This year, the Phoenix Marathon was originally going to be my goal race of my early season. My plan was to train like crazy, attempt to qualify for Boston with a finish time of under 3:05:00, and then take a short break before getting into my IMAZ training. Well, then The Captain talked me into signing up for The Arizona Marathon, which would take place 13 days before the Phoenix Marathon. I though, "Eh, I can always use the Arizona Marathon as a training run and drop out if need be." Well, that didn't happen.
In case you didn't see the post, I ended up finishing the Arizona Marathon in 3:05:23. Unfortunately, I was 23 seconds shy of qualifying for Boston. But no worries, I had just shy of two weeks to fully recover enough to try again!
We (my mother-in-law and I) arrived to the finish line at 4:45 am, and waiting in line about 5 minutes before boarding the school bus that would be taking us to the starting line. After what seemed like a very, very long drive, we arrived at the starting line. We both had the same idea of heading straight to the bathroom lines. Once that was taken care of, there were a number of those tall patio heaters that were set up to keep the runners warm. It was only about 50*F, but the extra little bit of warmth was nice for a few minutes. At about 5:45, I decided to go get in line for the bathrooms one last time. I finally got out of that line at about 6:15, which cut into my warm-up a little bit. A short jog later and I was at the starting line, stretching and waiting to start.
Just before the gun went off, a group of runners slid right in front of me, and I overheard one of them saying that he was shooting for a 3:00:00 pace, which was what I had in mind. I decided I would stalk them for the race and let them do the pacing. This was a great idea in theory, until I realized that they were moving much faster than their planned pace. Here's a look at the first 5 miles, just to give you a taste of their 3:00:00 pace:
Mile 1: 6:31
Mile 2: 6:28
Mile 3: 6:35
Mile 4: 6:30
Mile 5: 6:52
Granted, the first few miles were downhill, but still. I probably should have been smarter than to keep this pace with them. Unfortunately, I was not. In fact, I stuck with them and their pace for 13 miles. My goal average was 6:52/mile, and it wasn't until mile 16 that I slowed to that pace (not including miles 5 and 6, which were actually a pretty rough uphill climb). At mile 16, I began to slow to right around 7-7:15/mile, which I felt was alright since I was so far ahead of my goal pace. But, when I got to mile 21, I started to fall apart. Again (just like at the Arizona Marathon), I decided to walk for 30 seconds at the aid station. Then I picked it up again and made it to mile 22 and walked again for 30 seconds, only this time, when I tried to get back up to speed, my left knee did not want to cooperate. At that point, I decided to walk a bit more. I walked for maybe a minute or two when the 3:05 pacer went blowing by me. I tried for about 10 steps to go with him, but it wasn't going to happen. And once that happened, I had given up and was just going to get through the last few miles however I could.
I was able to get myself back up to a very slow jog and shuffle from aid station to aid station until I finally rounded the last corner and made my way to the last straight away. I spotted The Wife and my kids and took a little detour over to go thank them for supporting me before I limped my way over the finish line. I ended up with a 3:14:48, which isn't a bad time, but still upsetting for me. Going into this race, I was actually feeling really good. However, since I just did a 3:05:23 effort 13 days prior, I wasn't sure if I would be able to do the same effort again.
Aside from having just raced, I think I also messed up my pacing early on by coming out way too fast, and I think I also messed up my nutrition plan. In the Arizona Marathon, I ingested way fewer calories than I had planned, so for the Phoenix Marathon, I tried to ingest more calories, less often. It seems that maybe that plan did not work out too well.
And, to top everything off, this was only the second race in which I didn't set a new PR. And the last time that happened? It was January of 2009. So it's been a while since that has happened.
Aside from me being a little disappointed with my finish time, my mother-in-law did amazing! It was her first marathon EVER, and she killed it! And about 2 hours after I finished, I got to do a 1k fun run with my kids! Luckily, my daughter isn't too fast yet, so I was able to shuffle along and keep up with her while pushing my son in the stroller. And the finish line area was amazing! There was a ton of free entertainment and food for both the runners and spectators! My daughter had so much fun playing in the bounce houses and whatnot that I am considering this race again, because I know that she won't go crazy waiting for her dad to finish running!
So, unfortunately, no Boston Qualifying for me this year. It turns out that I was 23 seconds short this year, so next year I'll just have to train a little bit harder and race a lot-a-bit smarter! Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I'm going to unveil another new team that I am apart of!