I will probably provide amendments to this post about a million times between now and race day (17 days, kill me now), but I want to talk about goals. Way back when, I said "lolz I bet I can qualify for Boston this year! I'm so fast!" and made that my lofty goal. I thought I would make that my "A" goal and be totally ok with missing it, but I thought it was a realistic stretch goal.
In this metaphor, the cat is me and the water is a BQ. And the cat won't touch the water, much like I won't touch a <3:35:00 marathon (not to mention 2014's actual qualifying time, which was >1:38 below the qualifying time).
There are lots of way to make my goal estimates more realistic. Option 1: look at last year's race and aim for some reasonable improvement over that time, considering course differences. My Richmond time was 4:04:17, so to aim for a mild improvement over that, I'd go with something like 4:00. A 4 minute improvement = 10 seconds per mile. That's the difference between 9:17 and 9:09, so it's a decent jump but I can easily wrap my mind around running slightly greater than 9 minute miles. Even for 4 hours. It's not a mental leap. If I add in the huge net downhill at the beginning of Steamtown, and I might even bank a little time. I know this is mistake numero uno for screwing up a net downhill race and trashing your quads early, but I run on moderate hills all the time. It'll hurt, bad, but I'm not a total hill novice and plan on using that downhill.
It's meme day here on my blog. Bear with me, and maybe I'll reward you with a puppy gif.
Anywho. So my "C" goal, meaning the number I promise I'll absolutely be pleased with, I swear, is <4:00. It'll be a PR, and it'll be glorious. I mean, going sub-4 would be breaking a huge barrier for me.
Now to make a "B" goal, based on improvement from last year's half marathon and improved training this year. B means I'll be over the moon happy, although it's a slight stretch for me. And I arbitrarily will choose <3:50 for that. That's an 8:45 pace, which is still not a mental stretch for me, and it's only about 15 seconds/mile faster than most of my long runs. It's a 1:55 half marathon split, which is slower than my PR by 6 minutes. It's a logical, sane number. 3:50 marathoner. Sounds glorious.
I want to put a crown on this pug and name him King of my Heart.
As for an A goal? The total shot in the dark? The dream number? 3:45. I'm not giving up on the BQ someday, but this year I know it's out of reach. All the internet calculators have me around 3:38, and those assume I'm training significantly more than I actually am (>50 mpw). 3:45 is an 8:34 pace, which is still not a mental stretch for me, and it's about 30 seconds/mile faster than most of my long runs. The half marathon split is slower than my PR by 3 minutes. It's a stretch goal. It would definitely give me something to work toward in future marathons.
You made it this far? Thanks, here's a puppy with a bunny.
The bunny looks like he's only pretending to like the puppy. Bunny, everyone can see through your lies.