I’ve been saying “maybe I’ll run Grandma’s Marathon this year” since January. Maybe even since last year. The marathon is on June 20th (as in, like a month and a half away). Here we are in the beginning of May, and I still keep saying, “maybe I’ll run Grandma’s Marathon this year”. I was relaxing and watching some TV on my couch the other night and thought, “Wow, Grandma’s is soon. I wonder if it sells out?” So in a moment of panic, I went to the site and shelled out a disgusting amount of money to sign up. I could have saved like $25 if I would have just gotten on this sooner. I think my total ended up being $150 because they charged me an $8 convenience fee on top of the hefty $115 registration fee, and I bought two tickets for the pasta dinner. I’m a sucker for those, but I know I can do pasta the night before a race and it’s usually a reasonably priced dinner option. One less thing to plan. Rumor has it that Grandma’s is a pretty spectacular race so I’m hoping it’s all worth it.
While I’m being honest, I’m going to throw my goal out there. I know I’ve posted that I’m dying for a sub-3 finish, but I haven’t worked for it yet. I haven’t been able to put in an injury- free training cycle of tempo runs, track workouts, etc. Also, since I’ve set the goal to break three hours, I’ve made a rather large pacing mistake TWICE during marathons and paid for it. I keep going out at that aggressive 3 hour pace (or faster) and trying to hold it right out of the gates. But my PR is a 3:06, which is still like an eternity away from three hours. At this point, six minutes is HUGE and I need to be more realistic about how I chip away at that. I completely blew up at Clarence Demar trying to go sub-3. While I was suffering from Achilles issues by the time I toed the line at the Lost Dutchman, I did the same thing there (like how my first mile was a 6:35. Really? Why?? Dumb. If paced correctly, 6:35 is completely unnecessary at any point of a sub-3 marathon). I can’t expect to see a six minute PR at this point in the game, especially without working for it. So my goal for Grandma’s is to run a 3:05. 7:00/mile. This is something I know am capable of. Now I just need to make it happen.
Here’s why I can do it: I went out with a goal of 3:05 at Boston . It wasn’t my day for that time, and the course is a lot hillier and the conditions were rough. I ran a 3:14 there with about six weeks of training due to my bum Achilles. Those six weeks weren’t always solid, either – there were bad days with my injury that often held me back and frustrated me. After finishing that 3:14, I wasn’t super beat up and recovered relatively quickly. That tells me that I have more to give. In Boston, I ran a conservative race with an injured and scared mindset, and it paid off because I finished strong and felt great the whole time. Sure, I had some endurance built up from before the injury and the training I was able to complete helped – but holding back in the beginning is what made that time and how I felt after the race possible. It’s my hope that going into Grandma’s I’ll have that endurance, combined with my six weeks of pre-Boston training, Boston, and the next eight weeks to tune things up.
It’s possible I’ll need to shy away from hill specific training to keep my Achilles on the mend, but I can simulate running steep hills by climbing them on my bike. At this time last year, I was also training for an IRONMAN 70.3 so I was swimming a few times per week (much like I am now) and riding a few times per week. Cycling really helps develop quads and large muscle groups in your legs. Though I’m not the speediest on my bike, I could power up a hill running like it was nothing while I was spending more time in the saddle. Grandma’s has some hills, but nothing crazy, so biking will be extremely beneficial. The elevation profile of the course makes it seem like its rolling hills (which I like), with a net downhill at the start:
Additionally, I ran a 3:18 last year at Boston and then ran my 3:06 in June (the exact same time frame). The timeline fits, so if I was in 3:14 shape at Boston this year, I think I have a chance at being in 3:05 shape by Grandma’s. There’s also a 3:05 pacer. While I don’t normally run with pacers, it could be beneficial for me to consider it here and it’s nice to know the option is available.
Here’s why it’s a long shot: my Achilles could act up at anytime – during training, or on race morning. Throughout the next eight weeks I have to be realistic that it could happen and I might need to re-evaluate my whole goal. Or maybe I just had a good day in Boston and got lucky. Maybe I’m not even in 3:14 shape right now. It’s also possible the goal of 3:05 is too aggressive for the time frame I have to work with.
Maybe, maybe, maybe. I can’t listen to the maybes anymore. That’s not me. I’m going for it anyway. Could end disastrous, but I won’t know until I try! Here’s to the next eight weeks of fun!