Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Goals for the Mesa-PHX Marathon

Had you asked me what my goals were for the Mesa-PHX Marathon in October I would have had a very concrete answer, a very specific time goal. I would have said to best my marathon time by at least 50 seconds, to run a sub-3:30.

"Why 50 seconds?", you ask.

Well, in October I ran my first (and only) Boston Qualifying marathon time. [To qualify for the Boston Marathon, you must run a specific time requirement based on your age and gender. As a 32 year old female {which I was at the time of the St. George Marathon}, I needed to run a 3:35 marathon or faster.]

Finisher selfie from the St. George Marathon

But just because you run a qualifying time does not automatically guarantee you the ability to run the Boston Marathon - it simply gives you access to the application for registration. When registration opens, people who run a marathon time over 20 minutes faster than their required time get to register first. The following week, people you who run a marathon time over 10 minutes faster than their required time get to register next. The week after that, people you who run a marathon time over 5 minutes faster than their required time then get to register. Finally, open registration will allow anyone who ran a qualifying time to submit their time for approval.

The issue is, once the race hits its max registration it closes. That means some people who run Boston qualifying times may not be able to register or run the race since they allow the fastest runners to register first. For example, for the 2017 race, in order to be accepted, runners needed to run at least 2:09 faster than their age group's qualifying time. In 2016 the cut-off was even harder, requiring entrants to run 2:28 faster than their age group qualifying times.
Well, in October, when I ran the St. George Marathon and claimed a Boston Qualifying time as my own, I ran it in 3:30:50... Four minutes and ten seconds faster than my qualifying time. Although in past years this would have allow me a spot, I would feel much better knowing that I was getting my name in the week prior to open registration - hence the sub-3:30 goal (getting me a time over 5 minutes faster than that required). 

With that said, my body has pretty much shot that goal down every chance it got... Since October I've dealt with an angry knee (which stemmed from my hip), a bad belly, and a bum back. I'd say from October to December my running/ training was minimal at best. Although during January and February I was able to get in the mileage listed on my calendar, the speed work has NOT been there (I'm just grateful to be able to run and not want to cry every step I take). 

So, when I toe the line on Saturday for the Mesa-PHX Marathon, I plan on taking whatever the day gives me. I doubt it will be a stellar performance (especially since I have to keep in mind the fact that I'll be running the Los Angeles Marathon in three weeks, and then an Ultra relay two weeks after that), but I plan to give it my best shot.

Maybe I'll run with friends, maybe I'll try and chase down a sub-4, maybe I'll get a PR in high-fives given out... whatever the case, I plan to arrive at the starting line with a smile on my face and hopefully cross the finish line with it still there.

I can't believe Saturday will be my TENTH full marathon... Even without a concrete time goal in mind, 26.2 miles is a BEAST and it deserves respect. Although I've readjusted my goals, I'll forever be grateful each and every time I have the opportunity and ability to lace up my shoes and run - no matter what the clock says when I cross the finish line.

Have you ever had to reassess your goals?


Erica @ Erica Finds said...

Go for a PR in fun! That's what I did last year in LA and it was awesome! Wish I was going to be there to run with you! Have a blast!

Unknown said...

Ooh girl, I'm reassessing right now! I feel your pain. I moved back to Austin from Denver in September and my hubs and I lived with my parents out in the boonies until we got our own place. Then, I've been dealing with back and neck issues, lots of scans, MRIs, anesthesia, you name it. My training has been spotty in addition to getting used to the heat again (why is it so hot in February?!) and my first half of the year is 4/30. I will be sending good running vibes your way this weekend!!