As of the past week I have been training with Matt, my coach, for a year.
All of my race times have improved significantly. In a year’s time I’ve knocked off more than a minute in every distance I’ve raced: 5, 8k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. I loved running hard and fast last summer, especially when it took me to the age group leaderboard or pretty close. I’m also sure that this training paid off when it came time for the marathon because I’ve PR’d in both marathons I’ve run and dropped 20 minutes from my San Francisco PR of 2013 and I plan on dropping 9 more. (A few seconds more than 4 minutes would get me a BQ but I want a bit more of a cushion but more on that in a moment.)
When Matt asked about my goals for the summer I told him the following.
1. Run a smarter and faster 5k at the Covenant Race for Adoption 5k on May 9th. I pretty much died on the second half uphill last year.
2. PR at the Sunrise 8k on June 14th and see how close to the top of my age group and/or the podium I can get.
3. PR and age group place in my new age group (30-34…eek!) at Red, White and Blue Shoes 5k on my birthday, July 4th. I also want to go sub 21 here. Yikes!
4. PR and win the Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k since it’s a smaller race and I was 5th woman last year not even racing it. When I did both of those things at the TR Earth Day Run 10k a week ago I’ve modified this goal. I still want to win but I also think I’ll aim for a sub 44 (or just above) and a well-executed race. The weather should be better this time so I can stick around for the awards.
That leaves the marathon in the fall.
As I stated at the beginning of the year, my big goal for 2015 is a BQ. While I want those other goals I just mentioned, they are secondary to the BQ chase. I pursue them because I know they will help me get to Boston.
I have only four minutes to shave off. I’m so close I can taste it. That means that this fall marathon needed to be run on a flat, fast course.
Up until Marathon Monday I planned to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. (I still want to run this some day because the course and race look awesome.) This marathon fulfilled my criteria and crossed another state off the list. (Yes, I also want to run a marathon in every state.)
Then I saw a tweet (on Marathon Monday) from another runner about registering for Chicago. I thought for sure that the lottery/time-qualified guaranteed entry period had ended. Nope. I had that afternoon and evening to decide between the two before the window closed at noon central time the next day.
Talk about a difficult decision. Both would work really well. Both are on my 50 states bucket list. Chicago costs more but holds slightly more appeal since it’s one of the Marathon Majors and one of the biggest marathons in the world.
Two other things factored into my decision. One, I’m tentatively running the Dublin Marathon next fall so I wouldn’t be able to run Chicago until 2017 at the earliest if I didn’t run this year. Two, I could get a guaranteed entry with my Rome time. How could I turn that down?
I submitted my entry that night with three different proofs of my time, just in case. I woke up the next morning to an acceptance email. Woohoo! $185 later (ouch) and I’m registered for the Chicago Marathon.
My plan for the next few months (aside from training of course) is to study that course and race like nobody’s business. That BQ is mine.