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A Birthday BQ? Could it be? (Read 397 times)


ultramarathon/triathlete

    I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon this past weekend.  My brother and his family live there and several months back I scheduled a family reunion for Oct 16th after reading that there was a marathon that day in his town.  And, it's my birthday.  Big grin

     

    After IMLP in July I did not have the "go" to really train any more. I was burned out and done with my A-race.  I kept leading my weekly team runs Tue/Th and lifted weights 2 days a week before work, but basically did little else other than an occasional weekend run of about 10 miles.  Tue/Th I typically get 12 miles in (6-8 on my own, followed by 20 min waiting for team to show up, then leading the workout which varies: speed/hills/tempo/etc of 4 or 5 miles).  That's it.  No "long runs" since the Ironman.  No biking, no swimming.  Just relaxing.

     

    Because of this, I expected Grand Rapids to be a slow, painful marathon, but oh well, another one for the log book and a good training run before NYC Marathon in Nov.  I usually run in the low 3:teens with a PR of 3:08 last year at this time, and Boston this year was 3:19, but that was painful as I was training for Ironman, not specifically for a marathon. I figured laziness after an Ironman is a valid excuse for not training enough.  I told myself (and my family) I would not be upset if Grand Rapids fell closer to 4 hours.  3:40s if all went well and everyone kept their fingers crossed.   

     

    Race weekend came and it was rainy and windy.  Friday afternoon I went for a 6 miler to keep the legs fresh and felt great until I turned around at 3 miles and found I'd had a strong wind at my back starting off, so the run home was substantially slower.  Saturday it rained a lot and was wicked windy again.  I played with my nieces and nephew and gave a lot of piggy backs and did little resting.  All of this just solidified the thought of a long, slow, painful marathon come Sunday (my birthday) but like I said, my A-race was over, this was just for fun.

     

    Sunday I woke up to some light rain, about 5am.  Bummer.  My parents were up and gave my wife and me a ride to the start (30 minutes away). I arrived with plenty of time to spare before the 8am start.  Guess I'm just used to arriving way early for races but this was a rather small one so I could have slept another half hour or so.  I said my good-byes and thanks for the ride and they headed back home, and I headed into the most amazing YMCA (race sponsor/ start location) I have ever seen.  It's huge.  If you live in that area, become a member.  It's half what I pay in NYC and 1000X nicer with multiple pools.  Must be very new.  If only they had gyms like this in NYC (or the space for a mega gym!).  I settled into the huge/clean mens locker room, got organized and decided to stay inside until the last minute so I would stay dry a bit longer.

     

    7:50 I headed out to walk across the parking lot and get to the line.  I never wait this long.  I like to start ON the line.  But it was easy to get to as most people lined up WAY back.  Also, the rain had stopped!

     

    A few pre-race announcements.  The director(?) read the birthdays and I listened for mine.  There were a lot of birthdays!  I heard my name and smiled. 

     

    Gun went off and I decided I'd just go with what felt comfortable and quick even though I knew it would be too fast and I'd pay later.  But, I figured, I'm gonna pay after about 18 miles no matter what I do, so I might as well enjoy the first half and and be happy with whatever that time ended up being.  At least I knew I was well trained for a 13-15 mile race.  I'd deal with those other miles later.

    Mile 1= 6:44, 2= 6:49, 3= 6:44, 4= 6:42, 5= 6:39. Pretty flat, felt easy.

     

    I was just ahead of the 2:59Tight lipped pace group.  I could hear the pace leaders talking about race strategy for the group and about the group being named after Lance Armstrong's NYC marathon debut.  I remembered running that race too, though Lance beat me that year by some 30 minutes I think. 

    Mile 6= 6:43, 7= 6:43, 8= 6:41, 9= 6:49, 10= 6:36, mostly flat, some small rolling hills.  Pretty steady.

     

    I held a comfortable 6:44 ave pace for a long time, running side by side the lead woman.   We got to the half mark effortlessly at 1:29.  I think there was a good hill there and I saw my family around then for the first time in the race, which was really nice since some of them had never seen me race before and I was still looking strong.  I gave several high-fives and smiled for the cameras.  Surprised that I felt that good.

    Mile 11= 6:49, 12= 6:39, 13= 6:46.

     

    I figured I'd just keep going with the lead gal for a few more miles.  I think she pulled away a bit after 15 at which point I saw my family again, due to the winding nature of the course.  Sometime around then we were on an out and back and I saw the lead guy coming toward me on the other side of the road, crossing his mile 19 at a good clip.  I got to see my family again at my mile 17 or so.  More high-fives! 

    Mile 14= 7:04, 15= 7:05, 16=7:16. Starting to slow but feeling "good" and more importantly, I was having a great birthday and smiling!  I didn't mind slowing down a bit to take in the day.

