Marathon Reminiscing

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.

Previous marathons

Philadelphia Marathon

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.

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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.

Philadelphia Marathon

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. 

Present day

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.

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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.

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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!

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12 thoughts on “Marathon Reminiscing

  1. I’m shooting for a BQ myself, and this coming Portland Marathon will be my first in a series of races to get there. My goal is to qualify by next year’s cutoff time. My next races after Portland is up in Washington in (Yakima River Canyon) in March, and then in Washington again for the the Skagit Flats the week before the cutoff time. My goal is pretty lofty as well, but I’m trusting the training!

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  2. I completed my 20th marathon this past July. It was my second attempt for a BQ, and it didn’t happen. Instead I dealt with calf cramps for about 10 miles, which ended up costing me Boston by about 20 minutes. I am running both Chicago and NY this Fall, neither of which I am attempting to BQ, just have great experiences. It’s no joke going for a BQ, and I wish you well. Best of luck!

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    • Thank you, Runner1313. A BQ really isn’t easy! Your resume of marathon finishes is so inspiring! Sorry about those calf cramps. They forced their way into several of past race experiences of mine as well. Wishing you a healthy, safe, and overall great experiences this fall in your marathon runs. Let us know how they went and maybe share what some of your training is looking like!

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  3. BQ is not even in my league but best of luck with your attempt…my journey is to run a marathon in every state, who knows on maybe one cycle I could get fast enough to attempt Boston but probably not anytime soon!
    Cheers!
    James

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    • A marathon in each state is one heck of an accomplishment! I would love for that kind of opportunity. Which state and marathon is next? Have you run one in NJ yet? And thank you for the well wishes and I send mine to you in return. Best of luck with your goal!

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  4. Next up is Chicago on Oct 11…it will only be my 5th marathon (4th state) but starting next year, I’m targeting 4-5 quality marathon’s per year – going to take a while but that’s all part of the fun and challenge. Haven’t got to NJ yet but I have a database/spreadsheet that details races that meet my criteria for each state…next year planning for Maui, Kansas, Montana and either Virginia (MCM), Philly, or Indianapolis. I’ve added your site to my follow list and please feel free to stop by my site and say hello once in a while. Hope you nail your BQ attempt.

    Cheers!
    James

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    • Philly is a great marathon! I highly recommend it. I’m definitely interested in learning how your efforts go so I will take you up on that invitation. Thank you for your support and your conversation. Best of luck in Chicago. Jealous you’re running it. I’ll get there one day!

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