It has been just over a month since Longhorn and I am in the thick of Marathon training. The last three weeks I have averaged 31.7 miles per week and I am track to running 42 miles this week. Getting up really early is a drag, but for as much as I hate the loss of daylight savings because it is so dark when I get home, I love that my morning runs don't stay too dark for too long.
All of this training gives me lots of time to think about my goals for this marathon. First and foremost, the number one goal that I have when I enter any race (or start anything for that matter) is to finish. With that said, I have "just" finished two marathons already. I didn't give the distance the respect it deserved and I struggled through the last quarter of both races and ended up with times of 5:55:12 (Austin) and 5:23:09 (Maui).
See, I used to find the concept of "going long" (running long distances) to race long ridiculous. Seriously, why would anyone run 20 some off miles to run 26.2 miles? Well, that was my "just survive" mentality. I have learned to race long, you have to go long on a regular basis.
Now, there is a lot of debate in the running community on how to define long, but I define it as anything greater than 10 miles with at least several 15-20 miles runs along the way. It is all about muscle memory and teaching your body to endure. So, what does this all mean for me and my Houston Marathon goal time?
Well, based on my training I should be able to break the 4:30:00 marathon mark. If you recall I mentioned Oprah in a previous post - she ran the Marine Corp Marathon in 1994 is 4:29:20. I have to beat Oprah!
Here is a cool link that lists celebrity /athlete / political figures marathon times:
So, Goal #1 - to finish
Goal #2 - beat Oprah
Goal #3 - beat P Diddy, let's face it -- if the man can drink and party all the time and run a sub-4:15 marathon, I should be able to as well!
My ultimate goal (dream race, perfect conditions, etc.) would be to break 4 hours -- heck, Sarah Palin did it in 2005, but that would mean maintaining a 9:10 min/mile pace. I can do that for mid-distance runs, but my longer runs have been more in the 9:15 - 9:30 range.
So, there you have it ... my marathon goals. Note for the record that this goal is for the January stand alone marathon -- I am sure my Florida Ironman Marathon will be quite a bit slower due to cumulative fatigue.