So I've gone and done it again. It was just a matter of time. I've renewed my quest for a sub 4 hour marathon finish time, and the next chapter in that pursuit officially began 10 minutes ago when I registered for the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA on October 20, 2013. ( It really started back in October, but wasn't official until I registered this morning )
Why I think I'll succeed:
My first marathon time was 4:20, and my second was 4:09. If I can make the same kind of improvement on the next one, I should be under 4 hours. This theory breaks down when you carry it forward a few more times. If I could take 11 minutes off of every marathon I ran, in 5 or 6 races I'd be challenging Ryan Hall's time for the fastest marathon ever. ( it's around 2:04 !!!! ( yes, that's more than twice as fast as my PR !! ) )
Experience....each time I do this, I should get better at it. Not necessarily better at running physically, as that's obviously based on the training I put in, but mentally I will be more prepared to face the challenge of running 26.2 miles. This may be hard to believe, but conquering this distance is very much a mental exercise. Sure, covering the distance is a huge physical task, but the mental aspect of it is HUGE, and can't be overstated. Your mind will go places, and do things that will surprise you when you are pushing your body close to the limits of your physical capability. It's kind of like an acid trip. It can be a very positive or a very negative experience ( or both ! ). You will find yourself in long, passionate negotiations with the darker elements of your psyche that don't reveal themselves very often.
Data: I've looked at my last two attempts and can see where I have been lacking. This should help me target my training to specifically address those shortcomings. For me, it's primarily an endurance and stamina issue. I'm by no means fast, but my goal doesn't require speed. I'm only looking to run at a 9:09 pace. I may try to go a little faster if my training works out well, but for now, my goal is 3:59:59. In each of my first 2 attempts I was able to hold my pace until about the 21st mile, and then I faded. It's hard to train for running miles 22-26, since most training plans don't have you running more than 20 miles, and even that distance you only do 2 or 3 times. I'm going to have to alter whatever plan I chose to add more long runs, and make them longer than I've done in the past.
Why I might not succeed:
Random influences. One of my favorite prayers is the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
The courage to accept the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference
There are some elements that will impact my time that I can't control and I have to know that and accept it going into this challenge. The biggest is the weather, but there will also be some things that interupt my training, like sick kids, work obligations, family issues, etc. I have to deal with them as they come up, and still do the best I can to prepare. My own injury situation will play a major role. Some of this I can control by training smart, but injuries happen, and I have to expect it, and deal with it.
Distance. IT'S TWENTY SIX POINT TWO MILES, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD !!!!!
So, I hope you all come along on this journey with me. My goal is still to chronicle my attempts to become a better person, parent, and husband through training for a marathon, and I'll be filling you in on all the interesting aspects of the process.
I'd love to hear feedback, recommendations etc from anyone and everyone, so post a comment, drop me a line at; Greg@JustDontStopRunning.com, and tell your friends about the blog !! And...of course....
...just don't stop running....