few runs when I felt too sore or tired or when life got in the way.
Secondly, this course is nearly ideal for earning a BQ. It is a gentle, dirt and gravel net downhill trail in the woods. Plenty of shade to keep the sun away and the gentle decline really helps hold pace.
Next, the time of year/weather should be on my side. Mid September in WA state cascade mountains normally has cool mornings (low 50s) with highs about low 70s. The start is at 4000 feet. I’m anticipating about 50 degrees at the start and finish upper 60s. That would be fantastic and really aid to avoid over heating or melting as I did in the heat of Skagit Flats last September.
Lastly, some specific training runs boosted my confidence. During this training cycle, I completed three long runs of 20, 21 and 22 miles. Some were a bit ugly but I completed all three. And long runs are all about time on your feet. So running that long on your feet conditions your body to be able to do it at least one more time. And the final LR of 21 miles, I completed less than a week after I raced a Half Marathon all out. Actually, set a new HM PR with 1:39 that I’m very pleased with. But the fact that I could run that fast and only four days later complete 21 miles was a HUGE accomplishment and moral booster.
Therefore, I do I think I can hold it together to earn my 2nd BQ. But sadly, the different between 3:25 and 3:22 is a lot of serious pain. That is where the mental strength comes into play. My body should be able to hold pace but my head will be screaming, “slow down, now, this is too fast, you are going to pull that barking calf muscle.” Somehow over coming that voice will be the key hitting my (3rd) stretch goal.