The NYC Marathon is now just over 7 weeks away.  I am smack in the middle of the most challenging marathon training cycle I have ever attempted, and within that cycle, I am in the most challenging two weeks.

Back to back 65 mile weeks with consecutive Sunday long runs of 21 and 22 miles respectively.

This week the singlet that I plan on wearing on race day in NYC arrived from the USA Track and Field Association.  Being the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this year, racing through the 5 boroughs of New York, I thought the singlet below was very appropriate.

On Friday I visited our local running store – Rogue Running – to pick up what will prove to be my race shoes for the Denver Rock N’ Roll Half-Marathon – our tune-up race – and then 4 weeks later – the New York City Marathon.

I have gone to a lighter marathon race shoe than my traditional training shoes over the last two years as I found that the lighter race shoe helps me feel a bit more like I am “racing” the marathon, not simply trying to survive the distance.  Each ounce a marathon shoe is lighter saves the runner :01 seconds/mile on pace.  

Meaning that a 9.5 oz. shoe given the same runner and effort would produce a time over the measured mile :03 faster than a 12.5 oz. shoe like my Asics trainers.

.03 seconds X 26 miles = 78 seconds or a time 1:18 faster when I make the turn at Columbus Circle and head for home over the final 385 to the finish line at Tavern on the Green in Central Park.

As I walked into Rogue Running I was prepared to purchase another pair of Brooks ST5 Racers for New York, but as I spoke with the sales person at the store I decided to try on a different shoe.  One with a slightly roomier toe box and a sole with a bit more grip.  As much as I liked the ST5’s, on wet streets they were a bit slippery.

Given my recent history with bad weather on race day, I thought I would try on the Adidas Adizero Aegis 2’s.

As soon as I slipped the shoes on my feet and took a few strides on the indoor track at the shop, I knew I had my race shoes for NYC.  The only problem was that the color of the shoes did not whisper “NYC” in my ear …. instead they screamed out “BOSTON”!

Zoom

 The shoe colors are the identical race colors that Boston used for the 114th running of the Boston Marathon in 2010.  The first marathon of my two marathons in 13 day double running for Dom.  The Boston marathon where my legs simply did not match my heart and I ran what I considered that day and still do my most disappointing race in 3:22:07.

Ironically, Monday is “Boston” day for me.  The day where if the race has not filled up over this weekend, I am allowed to log on and register for the 116th running of Boston this April.

My time in NYC will not earn me a qualifying time for this year’s Boston Marathon.  It will actually place me in line for the 2013 Boston Marathon.  A marathon should I decide to go to Boston, I would race as a 45-year-old.  At age 45, I need a marathon time better than 3:25:00 to qualify for Boston. 

Should I run a PR in New York City in 7 weeks, bettering the 3:15:01 I ran on that hot, humid, windy race day in Austin this past February, I would have a qualifying time of better than 10:00 minutes faster than the age group requirement, allowing me to register on the very first day, all but guaranteeing entry.

But we’re not thinking quite that far ahead right now.  Should my 3:15:01 be enough, we will be racing at Boston this April.  If I run a better time in New York City, which frankly will be a huge disappointment if I do not, I can use that new time for a higher “seed” in Boston, moving me forward in the starting corrals, closer to the starting line.

The good news is that we will know one way or another before we run in New York if we are “in” at Boston for 2012.  I will not have to play it conservative worrying about the chance that I might blow up chasing my best marathon time and risking missing out on a Boston time completely.

I can let it all hang out and if the weather cooperates, perhaps, just maybe, have a shot at 2:59:59.

The clock is ticking for this 44 year-old dadathoner.  The chances I have left to chase breaking the 3 hour barrier in the marathon can probably be counted on two or three fingers.  New York 2011, Boston 2012 and perhaps one final attempt in the winter or spring of 2013.  Then it will be time to understand that improving as a runner while still a goal, will more than likely not show up in the form of PR’s or lower race times.

It will all be about staying healthy and competing with runners in my age group – not necessarily chasing the ghost of marathons past, where a younger runner in a Team USA Singlet roared through the streets of New York City at 6:52 pace, saw the trees up ahead of New York’s Central Park and knew that he was in for the toughest 10 Kilometers of his life.

Those final 6 miles, where 6 more 6:52 minute miles would give him a chance at something that less than 1% of any marathoner in the world has ever done. 

2:59:59

Make it or not one thing is for certain – we are going to leave it all out there on the streets of New York.  We didn’t get this far by playing it safe.

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