Houston – We’ve Got A Problem

Posted: May 3, 2012 in Pace and Racing, Training
Tags: , ,

A few weeks ago in Boston I was preparing for my “last” marathon.  I spent the previous 24 weeks working harder than I ever have before training for the dastardly 26.2 mile test.  I was fit, focused and ready to lay down something special on April 16th.  Hoping to break through the 3 hour mark, but more than that, hoping to run one last marathon and run a “best ever” race.

As the forecast for race day started to soar from the 50 degree temperatures that are “normal” for that time of year in New England to a ridiculous 87 degrees for race day, my hopes for Boston were dashed.

I put on a positive face.  Enjoyed the day with fellow runners and friends who had made the trip to Boston and made sure that Dawn, Landry and I had some fun over marathon weekend.  Tuesday after the race I took a walk through Boston over to the North End by myself.

I had a great Italian lunch, chatted with some locals, stopped by Maria’s Pastry shop for some pistachio green leaf Italian cookies and took in a beautiful Boston day.  I went to see the Red Sox play at Fenway that night.  I caught a foul ball at the game.

One Wednesday morning I flew back to Austin and put the116th Boston Marathon behind me.  It was time to turn the page and move on to a season of Triathlons and our first attempt at Iron Man 70.3 this fall.

In the weeks since Boston as I have started training again, running in the morning, cycling in the afternoon or doubling up with an early run and a late swim my body feels like it is hardening even more.

My legs are strong, my shoulders and back are broadening.  I can literally feel myself growing stronger.

All the while as I am running alone at 5:00 a.m. there is a little voice inside of me saying the same thing over and over and over.




The race just won’t let me go.

I’m not sure if it is the fact that I like thousands of other runners were robbed of their “race day” in Boston this year.  Or if I truly believe that I am running out of time to make a legitimate attempt at running a sub 3 hour marathon.  Perhaps it is a little bit of both.

But I just can’t seem to set the marathon completely aside and focus my training and racing on other goals.  Not yet at least.

For me the marathon is no longer about finishing the race.

If I can finish two marathons in 13 days for Dom and subsequently finish a marathon in 87 degree weather – I know I can cover the distance.

Now the marathon has become more than just an endurance test – it is a matter of will.

The will that the distance exerts on the runner – punishing them mile after mile until the body can no longer function as it had hours and miles earlier.

The will that the mind exerts on the body, asking for more, more, more until that final mile marker is reached and there is just 1.2 miles left to go to the finish.  It is at that point that the race reveals its true beauty.

How much do you really have left?

How much are you willing to endure?

How badly do you really want this?

The answer for me is that I want one more chance.  I want to train, prepare and show up to one more starting line – the only thing I hope for is that I get a neutral day.  Cool temperatures, a fair course and a chance to finally do my thing.  Race to the limits of my abilities and training.  Be the best that I have ever been.

There are no guarantees in life.  Even fewer in road racing.  Weather, injury, illness can and will happen far more frequently than any of us would like.  I have started and finished 8 marathons in the last 5 years and have had good weather in two of them.

Statistically speaking, that is not a very good batting average.  But that little voice is still calling out:




So with Dawn’s blessing, we are going to give this one more shot.

January 13, 2013 – Houston Texas.


Not the luckiest of numbers if you believe in that kind of thing – but nonetheless we are going to play the odds that on a January Day in the great state of TX we are going to get cool weather.  Race time is 7:00 a.m., again right in our wheelhouse.  The course is laid out in a figure 8, so that any wind on the course should help in one direction as much as it hurts in another.

The terrain is flat.  The course is said to be fast – although it has a lot of concrete, we’ll have to train for that variable and toughen up those legs coming off our IM 70.3 training.

We will have 11 weeks to prepare for Houston after our Half-Ironman. 

254 days away.  We’re going back one more time.

  1. Tom M says:

    Go for it, Joe! You’ll be great, and I think your half-iron will drop you right into place to start a shortened training cycle!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Thanks Tom! I think we’ll be in great shape by the end of October to jump into week 8 of a marathon cycle …going to be pretty intense from there on out.

  2. Erin Ruyle says:

    I’m excited to hear you are going to gun for Houston, Joe! I ran it 2 years ago, and I don’t think you could have picked a better one for ‘one last shot’. And, coming off of the 70.3 training, you’ll be stronger than ever. Rootin’ for ya!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Thanks Erin! I’ll be asking you about that course next time I see you. I won’t have a chance to see it or run it before the race more than likely, which I don’t really like – but the rest of the variables seem to stack in my favor. We’ll see 🙂

  3. Jodi H says:

    I am not surprised to see this post at all! I was certain you still had a score to settle and it was just a matter of time before you put it out there. Kill it in Houston and have the time of your life at your first half-ironman!!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Thanks Jodi! Yep, unfinished business just isn’t my style 🙂 – Thanks for all the great support, your “coach” does indeed have a score to settle. Take good care and keep working hard!

  4. robinandamelia says:

    Sounds like a great plan!

  5. Rob Savarese says:

    YEAH!!! Very pumped for you Joe, do it on your terms!

  6. Ted says:

    It is hard to escape the pull of the full marathon isn’t it?!?!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Ted that quote is classic – and 100% spot on. I think I’m going to be age-grouping as a 65 year old saying, one more time – I know I’ll get the right weather at race XXX in YYY ….

  7. David H. says:

    That will be an awesome way to kick off 2013! Very interesting looking route.

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      A January marathon will be a new one for me David. Nice to start the year with a PR no?

  8. Joseph Hayes says:

    You. Kick. Ass.

  9. onelittlejill says:

    I’ll never believe you when you say “last one” because I think you have many more “last ones” in you!!!

  10. David Shibli says:

    Hi Joe, you most certainly have this in you. I’m 46 and ran Chicago 2011 in 3:24. Well disappointed, I can assure you. I was aiming for sub 3:10. I went back to basics, got a good 10k under my belt, (37:50) took that speed into 3 half maras in Jan (1:27:02), Feb (1:25:28), & Mar (1:22:17) and have just run the Carmel, Indiana Marathon on April 21 in 2:52:57.
    So, it’s certainly doable and you have good speed, so I’m wishing you all the best in achieving this great goal. Train to crush it and most of all, enjoy your running. Cheers!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi David! Congrats on an incredible marathon at Carmel! So happy for you. I appreciate all the great support, I think this one is going to be OUR race in January. Best to you. J

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