Shifting Shamrock Expectations

Posted: March 16, 2012 in Pace and Racing

What was shaping up to be a great weekend of racing is starting to look pretty suspect.

Landry’s cold that kept her out of school this week became “Daddy’s cold” a couple days later.

I’ve got a sore throat, headache, general “achey-ness and my voice is all but gone.

PR this weekend?  Highly doubtful.

I was concerned that being a little bit beaten down at this stage of Boston training was going to rear it’s head, and in a state of reduced immunity – I would contract whatever bug Landry had on Monday.  It took a couple of days and “sure as shootin'” as they say in Texas, I’ve got a Texas-sized cold.

Today as Landry and Dawn dropped me at the airport for my flights out East to Norfolk, Landry is back to just about 100%.

It seems like I am about 2-days in arears with her symptoms, so possibly I will be able to pull it out on Sunday and put up a decent race.

I have not run in three days and will only go for a short shake-out 2 miles on Saturday morning to test things out a bit.

My legs feel rested and strong – but the rest of the machine is feeling pretty lousy.

Instead of worrying too much about mile splits and trying to force the issue on Sunday – I am going to run by feel instead – post an opening mile :10 or :15 off of what we normally would at the start of a half-marathon and then try to fall into our target pace around 6:20-6:25 to see how that feels over mile 2.

If I am running free and easy, we’ll stay with it as long as we can.  If I am already struggling to hold pace – which should not be the case that early in the game – I’ll back off and just turn this into a glorified up-tempo training run and hope to run something around 6:35 or so.

It will still be a solid workout – but not the race we were hoping for – as this was shaping up to be our time-trial event for Boston now just 4 weeks away.  That is the thing that is always interesting for the amateur marathoner – life, responsibilities, a sick little daughter or even a lost wallet a day before a trip filled with flights, rental cars and hotel stays (don’t even get me started on that situation) can conspire to alter our plans.

The fact of the matter is, we’re not professional athletes.  All we can do is go out there and do our best.  Let the chips fall where they may.

So for Shamrock this weekend, I’m going to try to run my race and do the best I can.  Whatever the clock says on Sunday morning around 8:30 a.m. EST will have to be good enough.  I’m determined not to beat myself up too much over a “flat” race and reload for the final push to the starting line in Boston.

So far we’ve run average at the Texas Half in January, Tremendous at the Austin Half in February – perhaps we are due for another “average” day in Virginia this weekend and the pattern will hold where we have a tremendous Boston Marathon in April.

That’s the “A” race we’ve been training so hard for over the past several months.  Sunday’s race in Virginia Beach is one that we’ll just have to be satisfied with our effort under less than ideal circumstances and not worry too awful much if the time on the clock is something we are not excited about.

Everybody gets knocked down from time to time.  Dom taught me that lesson over and over during his battle with cancer.  It’s not a matter of getting knocked down, it’s a matter of getting back up.

Here’s to picking ourself up, dusting ourself off and getting back up on Sunday morning.  Don’t count us out just yet.

  1. ttrodriguez says:

    Sending lots of get well wishes your way! I almost always get sick before a big race because of a weakened immune system, but it’s just one of those things that goes with running. I bet you’ll do awesome this weekend though! Run fast, run far!

  2. Dave Spell says:


    Don’t count yourself out yet. A few extra off days might be just the thing your body needs. After the training cycle you are putting together I don’t think your body is going to forget how to run fast in a few days. Running is all about your mental state and you need to get yourself back mentally to where your body is physically.

    I think the thin air and flat streets of sea level running in VA Beach will mentally get you where need to be come Sunday morning. Plus, the thousands of runner’s toeing the line will have you juiced up and ready to run. Enjoy your weekend and keep your mind on April 16th!

    Hammer down on Sunday and Shamrock on!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Thanks David – I think the race day mojo is going to take care of a lot for sure. I kind of like being an underdog 🙂

  3. Jim in Maine says:

    I am among the many who never count you out Joe. I simply know that you are going it the best that you can on that day. I do hope you feel closer to 100% but regardless of whether you are physically 100% (and with rested legs to boot) or not – your heart and mind will be 100% and that is a darn fine combination. Best of success – don’t fret (it doesn’t appear you are) and have fun (as you usually do) while treating this race as it really is – part of the journey to Boston … part of the training plan … the real destination still lays ahead!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Thanks Jim – you never know when a special day is going to happen in this journey, either way, we’ll have some fun out there. Best to you, Patti and the girls.

  4. Robin says:

    I’m sure you’ll bounce back in no time! All the best….you’ve trained well.

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