Monday, October 18, 2010

Jef says: Meet the old blog, same as the new blog


I'm back on the job, but Patty did so well in my absenceand if you were surprised by that, you didn't know Pattythat we're going to try sharing the thing. This not only will give you Patty's writing and viewpoints and (I'm speculating here, though in the sense that Jacques Cousteau speculates that it might be a little wet beneath the boat) the occasional generous sharing of whatever song is stuck in her head; it should also give you one more entry a week (we'll split the work two-by-two) while allowing me to keep up the blog without getting so far behind on other things.

It should also give you shorter sentences.

It will be something of a work in progress, but frankly, it's been that since I started it last year. So, yeah. Much the same stuff, but more of it and more of a variety.

I'm back. Meet the old blog. Same as the new blog.

I took the scenic route back, a 26.2-mile tour through Detroit and Windsor. As Patty mentioned, I raced the Free Press Marathon Sunday. It was my A-priority race for the year, which is pretty unusual since it didn't involve a bicycle in any way. But it seemed to be the way to go, given the busy, stressful summer with the late start.

I had one goal for the race: Meet the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. In my case, since I'll be between 45 and 49 for the 2011 edition (I guess 49 is "between," if you look at it broadly enough), that means 3 hours and 30 minutes. But I set up my training as if to aim for a 3:20. Given that my previous best marathon was a 3:43, that was beyond optimistic and well into hubris. But I managed the training without much trouble, and by race day was confident enough to carry a pace guide with mile-by-mile splits for both finishing times. Eight minutes per mile minimum, 7:38 per mile max.

I would spend the first few miles letting the other runners control my paceno looking at the watch, no passing people. This would put me behind my 3:30 schedule, a far better thing than going out too fast. The plan was to catch back up gradually, and I followed it pretty well. By the Windsor Tunnel at 7 miles, I'd reeled in the 3:30 pace. By the half-marathon point, I was between the two paces and feeling good. By mile 16, I was right on the 3:20 pace and still feeling good. Maintain this pace, I figured, assess the situation at mile 22 and see about kicking it up a notch and taking it home.

Right. Everybody knows marathons get mean at about 20 miles. At mile 22, I still felt good but noticed my pace had slowed by a few seconds. Okay. Maintain another mile and reassess. Three miles to go, another decision to maintain. If I could, I'd have my 3:20.

It happened quickly. Big races provide pace groups these days. For any given pace, they'll have a runner holding that pace, and also holding a sign denoting that pace. I had been just ahead of the group following the leader for the 7:38-per-mile, 3:20:00 finish pace. With maybe 2.5 miles to go, they caught me. By 2 miles to go, they were gone. Which wasn't the worst thing in the world. Barring a major meltdown (which, to be sure, 2 miles is plenty long enough to accommodate), I'd get the Boston qualifier I came for.

No kick was to be had, but no meltdown, either. I rolled in with a 3:23:49, a qualifier with plenty of cushion and a personal best by exactly 19 minutes and 1 second. And pretty much nothing left. Perfect.

I hoped to be able to go to Boston if I qualified, but after this summer, I wasn't about to do it if Patty wasn't on board. She'd put up with enough of my (let's face it) self-centered traveling. But her first words, or at least the essence of them through my fuzzy senses, were "Let's go to Boston, baby!"

And so we will.

You'll hear about it from two perspectives now. Enjoy.


Jacqueline Haney said...

I hope you'll come to Boston early enough or stay afterwards so Mark and I can meet up with you for lunch or dinner.


Tim R said...

Thanks for you race report. I am at a whole new level of inspired now. Going from 3:43 to 3:23; wow! Boston seemed so out of reach for me. To hear that you have done it makes me want to try again to qualify.

Thanks Jef (and Patty too).

Ironjen said...

Great account of the race! Congrats on Boston!! Hope you got in, since it closed in 8 hours!

Jim Smith II said...

Congrats on the Boston Q Jef! My marathon goal is much simpler - Don't die...

Also thrilled to hear that you and Patty will be sharing the blogging duties. While I've missed your "voice" I really enjoyed reading her's.

Sue said...

Hope you got into Boston given the quick filling of the race! It would seem that qualifying has nothing on actually entering....

Anonymous said...

Jef, you are a lucky man!

Mike in NC said...

Congratulations Jef! Good luck in Boston and I look forward to reading the blogs and strips in the time between. I am getting ready for my first 1/2 ironman (though only the aqua-bike this time) and hope to meet my goals as you met yours.

Hal said...

Great job Jef! Congratulations on qualifying and actually getting in. Love Frazz and didn't realize you had a blog too. Loved chatting with you at Musselman, even during the races. My claim to fame, Brightroom picture of us coming up through Geneva near wall of Frazz. That was the last I saw of you on that really warm run as you surged ahead. ;-)

Blessings, Hal

Hal said...

Great job Jef! Congratulations on qualifying and actually registering for Boston. Really enjoyed chatting with you at the Musselman wall of Frazz, and even during the races. My only claim to fame is the Brightroom pictures of us coming up through Geneva near the wall as you surged ahead on a very warm run. Best wishes on your continued training.

Blessings, Hal

Tim R said...

Anonymous said "Jef, you are a lucky man"

Thanks for the link. Changes to the Boston qualifying times/selection process would be big (not big media) running news. I hope I don't miss hearing about changes between now and 2012.