If you asked me 5 years ago if i could ever break 3:40 in the marathon, i would have laughed and said yeah right!!!!! And here i sit at a 3:07. 18 years ago - i was a sprinter, hurdler, high jumper & triple jumper. Everything i did was about power and speed...explosion! not endurance. I said i never would run a marathon. Then after college i got a little bored not having the ability to run those explosive events anymore. So i started doing 5ks then 10ks, the half marathon and when bored there after saying i never would do it - i entered the NJ marathon, 15 years ago. It was their inaugural marathon. I was part of it! I ran a 4:03! and i was thrilled. I had just finished a marathon!!! Over the years i did one here and there and did a little better but not much. In 2010 something happened and i stopped thinking i can't do this distance stuff, i am not a sprinter anymore and i started to believe that "yes, yes, i can run." Next thing i know my 5ks went down from 24 minutes to 19 and then eventually low 18s. I entered the NY marathon and started thinking i could possibly break a 3:40 in the marathon, maybe even a 3:30. So, i set my goals and trained. I eventually wanted a 3:20 and ran a 3:18. A huge PR for me. I ran a couple more since then and kept my time around that. That is a bit of my marathon life i in a short story format. Jumping to the NJ marathon. 15 years ago it was its first ever and my first ever marathon. This year they were celebrating 15 years! so i seemed perfect to go back and do it again! Not to mention all the friends i will get to see! It was Marathon #11 for me. My training for this was different. The running - the same. But i wasn't training for a triathlon. I focused on running and resting. So on rest days i truly got to rest. I had weeks where i had 3 days off even. And let me tell you that rest time was HUGE! instead of swimming or biking i rested! did nothing. Lazy! but my runs were so much better because of it. And i really think this was a big part of why i ran what i did. I trained to PR so i really wanted to break a 3:15. I felt so strong over the weeks that i felt inside i could even get a 3:10 but was scared to try it. what if i would crash from going faster than my ability. This goes into the 2nd reason i believe i ran the way i did - mental strength. I stayed focused on how i felt through my training. I felt so strong i didn't know what to do with it.
i got up to the line and continued doing what i had been doing the last 48 hours - visualizing myself doing what i was strong enough to do. Run a 3:10. I knew that i could place pretty well in the event, but i did not want to focus on that as that is not what i was there for. If i start to focus on that i lose track of what i am there to do and suddenly i don't run MY race or better yet - MY FAST!
Nervous - you betcha! i haven't been nervous like this in a loooong time. Sure i get nervous in tris. But its different, its not because i care how i do it is because im terrified of freaking out in the swim! HA! But i use to always say if im nervous (this kind) its a good sign. I was nervous because i wanted to so badly to run a great marathon! And that is what i did.
I started out a little fast but was quick to discover i was running ahead of a pace group that was going for a 3:05 so i slowed up and snuck in behind that group in the back. I felt really good. And i figured lets just stay with them as long as you can. It is only a few seconds faster than the pace i would do for a 3:10. So if i am capable of a 310 that pace wont crush me later on. It was perfect.
I ran very focused on how i felt. The last month + in my training i stopped relying on my GPS watch and started to focus on my body signals (reason #3 i feel i ran how i did). And i told myself to do this in the marathon too. So, i had it on so that i can review stats after but i never looked at it. Miles were going by and i continued to feel so great. I had a few mistakes in the marathon, but nothing i would ever say "if only." i don't like to do that as you run the race you run and you can't change the things you think if only i did this. That and i am so ecstatic about my race that i wouldn't change a thing!!! First little mistake is that i noticed the clock at the half marathon point and doubled the time to realize i was on target for a 3:02 marathon (our pace was 6:45-6:55 miles, where i should have been more around 7:10-7:15s))- YIKES!!! but i felt so great! i probably should not have done that, but it happened. In at the moment decided to slow it up as i didn't want my race to be ruined. Who knows, maybe i could have held it the entire time since i felt so good or maybe i would have crashed and walked to get to finish. Either one could have happened...i ran the run i was meant to run that day. I eased off the pace but still never looked at my watch to know what i was doing. Honestly i thought i was doing 8 minutes but a few days later when i got to look at my stats i was running the pace i set out for to get a 3:10. So i was on target and ahead still.
around mile 18 headed toward the ocean the wind was a bit strong and it slowed me up. Again i thought i was going to see 8+ when i looked at my stats but it was about 7:15s - 20s (what i would have run if i stuck to the goal of a PR of 3:14). So not to bad. The wind got to me, i stopped my hydration and fueling. I get this way when something upsets me while im tired. In this situation it was the wind. I have had long runs that either the cold or the rain did that - carried water and gels the entire run and finished the run with both as full as when i started. So i do need to work on that. But i think that didn't really hurt me in my run as much as it did after with major dehydration!
Sadly, this is the short story. There is so much more to it. But thanks to a realllllly busy exercise class and personal training schedule - work has been taking up a lot of my time!
NJ Marathon - 1997 - Finished 4:03
NJ Marathon - 2012 - Finished 3:07
Pretty cool right!
Do i think i can do a sub 3:05? i am not sure. It seems unrealistic to me. But so was a 3:07. Some say i can go under 3 hours. I am not being negative, but i just think realistically that won't be possible...but breaking 3:05 - i will go after it! We shall see! For now:
3:07 = MY FAST!
I will try and copy my mile stats soon!!!