Race goals

14 05 2010

Today I arrived in Green Bay and ran a glorious final short run before the Green Bay Marathon. Along with driving along much of the course and eating a lot of pasta and potatoes today, the gravitas of Sunday’s race is unavoidable. So how fast do I think I can go?

I will choose traditional goals rather than the more entertaining dinosaur goals of my fellow Green Bay Marathon runner Jeri. It is her first marathon, wish her well if you haven’t yet done so!

A Goal 3:45 (8:36/mile pace)

My A goal is aggressive but achievable if I run smart. Run smart in this means the opposite of 2009 NYCM (where my goal was 3:50 and I started out at an 8:21/mile pace over the first 10K (51:52), kept an 8:36/mile pace over the following 5K, finally started running at the goal pace during 15K-20K, and then completely went to hell after leaving Brooklyn (half-marathon splits 1:52, 2:13). Yeah, don’t run like that again, OK?

The only thing giving me pause about my A goal are the minor hip and shin issues I had that caused me to back off somewhat after the 5 weeks to go point, including in the taper. I certainly lost a little fitness (more hopefully didn’t gain all that I could have), but I trust my training and was broadly happy with it (see previous post). I am particularly happy with the paces of several of my long runs, including the 20-miles at 7 weeks to go with a bunch of Boston runners, the 20-miler at 5 weeks to go at a sub-9 pace, and the Penn Relays 20K at 8:17 pace on tired legs (and even on really tired legs after a way-too-fast start, I still averaged an 8:30-ish pace). Plus, the 10K I ran (also on tired legs) predicts a 3:44 time. 3:45 seems completely legitimate based on the sum of the data. I need to run smart, take salt several times, stay within myself, and then push at the end. The weather looks great (start temp upper 40s at 7 a.m.) and I feel completely healthy, so those variables are kindly enough in my favor, too.

B Goal 3:50 (8:47/mile pace)

A huge PR, and definitely fully within my abilities. Again, running smart is the key. Also, my Penn Relays 20K (run on tired legs and with imperfect strategy!) time predicts 3:50. I can totally run a 3:50.

C Goal 3:59:59 (9:09/mile pace)

I’ll finally break 4 hours in marathon #4! New PR! Getting a 3:59:59 would mean I faded, but nowhere near as badly as I did at the 2009 NYCM (where my pace in miles 20-26 was between 10:18 and 11:21, running the whole time). Even if I have a fade, my much better distance conditioning this cycle makes me think that it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as at NYCM. I also know my salt needs much better thanks to lessons painfully learned in the Seattle Marathon, where I cramped from miles 16 on. I could totally run a 2:06 second half at this point no matter what, right? (I’ll be stunned if my first half is any slower than 1:55, and a 1:52-1:53 seems highly likely unless injury is involved.)

D Goal finish

Always a worthy goal in a marathon, because the marathon has a million ways to kick your ass, and finishing means you have completed an incredible effort. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the run, run happy, enjoy running on Lambeau Field, enjoy the art of movement – enjoy it all, relish the pain that is certain, just run. Any day that you have run a marathon is a great day!

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2 responses

15 05 2010
SCL

Good luck – you are heading into it very realistically, which is great. Hard to hold back in the early miles, but I’m sure it will pay huge dividends later on…

19 05 2010
jeri

Thanks for the bloggy shout out Neil. I would’ve much appreciated your marathon goals in ficticious/mystical animals, but there’s always the next one, right? ;) It was great meeting you this weekend, hopefully our (running) paths will cross again in the future. Total bummer we didn’t get to catch up post race to rehash and celebrate.

CONGRATS AGAIN on marathon #4. :D

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