The Erie Marathon was on September 9th. This is a day I will not forget. Family and friends were there to cheer me on as I attempted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I cannot thank my family and friends enough for their efforts to get up so early in the morning and drive to Erie, PA to see me run. I am so glad they were there to share this special day.
This year I consistently attended Josie’s stability ball class and lifted weights. I firmly believe this helped my training and racing. My upper body did not get fatigued during long runs. I also consumed more protein using protein powder. Over the winter I worked on changing my stride to be more efficient. I went from landing on my heel to landing mid-foot. As I would find out this change not only made my stride more efficient, but was much easier on my joints. Even at the height of my marathon training, I had negligible soreness in my ankles, knees and hips.
Boston. Say this word to any distance runner and they will know exactly what it means. The Boston Marathon is not just another race. Besides the Olympic Trials and the Olympic marathons, Boston is the only major American marathon that requires a qualifying time. For most marathoners just qualifying is an achievement itself. For me this is a BIG achievement.
The idea of running a marathon to qualify for Boston started this spring after running two half marathons as part of my goal to run 25 half marathons in 25 states. I almost broke 90 minutes at the Martian half marathon in Dearborn , Michigan. I entered my Martian half marathon time into the McMillan running calculator and it returned an estimate of 3:11 for the marathon. At that moment I realized with grace from the Lord and hard training, I could qualify for Boston.
I followed Hal Higdons Advanced I marathon training plan. The plan included speedwork/hill training intervals (more than I have ever run before), paced runs (running at marathon pace) and several long runs of 19 miles or more. My peak mileage was in the 50-55 mile per week range. There were times I was fatigued, but this was planned. I included as much rest on the weekends as possible.
Overall, the training plan worked for me. There were times when I was very tired and then an easier week was on the schedule. The easier week always seemed to happen at the right time. Hal Hidgon knows running!
It was a rainy and dreary day. It did not matter to me because I had trained all summer for this race and rain was not going to stop me from achieving my goal.
To qualify for Boston I had to run a pace of 7:28/per mile or less (3:15:59 for my age group). I had a plan for the race. I knew if followed the plan, I had a shot at qualifying.
1 – Do not go out too fast – I was able to keep a consistent pace early in the race and did not go out too fast
2 – Run the first half of the race in 1:38 – I was very close. My official half marathon (13.1 miles) split was 1:38:22
3 – Run the second half of the race faster than the first half (negative split)- I ran the first half in 1:38 and the second half in 1:35. I ran the last 10K (6.2 miles) of the race in 44:37 (7:11/per mile).
I met my plan and finished in a Boston qualifying time of 3:13:30. The mile splits below tell the story. Photos from the race can be viewed here.
I cannot wait to run the 112th Boston Marathon on April 21, 2008.