     

    A few more miles ticked by and the Armstrong pace team caught me, I think now I was around 18 or 19 miles, close to where I had earlier seen the lead guy bookin' along.  I could feel myself slowing more and more, losing a couple seconds off my ave pace every mile that went by, but I didn't hurt so I thought, what the hell, just keep going little by little 'till I can't any more.  I was pretty sure I'd finish well under 4 hours now!!  I was on that out-and-back and saw all the slower pace groups way behind me.  What a nice day and a beautiful tree-lined course tucked back in the woods.

    Mile 17= 7:23, 18= 7:31, 19= 7:29.

     

    Around mile 20 it dawned on me I was on course to qualify for Boston!  Before that point, Boston had never entered my mind or my race plan.  I started thinking of how nice it would be to qualify on my birthday.  But I also knew I had not trained properly and would probably miss the 3:10 I needed, but at least for a few more miles I could enjoy the "what if" on my b-day and that got me smiling quite a bit again.  And just then a guy with this year's yellow Boston Marathon finisher's tech shirt, who seemed to be about my age, passed me. So naturally I cranked it up a bit to stay in front of him. In my mind, he was shooting to qualify again, so he needed to stay behind me at all costs.

    Mile 20= 7:42, 21= 7:39.

     

    Mile 22, still slowing, but still on course for a Birthday-BQ, somehow.  Now the thought of Boston was really taking hold and I was fighting a mental battle of should/can I go for it or can I please just slow down and rest and slow some more and just enjoy the fact that I will be in the 3:teens and I was not even trying for that in the first place, so just take "good enough" and be happy!  It would be a good birthday-finish either way!  As I rounded a corner I saw my wife again, standing at the M22 marker!  I wanted to yell that I was on-course for Boston!  I wanted to high-five her!  But I had no energy so I smiled and waved as she took some pics and cheered me on and I forced myself to keep up a sub 8 min pace, which, in my mind, would keep me on course for a birthday-BQ.

     

    Now I was hungry.  I had decided I was done eating GUs around about mile 20.  I just did not have the stomach for it any more.  Water was fine but my stomach was grumbling and I was running out of energy fast. 

    Mile 22= 7:37, 23=7:52, 24= 7:58.  I wanted to walk.  Badly.  Screw Boston.  It's my birthday, I should be able to rest if I want to.

     

    Then the guy with this year's Boston tech shirt passed me again.  I hadn't seen him in a while and had totally forgotten about him.  It perked me up.  He was running with another person and they looked strong.  I kicked it up and passed them.  I had a mile-ish to go and mannnnnnn, I wanted to walk.  There were no people cheering on this lonely stretch of the course!

    Mile 25= 8:07.  I calculated I still had the time to run a 1.2 miles.  I think I had 9 minutes but that was foggy and my math is never to be trusted that far into a race.  With half a mil to go, I really really REALLY thought about walking.  It was hard.  Very hard.  But man, it was also very, very close.

    Mile 26 = 8:39.

     

    I saw the finish line down the road.

    I was squinting but I thought it said 3:09.  

    I needed it to NOT say 3:10!  

    I kicked it up.  

    I could do it.  

    I was doing it.

    It could happen! Holy cow, I don't know how, but I was still moving, and I was speeding up, and the clock was speeding along!

     

    My last .2 was at a 7:12 pace.

     

    Finish:  3:09:38.  

    Happy BQ to me!  

    I qualified for Boston on my birthday and in front of my whole family.   :-)

    HTFU?  Why not!

    Coach: Empire Tri Club 

    Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club

      Awesome race report and a hell of an accomplishment!  Nice work.

      "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
      Emil Zatopek

      JML


        That is one sweet birthday.  Congrats!

         2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

          Great work!  Probably would have been easier if you had paced yourself for sub-3:10 from the beginning, huh?  Anyway, thanks for writing the report, and congrats!

          Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


          ultramarathon/triathlete

            Great work!  Probably would have been easier if you had paced yourself for sub-3:10 from the beginning, huh?  Anyway, thanks for writing the report, and congrats!

             

            Ha, probably, but like I said, I was thinking I'd be a lot slower, so I went out without really caring if I blew up later.  My thinking was that, no matter what pace I did, I'd die after 18 miles.  I'm really not sure how I was able to keep a solid pace so long.  Makes me wonder if I would have been able to go sub 3 if I have just done some proper training in August and Sept!  

             

            Oh, and I forgot to mention I have bronchitis and adult whooping cough (who even gets that?!).  Luckily neither seemed to be an issue until about mile 23 and again at 24 when I had a few bouts of hacking and a hard time breathing.  Oddly, it seems to not be an issue until I STOP running. Then I can't stop coughing!  My Dr said this should last about a month uggggg!

            HTFU?  Why not!

            Coach: Empire Tri Club 

            Speed Coach: Brooklyn Tri Club

              Oh, and I forgot to mention I have bronchitis and adult whooping cough (who even gets that?!).  Luckily neither seemed to be an issue until about mile 23 and again at 24 when I had a few bouts of hacking and a hard time breathing.  Oddly, it seems to not be an issue until I STOP running. Then I can't stop coughing!  My Dr said this should last about a month uggggg!

               

              Aw c'mon, bronchitis was my excuse for my poor showing in my first marathon!  Joking

              Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.