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Decisions, Decisions…


The Philly Marathon is in 10 days, and I’m at an utter loss when it comes to race goals.

My dilemma is this: When I registered for the race, I had two potential goals in mind, either a BQ or a fun, no-pressure morning with friends.

I threw away all thoughts of a BQ a few months ago and in recent weeks decided to run it with a good friend who’s trying to (and should comfortably) break four hours.

But here’s the thing.

I’m actually feeling far better prepared now than I anticipated being.  So part of me feels like running with my friend and coming in under 4:00.  Another part of me feels like seeing how fast I may be able to go after a great season of adventure racing training, which could mean running with a different friend who’s shooting for a 3:45, a PR for me by several minutes.  And all of me wants to run with a buddy instead of traversing the 26.2 miles all by my lonesome.

All day today, I went back and forth between these two options.  And then this evening, Brent offered up a third…

“You don’t care about PR-ing for the sake of PR-ing,” he said accurately.  “Your reason to push hard would be to shoot for a BQ.”

“Yeah,” I responded, “but I haven’t trained for a 3:35 and I don’t think I’d have that in me.”

“Well, you won’t know unless you try… And if you don’t want to try for Boston, why shoot for a PR you don’t really care about?”

An interesting point.

And now I’m even more unsure.

I really think a 3:35 is out of reach, but at the same time, what have I got to lose?  If it feels too fast, I can always pull back, right?  Of course, then I lose the chance to run with friends, since I don’t know anyone going for a 3:35.  (Anyone gunning for a 1:45-47 half?)

Or maybe I should just forget about it and run with my friend to her first sub-4:00 marathon…

And then there’s always the middle-ground PR that I don’t particularly care about but would probably feel good.



18 responses to “Decisions, Decisions…

  1. RunToTheFinish November 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    oh.. a sub 4…that’s my ultimate goal, but I don’t think I can do it in philly or i would push for that option and make it a fun little group.

    How important is a BQ to you? And if you don’t get it trying this time will you want to try again?

  2. Laurie November 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    For me, I know I’d need more miles on my legs, particularly speed miles, before I shoot for a 3:35. Not even a thought in the back of my mind right now.
    But, if you want to shoot for a 3:45, I know a cool kid who might be able to pull that off with you.

  3. Kate November 10, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Oh, man, I’m no help at all. That BQ chance would look like fun to me…in the crazy mixed up world where kicking your own butt qualifies as “fun”. At the same time, my marathon was 1,000 times better because I was with my brother. If you run with your friend are you going to regret not going for it?

  4. Natalie November 10, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    That’s a tough one but I say, if you’re feeling pretty good about it and comfortable, you should see what you can do!

  5. Jill November 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I sort of believe that one day I don’t want to be sitting in my rocker as my kids spoon feed me applesauce and not have any regrets or “what if’s” about my racing. There are races to just run for fun or training but if you’re feeling good, then I think you should give the race your all!

  6. Johann November 11, 2011 at 5:03 am

    All very fast goals anyway! I would just see how I feel on the day and go for the fastest goal. Falling back to achieve the others will still be good. My marathon PR is 3:48. I still need to see if I can get sub 3:45 one day. But that would mean giving up ultras for some time and I don’t like that idea.
    Guess what…I’m getting married on 14 Jan and the whole dress story will do its full circle. Have a great weekend!

  7. kari @ Running Ricig November 11, 2011 at 7:59 am

    You know my thoughts. Basically “run with me!” I don’t want to run that far alone either!

  8. Denise November 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    no i’m unsure!!! i am running the half but not sure yet what i’m going to do. i would like to shoot for sub 1:40 but i’m not positive. need to stay healthy for reggae right afterwards.

    personally, i would go for the BQ only if i felt ready and prepared. i say that b/c i wouldn’t want it to turn ugly out there, not be able to let it go that it wasn’t my day, and have it end up being a miserable experience.

  9. Laurie November 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    P.S. I agree with Denise. Even though I don’t know her. I went for a BQ feeling very, very prepared and confident. Granted, that came with high expexcations that I’d meet that goal but, for me, it was the confidence that I had trained toward that time that got me there.

  10. Bill November 12, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I have $5 that says you and Laurie can run a 3:35. Go for it!

    • Bill November 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

      I figured it out…run negative splits. Start with an 8:22 pace or 3:39:12 marathon. Then at mile 10 (1:23:40 on pace) when you are feeling good and warmed up, increase pace by 10 seconds per mile–8:12 (Boston qualifying pace)–for miles 11-18 (2:29:16 at mile marker 18–2 min 20 seconds off BQ) Then run at an 8:03 pace for the last 8 miles. No problem. If you are not feeling it at mile 10 back off and enjoy your day. If you are feeling it–Boston Bound. Now convince Laurie do it and you will have a friend.

  11. Elise November 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I like Bill’s method.

    But for me, I would say see how the first few miles feel at a BQ potential pace. If you think i you can achieve it, then go for it, otherwise, drop back and just finish and/or slow down enough to find friends — because at that point, who really cares?!

  12. lauriestewart77@yahoo.com November 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Who the hell is this Bill guy and what is he thinking?

  13. Sarah S @RunningOnWords November 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I guess I’m wondering if your friend would be upset if you didn’t run with her? If not, I think you should go for the BQ! Better to try and possibly fail than to regret it. Good luck!

  14. Black Knight November 14, 2011 at 3:56 am

    In my opinion the marathon is a too long distance to run with another person. You have to focus on your pace, slowing down when you need and pushing when you have the right feeling.
    However during a marathon you will never run alone……

  15. Kara November 14, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Make Kari (Running Ricig) run with you. She should be able to BQ. 🙂

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