Tuesday, March 1, 2016

EUGENE WEEK 8 OF 17: My Goals for the Eugene Marathon

I'm still over two months out from the Eugene Marathon, but that's close enough to start thinking about my goals.

Obviously I'm still in the process of ramping up mileage, which pretty much by definition means mileage is not *currently* ramped up, which, combined with the fact that I did almost zero running between August and January, means I can't reasonably expect to have anywhere near a PR race.

BUT! I am trying really hard not to let that push me into the "Eh, just run to finish & do whatever" zone. I did that at NVM last year and I think it was something I needed to do at the time, but it's not what I want to do this year at Eugene.

Instead, I am trying hard to do a mental thing I am really terrible at, which is 1) admitting to myself that my absolute best possible perfect-day performance is going to be significantly slower than I'd like, and 2) committing to going after whatever that best possible time is anyway. I want to race hard and run as fast as I possibly can, knowing that "as fast as I possibly can" is going to feel disappointingly slow.

Eesh. You guys. Super hard for me.

How I do at the Oakland Half in a few weeks will give me a better sense of what I can reasonably expect in Eugene, but right now I'm kind of thinking that if I run a sub-3:50, I'll have to call that a good day.

For some context, here's how my past marathons have gone:

  • CIM 12/2011 -- 3:47. In pretty good shape, but was sick leading up to the race & ran most of it with an asthma attack.
  • CIM 12/2012 -- 3:52ish??? No one really knows because this was the year of the crazy typhoon & some of the starting mats shorted out & a bunch of people (including me) didn't get chip times as a result. This was a disappointing year because I'd spent the rest of 2012 training pretty hard for me and setting PR after PR, so it sucked to run most of this race in pouring rain & 20 mph headwinds & not even get a chip time.
  • Mountains to Beach 5/2013 -- 3:36. In really good shape, I think, because I was already building on so much consistent training. Disappointing because 1) it was a HOT day and 2) I tore my hip flexor somewhere in the last 4-5 miles.
  • Napa Valley 3/2015 -- 3:52. I ran this race just for the distance after about six months of almost nothing but a ton of easy base training. I ran all but the last few miles at a super comfortable la-la pace and it felt, if you can believe it, super easy. (I have always wondered what would have happened in this race if I'd actually tried to run fast.)

So, yeah. I definitely will not have anything near approaching the aerobic base I went into NVM with last year, so it will be interesting to see if really trying my best with the training I'll have will be enough to get under 3:50. If I can pull a sub-3:47 and (bizarrely) my second fastest marathon ever, I'll be super pleased, but I think the odds of anything faster than that are frighteningly slim.

And that's okay.

(Really; I'm just going to keep telling myself that. It's okay.)

After that, I'm hoping to spend the summer doing nothing but a ton of super easy miles in an effort to get my aerobic base at least closer to what it was like going into NVM, and then try to train pretty seriously through the fall for CIM in December. If all goes to plan (and I can manage to not injure myself), I think that would position me pretty well to have an awesome, fast race in Sacramento. And that would really just make my entire year.


Honestly I was kind of a mess this week, but at least still managed to hit my mileage goal of 33-34 miles.

Some Numbers:

    * 34 miles (14 easy, 4 tempo, 16 long)
    * 1:00:00 strength work
    * 50:00 stretch & roll

Monday: work/travel

Tuesday: work/travel/turn 35 alone at the Hampton Inn

Wednesday: a.m. strength work / afternoon 2 warm up, 4 @ 7:40, 2 cool down / p.m. karate. This run sucked, partly because I'd done something really stupid and trashed my quads at the gym that morning after doing no squats for 1.5 weeks. Still don't regret doing the run. Did some karate at karate but also spent a good half hour, um, "coaching" from the ground where I was stretching & rolling (which I really needed).

Thursday: Nothing. This day sucked (except for getting to spend the evening hanging out with wonderful friends) and I felt awful and depressed about nearly everything. That is all.

Friday: 5 easy. I'd been planning to do my track workout this day, but my quads still felt like hamburger meat and I knew 10 miles of 200m repeats/other stuff was probably just not a good idea. On the upside, the 5 easy miles felt FABULOUS and I legit had to discipline myself not to go further. (Still trying to keep the weekly mileage in check.)

Saturday: 5 easy. Since it didn't work out Friday, I thought about going to the track Saturday, but then thought I should probably prioritize Sunday's long run. (Back-to-back track workouts & long runs tend to not play well together & also get me yelled at by coaches.) Still, see above note re: feeling awesome & as if I could have run a million miles.

Sunday: 16 long. This run was far enough to get out to the Land's End Trail head & even a good 1/2-3/4 mile into it before turning around. I haven't run out that way in a long time & kind of forgot how gorgeous the scenery is.

Still never gets old.

The run itself felt a little harder than last week, which I guess makes sense considering it's my longest run post-injury at the end of my highest mileage week post-injury, and I did a little running on Saturday, which I don't normally do. By 13-14ish, I was definitely ready to be done! Still, it felt good overall (besides my stupid left heel pain, which is still hanging around. Grrrrr.) Will be interesting to see how next week's 18-19 feels.


  1. Boy, do I feel you! I was just in your situation: my first marathon back after four years. I worked too hard to just phone it in, but I knew that I had to seriously dial back. Result: a very medium time for me, but a lot of hope that I can get faster eventually! I hope this race is a big confidence-builder for you.

    1. Thanks! The way I figure, I dropped 11 minutes in 1.5 years, so if I can run around my 1st marathon time in May, hopefully I can get back to ~3:35ish in less than 2 years. :)

  2. I think you and I being on the comeback road are in slightly similar positions. Except I am AWESOME at running marathons just for fun and can easily aim for a slower time. I'm sort of looking at the the next few months as base building and am hoping to layer on the speed in May. I think Eugene will be nice to get back in the marathon pain-cave and push a bit and as you say set you up for the race you want in December.