Wow, number 50 is around the corner!
Next weekend is the Marine Corps Marathon, which will be my 50th Marathon+! Why the ‘+’? Well, I’ve done two 50Ks and I include them in that count. Two races from now, I may drop the ‘+’ and celebrate again, we’ll see!
Leading up to this one, I’ve gone back and forth on goal-setting, and finally came to the conclusion that I need to stop worrying about it. Back when I lived in Ohio, I ran a lot of marathons, and I loved it. I just went out and did it, and did well.
It was really once I joined a training group in Colorado that I started not enjoying running as much. Interestingly, I joined them in November after a strong self-coached half marathon, ran a huge PR in January and then kinda fizzled out after that. I tried to switch to focus on ‘speed at the half distance’, suffered an injury and haven’t been the same since.
Unfortunately, I haven’t approached races accepting that.. which makes for kinda a tough time.
When I ran Houston in 2012, my coach had advised me to go out at a faster pace than I thought possible. His recommendation was to ‘start with the 3:10 group and gauge how I’m feeling, how I can always see how I feel and if it’s not my day, I can relax and let the 3:20 group catch me. His sense is that if I try to go with the 3:20 group and then pick it up near the end (what I was planning), that I will be dodging a lot of folks at the end and wondering if I could have done better.”
Sure enough, I ran a 20 min PR and amazed everyone except maybe that coach. I’ve tried that technique since then (go out and see how I feel), but it really hasn’t been what I’d consider a success. Maybe b/c at that race I was definitely open to the idea of doing the slower pace, whereas since then its b/c I wanted/expected to keep up with that faster pace.
The result has been a lot of positive splits:
- NYCM (Nov 2014): 1:46 / 3:38
- Eugene (May 2016) 1:42 / 3:37
- Maui (Jan 2017): 1:49 / 3:47
- Harmon Lake Trail marathon (June 2017): 1:57 / 4:07
- Boston (April 2018): 2:03 / 4:19
- Ottawa Race Weekend Half (May): :53 / 1:49
Except from the Eugene race report: “I wonder if I should have been more conservative: could I have done a whole 26.2 miles at an 8mm rather than 18 miles at 7:48, 2 at 8:15 and then 5 at 9:30. ”
Now, just looking at those in order like that may also seem like I’m just plain ole getting slower, but I omitted Jack and Jill from that list b/c it didn’t have a negative split 🙂 The fact is, for Eugene, Maui and the Ottawa half, I started out at a pace I just wasn’t able to sustain.
So… why?? I used to just run, and love it. I’d love the feeling of comradery, and accomplishment. I am never, ever going to run anywhere near 3:09 anymore, and I actually don’t care to qualify for Boston again, so why does it even matter?
I feel like I just need to go out and enjoy it. Honestly, a lot of my runs lately I pick it up over time, so I think I just need to go out more conservatively and see how it goes, and enjoy it more. Because that’s why I do this… because I love running 26.2 miles at a time.
Now, I say that.. but Marine Corps is next Sunday, and I’ve already seen that a guy I know from Denver is one of the pace leaders for the 3:45 pace group…. Should I? Gah, I’m such a hypocrite! 😛