Friday, May 11, 2012
when i ran the long island marathon in 2009 my 3:31:14 was just shy of my goal of a bq finish. i had that same goal in mind for the 2012 edition - to bq with a 3:30 finish. in between these races boston tightened the standards, shaving 5 minutes from the 50-54 age group. i'd really miss that extra 5 minutes. but, even if i had the extra time, i would still have have missed a bq. my 3:36:56 was almost 2 minutes off the old standard, 7 minutes off the new one.
that said, i really didn't go in with the expectation that i'd run a 3:30 that morning. while i had done the distance work, i couldn't myself over to the track for any speed work in the months leading up to race. my more realistic target was in the 3:40-3:45 range. but even that goal seemed somewhat ambitious because my marathon split at the sybil ludington 50k was a 4:06 - not an overly auspicious time. so the idea of running a string of 8 minute miles seemed more daunting than it should have.
as the day turned out, i had a great first twenty miles - and a relatively lackluster second 10k. without getting too far ahead of myself, i reached 20 miles in 2:39:21 - and had 50+ minutes for the remaining 10k. a 50 minute 10k is more than doable - it's pretty much the pace do my daily training runs. but the lack of training took its toll and i took 57+ minutes to finish up. it was mildly disappointing because i had run a solid first half, and got myself to twenty miles in decent shape.
by way of comparison, in 2009 i ran 1:46 for the half marathon split. this time around it was a solid 1:41 - 5 minutes better. my 20 mile split in 2009 was 2:41, so i managed to shave 2 minutes from that split this time around. but the major difference was the final 10k - 50 minutes versus 57 minutes. in 2009 i had averaged a 7 minute pace from miles 24 through 26. this time around i my average pace for the last 5 miles didn't break the low 9 minutes! i didn't have any leg speed left to speak of.
aside from the lack of speed work, the only other item that crossed my mind during the post-mortem was the wisdom of running the full 50k two weeks before the marathon. i had planned on running the rely - only 15.5 miles instead of all 31 miles. but in the final analysis, i don't think that decision was determinative because i had enough time to recover. maybe is should have run fewer than the 24 miles in the week leading up to long island, but that too is speculative.
my gut feeling is that had i done the speed work, the last 10k would have been faster (or at least matched my prior performance and/or daily training pace). in any event, despite missing the bq, it was my fastest marathon since the 3:25 at the 2009 maine marathon (my last bq). so that brought a smile to my face. now i need to find another marathon to run before september - if i want a shot at another bq before the registration window for the 2013 race opens up!