Monday, September 9, 2013

Boston Qualifier in Seattle or Champaign?

This year I knocked off one of my biggest lifetime running goals...sub-24 in a 100-mile trail race! It felt great. Still does. Unfortunately, I've been in a funk ever since that race. Leading up to the April 100 miler, I also set a new 50-mile trail personal best. Since the 100 miler, nothing. Now I enter the fall racing season with no real goals. I have three trail ultramarathons scheduled (Evergreen Lake, Farmdale, and McNotAgain) and one road marathon (Seattle). I've been toying with the idea of a Boston Qualifying time. For a 45-49 year old male, that means a 3:25 marathon. That's a 7:49 pace for 26.2 miles. Very doable. But not today. Not next month either. Maybe November or December...if everything goes well in training over the next few weeks. I MIGHT be able to run a 3:25 marathon in Seattle. I'd have to push hard and injury would be a significant possibility. But, after December, I'd have all winter to recover! Maybe it would be worth the risk?

Or, I could get in serious endurance training all fall (three ultras and one marathon), and set my goal BQ race in the spring--specifically the Illinois Marathon in Champaign, IL (10 miles from home) in late April. With a solid winter aerobic base, I could train hard in March and April and be ready for a BQ attempt in Champaign. Weather is a wildcard...late April in central Illinois can be hot and humid or cold and windy. I'd hate to train hard for weeks and weeks and end up with a failed attempt due to weather. Hmmm...a Boston qualifier in Seattle or Champaign?

I have the Evergreen Lake 32-Mile trail race this weekend. If all goes well, and I feel capable of jumping into renewed training immediately, I may just go for the Seattle attempt. If not, I'll try to set an intermediate goal (maybe personal bests at both Farmdale and McNotAgain ultras?) and wait until April for my BQ race. A BQ in front of the hometown crowd? Sweet.

For now, no decisions. But a certain number is sticking in my head...7:49. I think many of my future training runs will be at 7:49 pace. Hopefully, they'll feel easy. If not tomorrow, then the next day...or the day after. Eventually. 7:49.


David said...

You have time to take a couple of weeks rest after Evergreen Lake, spend 6 weeks on interval/tempo work, and then taper for Seattle. If at any point you realize your body isn't happy with this plan, you can ditch Seattle and rest up for a spring marathon training cycle.

Seattle in December will likely be your best bet for a BQ considering the cool temperatures and low altitude. Could be wet though...

Two of my last 3 marathons were in Boston, but I haven't run any marathon since 2011. With all of the slow ultra-distance running I've done since then, the thought of running 7:xx pace for 26 miles seems absurdly fast now!

Chris said...

It does seem way too fast! You're right--it probably is doable even with the ultras (but I have two more ultras after Evergreen Lake). I'm leaning toward waiting until spring...or even next fall.I kind of had my heart set on using the IL marathon next April for a PR half-marathon. We'll see. Three ultras and one marathon left for this year!