The race didn’t go according to plan but it’s a marathon, and it’s the Boston marathon so not going according to plan should be expected. Coming into this weekend my goal was to run somewhere in the 2:48 to 2:49 range and break 2:50. My training had been at 2:45 paces this season so this seemed reasonable given the physical and mental difficulty of the Boston marathon course. What I ended up running was 2:53:27, my second fastest marathon and a Boston PR by over 7 minutes. This is the best I could do on the day and I’m satisfied with it.
The race did reinforce the to me that to perform at my potential I need to be mentally committed to my goal early on in the season and have that in mind during my training, in the weeks leading up to the race and on race day. That is something I didn’t do this season and that more than anything else is why I think I didn’t manage to race at a level my training would have indicated me capable of. When this season started I said to myself if I’m in 2:45 flat marathon shape I’ll try to break 2:50 at Boston, otherwise I’ll try to run a sub 3 hour marathon and pace some team members.
I was training at 2:45 paces but mentally I just wasn’t hungry enough this season. Other things in life including work had to take priority in my mind over a command performance at Boston. Do I regret that, kind of but not really. Running is what I do for fun, it needs to be what helps me relax and if it becomes the source of stress in my life I don’t think I’d continue doing it. So the 2:53 marathon I ran at Boston two days ago is what I deserved based on what I put in and I’m happy with it.
The race started off well. Muz and I planned to hold our effort in check until we reached the Newton hills. Our goal was to average 6:25 to 6:30 minutes per mile for the first 16 miles. We were a little fast the first 3 miles but got things back in check. We avoided getting carried away like others when there were lots of people screaming, running according to our race plan.
By mile 6 my quads were sore, a similar feeling to the end of our race prep working when I’d already run 24 miles. I figured I’d just keep going at the 6:25 to 6:30 pace range and see if things got better by the Newton hills at mile 17. After the half way point Steve joined us on the course and ran 3 miles with us. The first one I was still on pace but soon was in the 6:35 minutes per mile range and knew I’d struggle from there on. Muz was just ahead of me, looked back and saw I’d dropped a bit and slowed up. He must have thought he was running too fast and I told him to keep going, he’s fine and that I need to adjust. Off he went, I had him in my sight through the hills and he continued to run strong after the hills and finished under 2:50
The original plan was to pick my effort up in the Newton hills to my 2:45 marathon MGP pace effort. I decided I’d try it even with the sore squads. You just never know in a marathon how your body will respond. I did fine on the first hill but my legs just stopped responding after that, I had no push-off. The original plan also called for pushing to Steady pace (6:10) after the Newton hills so once again I tried to surge. My surge effort put me at a 6:30 pace at mile 23 and after that if it wasn’t downhill where I could let my body just roll forward I couldn’t get any significant push-off. The final miles were at a 7:00 minute/mile pace and mentally some of the toughest miles I’ve ever run in a marathon.
In the 7 marathons I’ve run before this I never experienced what I did on Monday where my body just wouldn’t respond. The surges were an attempt by me to snap my mind and body out of the pain but it just wasn’t enough. As I said earlier a lot of this probably has to do more with my mental state leading up to this race and during it. My heart just wasn’t in it, I was going through the motions and didn’t have the right attitude to perform at peak.
The real dilemma for me is my training and racing moving forward. My goal is to break 2:45. I know I should take it easy and break 2:50 first but I’m being honest … my goal is to break 2:45 … end of story. The question I haven’t answered to myself though is do I really want it and am I going to mentally commit to making it happen. There are a lot of unknowns as far as the rest of my life through the end of the year so I can’t answer this yet. But it is something I’ll be spending quite a bit of time thinking about over the next month and a half before the team starts training for CIM. Talking about the team, I can’t say enough about the people in Team Rogue. I find myself motivated to run and perform well by the example many of they set. If I do commit to making a go at a command performance at CIM each of them will be a big part of the reason I would prioritize this over other things in life.