This was the first stand-alone marathon I completed since the fall of 2011. When I first signed up for it my goal was to have a successful marathon but nothing crazy fast (for me). I just wanted to run a good race and enjoy it. After Oceanside in April I realized that I was actually running pretty close to BQ pace so maybe I should go for it. After that I trained with that goal in mind!
The race started really early, 6:00 AM, which is really good for me. I do so much better in the cooler temps so the early start and perfect cloudy/overcast weather were perfect for me. I started with the 3:43 pace group (I was shooting for 3:42 or faster) because I wanted to keep myself from going out too hard. My plan was to stick with them until 6 miles and then assess how I felt. But by mile 3 when the downhill finally started I was finding it hard to stay back with them. I let myself run my pace but I watched my HR very closely. The only numbers I was paying attention to were my mile splits and HR. As long as those numbers were good I wasn’t going to push it much harder. Original goal was just to run 3:42 but I had set my watch pacer to get me 3:40. I knew that if I ran 5+ min under my BQ time I would pretty much be guaranteed a spot in Boston. At mile 8ish I finally looked at the pacer screen on my watch and saw that I was spot on for a 3:40. After that point the goal was nothing above an 8:25 mile as long as my HR was still aerobic.
Stuart was amazing! He found me all over the course. If you want a race that your family can really see you at, this is it.
There was a bit of a hill after 15 but running up felt good for a change. Around 17-18 I saw Stuart again and got my second can of Red Bull. I followed my nutrition plan all day. Water at every aid station, Cliff Shot every 5 miles ish (alternate chocolate and mocha), and Red Bull at miles 9 and 17.
By 18 things were getting a bit tougher. My knees were getting a bit angry but I just kept an eye on my pace and HR. I knew if I just kept it up I would have my BQ by 5 minutes. By mile 21 I was starting to struggle but I knew it would be over soon. Luckily/unluckily the road surface of Ventura Ave is kind of crappy so instead of focusing on my pain and discomfort, I concentrated on the road and picking the cleanest and easiest line.
The last 3 miles were really tough. I had looked at my watch finally to see how far ahead of the pace I was. I saw I had a 1:20 lead over the pace and I was just hanging on to NOT let that get below 1:00. That was all I could focus on. It wasn’t until Mile 21 that I finally was running in my threshold HR zone. I wasn’t maxing out so that was good!
I was dying for the finish. I didn’t know exactly where it was. Once I knew I was close I really kicked it into the highest gear I could. 3:38:56!!! I am going to Boston!!!
The race has a net downhill and is very popular for local runners trying to get a BQ. What made this a benefit was there were so many people cheering in their Boston Jackets on course. It really helped keep me focused on the goal. They even have a gong that you can ring if you got your BQ.
It was a super successful race. I met every goal I set for myself. When you look at the data here, you will see how controlled my HR was and how even my pace was. I was only 10 seconds slower in the second half over the first! I owe so much of my race to my Coach Jen. She trained me perfectly to meet this goal.
I owe a ton to Stuart for the day! He was everywhere on the course taking awesome pictures and keeping everyone informed of my progress.
Boston here I come!!!