May 21, 2017
This was supposed to be the race where I qualified for Boston. I knew the course well having run it in 2016. I was aware of how to get through the first 10 miles controlled so I could attack on the downhill. Then, winter and lack of motivation happened.
If you have been following the “My BQ Push” posts you know that my training hasn’t been quite what I was hoping for. I have no legitimate reasons. My only excuse is that my motivation was not there from December through March and once I did get back to somewhat of a normal training regimen, it was too late. All of these things said, I still ran a good race! I finished in 3:26. My main goal for the race was to go sub 3:30. I knew if I could achieve that, I would be pleased with my performance.
I learned some things about myself during this race. I was in better shape than I thought I was, to a degree. I was capable of knocking out a solid first half; 1:36. I was quite pleased to be at the half mark in that time, but that may ultimately have been what kept me from being closer to 3:20. The first half of the race felt smooth and comfortable. I started to feel the toll of the mileage on my legs around mile 17. By mile 20 I had started instituting some run/walk combinations as I went along to try to keep from totally bonking later in the race. I also found out that supporting those individuals you pass as you navigate your own race will return the favor later on if you are on the receiving end of a “course-lead ass-kicking” of your own. When the chips are down, your fellow runners manage to elevate you to continue on! Check out some of the details of my race below!
The course profile (Sugarloaf Marathon Map and Elevation Map) is quite unique in that the first 10 miles contain the major uphills and the last 16 miles contain all of the downhill; 942 feet of elevation loss to be exact. The first half fatigues you and the second half hammers your legs with constant downhill pounding. Add into the second half the need to also run up long, gradual uphills on those beaten and battered legs and you have the recipe for a long second half, should you not be prepared properly!
There is already some talk of going back next year. There is also talk of someone close to me running their first marathon there next year. This would be cause for proper training and celebration, respectively.
I know that I am capable of the 3:10 I now need, and then some. I know that I can do it. In all reality, only time will tell!