Sugarloaf Marathon
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!

My push to Sugarloaf 2016 was a great training cycle that culminated in my PR of 3:07. I fear this year will not result in such a time. My training has been lacking motivation until recently and sporadic at best until recently as well. I have been able to get multiple 14-16 mile runs in with a 20 miler later in the cycle, but the weekly mileage has not been where I was hoping to be this year. As I have been reviewing the push towards Sugarloaf 2017 I have done some soul-searching, so to speak, and found that while the times I run aren’t always what I hope for, I am learning more and more to enjoy the journey of each run. I look around more noticing the environment I am in, the people around me who are sharing in the joy of one of my favorite hobbies, and the fact that I am very privileged to be able to engage in a hobby that I love on a very regular basis.

I may not qualify for Boston this year and that is OK. I will enjoy the trip, the run, and the company. Boston doesn’t define me, it is simply a goal; one which I will definitely achieve some day. One thing the past few years have shown me is that the elusive Boston Qualifying time I once thought was out of my reach is well within my grasp.