Archive for July 12, 2010

7:37 pace.

Sounds pretty innocent – nothing too outrageous.

Back in May at the Congress Avenue Mile we posted a mile time of 5:24.  That’s pretty fast for a 42.9 year old like me.

A couple of weeks ago at the Holland, TX 5K we raced to a time of 19:28 at 6:15/mile pace.  Not too shabby.

This Thursday night we will be competing in the Honor our Heroes 10K Shadow run as we start our journey toward a sub 40:00 minute 10K time this October.  That will require me to get my 10 kilometer race time down to 6:26/mile.  Tough for sure, but again, very much within our reach if we train hard, prepare fully and race smart.

Saturday's Long Run

7:37 should be a piece of cake right?  My training miles over the winter months when the temperatures cool here in Austin usually hover around 7:05 to 7:10 minutes per mile.  It shouldn’t be to difficult to cruise along at 7:37 pace, right?

But 7:37 is more than just a mile split.  Run 26.2 of them and I will qualify for the Boston Marathon for the second time in my life.  So that is what we are going to be chasing at the Austin Marathon this February. 

After recovering from the two marathon in 13 day challenge that was Run for Dom, the focus of training has been on speedwork.  We have been diligent in incorporating one speed workout per week, one tempo run as well as racing 5 events over the last two months.

Racing has provided me with the little something “extra” to push pace and run those low 6:00 minute mile times.  No matter how motivated I am or how much I want to “push” a workout – I simply cannot recreate the “race environment” on my own.  I need to sights and sounds of race day to get those competitive juices flowing.

The plan from here is to continue to build toward the IBM Uptown Classic on Sunday, October 17th.  My goal will be to post a sub-40:00 minute 10K time at that event, which will earn us entry into the first starting corral behind the elite runners at the Cooper River Bridge Run this spring.

The CRBR is a huge 10K, one of the five largest in the country, with more than 40,000 participants.  Having lived in Charleston it is a race that I have had on my “bucket list” since I started running back in 2005. 

Whether we hit our time at the IBM or not, October 18th will be a big, big day as it marks the first day of marathon training for Austin.  18 weeks later we will toe the line at the start of a marathon one more time with the hope of achieving that 3:19:59 that will provide our return ticket to Boston.

They say that life does not offer second chances very often.  As I approach my 43rd birthday in 19 days and the birth of our first child in 7 weeks +/-, I have to say that I have come to realize just how true that statement is.

It turns out “they” do know some things afterall.  But for me, getting back to Boston will be my second chance at the storied course from Hopkinton to Boston.  When I started chasing Boston the first time, my goal was to reach my qualifying time and to participate in one of the most prestigious footraces in the world.

What I have come to realize in the weeks since Boston and Pittsburgh is that as much as I enjoyed the experience of racing at Boston – there is a little part of me – deep down that seeks redemption.

Boston beat me on April 19th this year.  That is a fact.  Not having raced the course before I was at a serious disadvantage, no question.  I tried to learn as much as I could beforehand and train with great purpose.  But the fact of the matter is I was not fully prepared for the downhill start of the course like I needed to be.

I ran hills in preparing for Boston.  Tons of them actually.  But I focused much of my training on preparing for the climb up from Newton to Heartbreak Hill.  Running downhill really was not a focus of mine.  I ran some “downs” as part of my training – but I did not make it a priority.  Not like I will next time.

It was that downhill start to the race that taxed my quadriceps and calves to the point that they were unable to climb like I needed them to late in the race.  By mile 22 I did not have anything left.  A requalification time was not in the cards for me.

2010 Boston Marathon

I battled.  I hung in there.  I posted a 3:22:46 finishing time – nothing to be embarrassed by, especially with another marathon – a much more meaningful race for Dom in just 13 days.  But despite all of that, I feel exactly the same way I did when I finished my first Marathon in 2006.

I can do better.

That is the thing about Boston, I can’t just “sign up” and take another crack at the course this April.  Having not re-qualified with a time under 3:20:00 – I will have to “earn” my way back in again, just like everybody else.

Exactly the way it should be. 

So the plan from here until the IBM will be to focus on improving our speed , strength and leg-turnover.  By the time we start our marathon training for this year’s Austin Marathon the goal will be for me to be “faster” than I have ever been before.

My training focus will then shift to building the endurance and stamina during the 18-week marathon training schedule and be ready to rock that 7:37 pace and earn my trip back to Boston.  Last year the Boston Marathon sold out by November – meaning that we will have to wait until the 2012 race to take our next shot at the course.

That’s o.k., I have no problem being patient as second chances don’t come along very often in life.  But I will say this.  It will be 22 months at the earliest for me to get another crack at the Boston Marathon.  My yet to be born daughter will be walking and talking by then.  I will have had close to two years to think about that race and all the things I want to do differently making my way from Hopkinton to Boston.

This time it won’t be enough to simply “run the race”.  I’m looking forward to kicking 26.2 miles of Boston ass.

If I learned anything from Dom over the past year, it is this. 

Don’t bet against me.

Joe & Dom - Post Pittsburgh Marathon