Friday, November 27, 2009

Ramping up for marathon #18 with an eye on the future

The handful of you that check in on this blog from time to time may have noticed that it has been seven weeks since my last post. Fret not, friends. After a brief recovery after Chicago, I have been running quite well as hopefully my training log will demonstrate.

I simply was not feeling all that verbose about my running. Simply put, I wanted to just run and not talk or write about it.

For the weeks leading up to the Chicago Marathon, I promised myself that I would not commit to another marathon until after I gave it my all on October 11th. I held true to that commitment. I was able to put up yet another PR and savor my accomplishment.

Immediately following the Chicago Marathon, I decided that I would carefully evaluate my next running endeavor. This task has been fresh on my mind ever since October 11th, and not surprisingly, I have been waffling over a few options.

This time around, I wanted to fully recover and take a full 18-week cycle to make a big dent in my Chicago PR. That's why I wanted to push my next race out to March.

During the last several weeks, I realize that I need to be careful so not to take running for granted. The major impending change in my life is that my wife and I are expecting our second child in April. I am thrilled, and realize more than ever that I have a lot of responsibility to be a family man.

Right off the bat, this eliminated any consideration to go back to Boston this year. So, all along, my thinking has been I need to prepare to absolutely crush one more marathon before the baby comes.

I also have been giving my career a lot of thought and want to make sure I allocate enough time to accomplish my goals there. I also have been trying to broaden my horizons spiritually and in other areas in my life. Bottom line: I think that this upcoming marathon cycle will be about the most amount of running that I can afford to fit into my priorities.

The goal I have been thinking of setting is to qualify outright for entry into the NYC Marathon on November 7th, 2010. However, I do not want to take my chances in a lottery, which I lost out on 2008. I want guaranteed entry with a qualifying time.

What is the qualifying time, you may ask? For men 39 and under, it is a staggering 2:55 flat. And, unlike the Boston qualifying standards, there is no 59 second grace.

Disappointingly, I learned yesterday that a race in March will be too late to get me guaranteed entry into the 2010 NYC Marathon. Apparently, you need to have raced by January 31st, 2010. I will push this detail aside and press on. Running a sub-2:55 will get me into NYC in 2011.

I narrowed it down to two marathons on the weekend of March 5th, 2010: (1) Albany, GA and (2) Little Rock, AR. The factors that went into my narrowing it down are (not listed in order of importance):

  • Date of race - It needed to be before April and later than Feb 28th to allow for a full 18-week training cycle
  • Location / ease of logistics - I am going by myself, and I am Platinum on American Airlines, so it needs to be somewhere I can get to cheaply and easily
  • Course ease (or difficulty, depending on how you look at it) - To go for a sub-2:55, this sucker needs to be flat!
  • States in which I have not raced before are preferred - For when I decide to go for the 50 states club later in life (Texas and Florida are out, which made this tough for Feb/March)
  • The race must have reasonably favorable reviews on

Right now, I am training toward the goal to run a 2:54 at the Snickers Energy Bar Marathon on March 6th, 2010. Little Rock, although it has stellar reviews and is easier to get to for me due to a direct AA flight, may be a bit to hill to achieve that sub 2:55.

Currently, I have completed 4 weeks of an 18-week modified Pfitzinger training plan that will get me up to a new peak of 80 miles per week in week #15 in February.

While visiting my sister's family, I ran in Colorado last week at about 5,800 feet altitude, which was a great stimulus. I am pretty confident that was one of the factors that helped me absolutely destroy a 19-miler in the hills of Waterfall Glen today at an average pace of 7:08/mile.

I am presently 14 weeks ago from running this race. I plan to post a minimum of weekly going forward toward the race date. Please stay tuned and join me for the ride.


Darrell said...

Congrats on the impending arrival of baby#2.

Good stuff on the training horizon. I'll be reading along.

Have you kept up with the running group that you were trying to organize?

Anonymous said...

You can also qualify for New York with a half marathon and I think the standards are easier to achieve (1:25). Might be worth looking into.

monicac2 said...

Wow! Looking forward to another exciting chapter of your running journey. Congratulations on the inpending addition to your family!

marmot jackets said...

That was such a nice post!Very interesting and inspiring..keep it up!