I’m chasing it again. What exactly am I chasing? That’ll be the elusive Boston (Marathon) Qualifying time or simply BQ as marathoners more commonly refer to it as. It’s not an easy time to attain and sure, there are thousands of runners of who can easily obtain a BQ time in their age group, but on the grand scale, that’s such a tiny percent of all runners who attempt the endeavor. Next month’s Portland Marathon will be my fourth marathon and my third real attempt at chasing a BQ time.
2012 was a great year for my running. That summer, I completed my first triathlon and was so ecstatic about this and my fitness that I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon just a few days later. Training for this marathon was a heck of an experience. As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, I read everything I could read to help me train for this marathon. I wasn’t just trying to complete it. I was going to destroy it. And by destroy it, I mean still be beat by hundreds of runners, but at least get a BQ time.
It was a lofty goal, so I had lofty training expectations. Too lofty. At one point I ran an entire 20 mile training run averaging 7:10 a mile. My slightly wiser self knows that that is way too intense for a training run when my goal average pace was 7:05 or slightly lower. This was also the marathon where I thought by running with a waistpack of at least a few hundred calories I would eat while running would work for me. While I didn’t bonk from glycogen depletion, I did start to feel cramping from dehydration begin around mile 22 which drastically slowed me down to about 8:45 secs/mile for the last couple of miles. I ran a 3:13 and change and while it was nowhere near the 3:05 I needed to qualify for Boston, it fueled a fire in me.
—New Jersey Marathon
I went after a BQ time again in April 2014 at the NJ Marathon which took place, of course, at the shore. It was a brutally cold and icy winter of training which led me to nix way too many training runs. Who wants to train in 12 degrees on icy roads and sidewalks? I sure didn’t. I had several great training runs when the weather warmed up a bit, but they weren’t enough. The result of this training was a 3:17 time after 6:50 miles turned into 9 minute miles for the last several miles. I simply ran out of gas as a result of inconsistent training.
I ran Philly again in November 2014, but as I was just beginning my first full time job my training was practically nonexistent. I went into this marathon not worrying at all about the end time. I ran with Val’s uncle for almost the entire time and thoroughly appreciated just having the health and fitness to run 26.2 miles.
Fast forward to today where I’m currently training for the Portland Marathon. I’ve only heard great things about this marathon so I’m very excited for October 4th to come around. I’m also semi-nervous because as I mentioned, I’ll be chasing a BQ again.
I’m at this track at least once a week for various workouts. I love mile repeats on the track! But really..I do.
What’s great is that I started marathon training with my base fitness already built. Thanks to training for and completing a 12 hour ultra (got in just over 64 miles) back in late July, my fitness is where it needs to be for a marathon. So since early August, all I’ve been trying to do is get speed into my legs and it’s been going very well. Some of these runs have consisted of 20 milers with the last several miles nearing goal pace, tempo runs, mile repeats, and track workouts such as today’s 10 x 200 meters.
I will be racing in these Asics Gel – DS Racer 10 speed demons on race day! And I’ve been eating a lot of these kind of meals to help me recover from hard runs (nondairy yogurt with added protein, chia seeds, and banana(s)..Great for recovery! Oatmeal is also a popular go-to lately with similar fixin’s.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with where my training is right now. I completed my last long run this past weekend which I actually broke up into two back-to-back 20 mile runs. I’m recovering well and feel strong so I will keep my half marathon time trial on the schedule for this Saturday which will be three weeks before marathon weekend. It will be a great fitness test and also a good confidence booster as I near 1.5 – 2 weeks of tapering (the period before competition performance where, generally, volume is reduced, but intensity remains) before the race. I’ll keep you updated as to how things are coming along in another week or so. I know you’ll all be dyingg to know!