It was pointed out to me that just because some algorithm made to predict times says that I can run a 3:06, I should not assume a 3:05 is a good goal. That is all too true. Lest I appear too greedy, let me assure you all that 3:05 is NOT the goal for this marathon. 3:03 is! Why you ask? Because it's a 6:59 pace, of course.
Obviously, like all marathoners, I have a range of goals. However, I can assure you that "just to finish" is not among them. Really, "just to finish" was the minimum acceptable goal even in my first, under-prepared marathon. I'm competitive. Unfortunately, from a data gathering perspective, I bombed my last real distance race, and although I've totally moved on from that, it's somewhat disconcerting to have not had a chance to do a real live-race fitness test at an endurance distance. So to date the goals have not really developed beyond the tentative stage they were in way back on the first day of this training cycle, June 27, to wit:
The tenative goal is to hit about 3:05 for the race, beat all but about 250 people in the field, and then have a grand time in Hopkinton, Mass. in April.So, this 3:05 isn't something that I've just pulled out of an algorithm. However, until I actually, really race a race (which will happen October 1 at Grete's Gallop) I won't really know how good this or any other goal is. On the other hand, that the predicted equivalent of my 5 mile time -- quite fatigued, in heat and humidity, on a hilly difficult course -- is 3:06 makes me feel good for a marathon for which I'll be fresh, on a very flat course that I'm familiar with, after 10 more weeks of fitness gains. The only real potential hang ups are injury or weather, but if Jesus really does truly love me, the high on October 29 will be 62F.
Just to put things on the table, here's the breakdown of how I'd like the MCM to shake out:
- C: 3:22 -- my time in my first marathon. Since this was on an average weekly mileage of 20 with a peak of 30, and I'm now averaging 43 with a peak (so far) of 55, I'd consider only getting 3:22 an unmitigated disaster. Really, since MCM is an easier course the the Pig and I've done so much work, anything slower than about 3:15 I'd lump into this category too. This would be worse than running "just to finish." Unless it was due to weather or something dire -- like a broken limb -- I'd seriously consider a new hobby.
- B: 3:10 -- My required time for Boston. Really the minimum acceptable goal.
- B+: 3:05 -- Doable. Will be a challenge, but reachable.
- A-: 3:03 -- Even more challenging. 6:59/mile. I'm not even sure if this is doable yet. Grete will tell me.
- A: 2:59:59 -- This would require a tail wind, and a tectonic shift to make the DC course no longer flat, but a net downhill, and a pack of rabid dogs chasing me during the last 2 miles. Might also require a hand from the Marines.
Tuesday: 6.1 miles - 47:57 (7:52/mile)
Wednesday: 14.8 miles - 1:58:06 (7:59/mile)