BQ. Number. Three.
Yet.... still no moment. No feeling of "I've made it!" It's still not enough.
Once again, there's the pride of having run another PR. I'm really happy that I have *technically* qualified again for the Boston Marathon.... but a BQ -1:03 is presumably still not good enough to meet the the inevitable cut-off time time for 2017. (This year it was 2:28. TWO FREAKING TWENTY-EIGHT.)
Have you heard this story before?
Overall, I'm really happy with how I ran at this race.The big difference this time around is that I ran strong the entire race instead of struggling to finish under 3:40. There was no bonk, no hanging on for dear life after mile 19. Quite honestly, Mother Nature decided to take a big dump on the midwest this weekend.
It pains me to even hint like I'm making excuses but I feel the need to mention that I ran this marathon in 30+ mph winds. I also feel lucky that I completed the race in time I did since it started to hail just minutes after I finished. This is literally what happened at this race in the final hour:
|I know, gross.|
It really wasn't the best conditions to go for a speedy time but I drove 3 1/2 half hours to run twenty-six 1-mile loops. There was no way I was going to drop out of this race halfway because of some wind.
|This is my running into the wind face|
My plan for the most part was to run between an 8:05 and 8:15 pace but with the course being a 1-mile loop I would hit the headwind every time around. I knew that I was going to need to ease up running into the wind and try to take advantage of the wind at my back on the other half and hopefully make up for lost speed. Here's what my pace analysis on Strava looked like:
I'd be laughing if it wasn't so utterly frustrating. Like I said before, despite the wind I still felt so strong! I was executing my plan, feeling relaxed and not stressing out too much about the unfavorable conditions- until the wind began to pick up even more. In the last 45 minutes Mother Nature decided to kick it up yet another notch and each time I went into the headwind it was like running into a wall. Adding to my frustration was that all the faster runners had to run out the outside of the mile loop, making it impossible to run the tangents and adding an extra .4 miles to the course. When I realized how many minutes this was going to add to my race, my heart sank. I've run enough marathons to know that most courses measure long on GPS devices and because of this I always budget an extra .25 miles into my race plan.... I finished with 26.6 miles. Funny enough, this is pretty much exactly the difference between me making the cutoff to Boston.
Oh hey, I got third female overall!
|I won an overall award! That never happens.|
You know, it's almost becoming comical at this point. I cherrypick a race that on paper seems to guarantee me the result that I'm shooting for and yet another obstacle gets thrown in my path. I don't know what I could have done differently honestly. If I went out faster I only would have crashed at the end. I feel like my pacing strategy as sound, my nutrition was on point and for the first time in a long time I actually tapered well (thanks vacation!) Much like the Wisconsin Marathon last year, the one thing I missed was the thing I have no control over whatsoever.
I do have to say though that aside from the weather trials and tribulations this race really impressed me. The event had that close-knit "run club" kind of vibe to it, much like the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon here in Milwaukee. The race director and organizers really had their act together and I felt encouraged and welcomed by all the volunteers and spectators. (I had a crew of ladies who cheered me on every loop that I looked forward to every time around!) I also felt like having an aid station every lap really helped me lock down my hydration and nutrition- something I've struggled with in past races.
After mile 16 I kept counting down, "10 laps until Boston, 9 laps until Boston, 8 laps until..." I really thought I had it.
I'm registered for the Oshkosh Marathon in a couple of weeks because fuck this I'm a fighter.