Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Bayshore Goal

I’ve never trained for a marathon the way I have prepared for Bayshore. My first marathon, the Flying Pig, was just about finishing. I didn’t know about Boston (other than it was a famous race); heck I didn’t even know about elevation maps. I didn’t own a running watch, I drove my routes to gauge their distance (no or Garmin Forerunners), and I was even naive enough to think taking fluids during a run was a sign of weakness. When I was at the starting line of the Flying Pig my sister Thor asked me what my goal was. I didn’t have an answer—I hadn’t even considered it. In fact I had no idea how fast I could run a marathon. She told me to line up with the 4:30 pacers—and I did.

It wasn’t until I began training with Lil last summer that I discovered the culture of marathon running. So, this training period is my first focused effort dedicated my time goal.

And what is that goal? Patience; first some running goals in general. Now that I know what the big whoop is, I want to BQ. I want it bad. I loath the city of Boston (for purely sports related reasons) and swore as a child I would never step foot in that place (stupid Larry Bird and Bruins). But every rule has an exception, and running the Boston Marathon is my exception to my ‘never enter Boston’ rule. Another running goal includes an ultra.

So, what is my goal time for Bayshore? 3:15. And, for the record, a 3:15 will not give me a BQ. “What about all the above BQ talk?” the crowd screams. Well, when I sat down to plan this running year my goal was to focus on two marathons: Bayshore and Chicago. I looked long and hard at my running times (the few races I ran by myself) and the pace a BQ requires. I was honest with myself. I kept hearing my track coach saying “times speak for themselves.” I knew I needed to be realistic about my weight and my fitness. I wasn’t overweight by any means, but my fitness level was low.

I believed I could run a BQ time; but I needed time to get my body back to the shape and speed and fitness level it used to have when I ran hard consistently. I primarily want to run Bayshore to get the bad taste of last year’s Chicago out, and to use it as a template and base for my BQ attempt in Chicago 09. My training has been good for Bayshore, but it isn’t quite where I want when I attempt to BQ.

I’ll be honest, a sizeable part of me thinks, “a 3:15 is awfully close to a 3:10; you can give it a go!” But pacing wise it isn’t that close. A 7:15 compared to a 7:26 is sizeable—especially over the course of a marathon. We’re talking about a 2:30 difference per half. And, the plan has always been to run hard but smart.

So, there it is. 3:15. I will be OoF (out of office) Friday; but I expect to post a race report sometime early next week.



* One small note of dread, temperatures are expected to hit the high 70s. This does not bode well for me as I get killed in the low 70s.


Nitmos said...

Sounds like a sensible plan...I don't want to burrow into your subconscious as an unwlecome intrusion but I had the exact same plan for Bayshore in 2007 (including using it as a stage for my actual BQ attempt later in the year at Chicago)...and exceeded expectations by 5 minutes and BQ'ed with a 3:12.

And you training times are quite a bit faster than mine were for that 3:12.

Best of luck. However it turns out, it's only a matter of time and "which race" for you. The BQ will happen.

Amy said...

Wow, 3:15! That's awesome. For what it's worth, I think it's good to save the real BQ attempt for the Chicago. You'll have this marathon under your belt and be in really good shape for Chicago. Plus... chasing the BQ is fun no need to rush it(for now at least... talk to me in a couple of years and I'm sure I'll disagree with that statement).

Good luck. But you don't need it. Luck is for pansies... training is for runners and you've already done that.

Can't wait to read the race report!

Irish Cream said...

Yay, I can't believe it's already here! Good luck!! Although, as Amy pointed out, who needs luck when you have such solid training to fall back on? You'll rock Bayshore, I just know it!

Running and living said...

I agree that a 5 minute difference is a lot uring a marathon. If you feel great, you can always kick it at the end, but there is nothing like going out too fast and "walling it" at the end. Ana-Maria