Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tonight We Ride

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Tonight we ride.


As soon as the kids finish their swimming lessons we will be off to Chicago for the weekend.  The runs will be done, the training completed, the goals checked.  All that's left is the race itself…and of course the obsessing over every last detail right up until race time.

This has been a wonderful journey so far and I can't wait to write the final chapter this weekend.  What started out as an idea of "Hey, this might be cool" has turned into an an all-encompassing desire to push my body as hard as I can, right to my limits. 

My goals for the race have changed greatly over the months since I registered as well.  You could say that my first goal was simply to be able to register, as many were unable to get in this year due to massive server overload when registration opened on February 19.  I was fortunate to get signed up before the servers crashed and the organizers decided to go with a lottery for the final 10,000 or so spots.

From there my goal was "Finish"…not overly lofty, but at the time my longest race was a 10K Fun Run.  I hadn't even run a half marathon yet.  I had just started into my half marathon training and was building my distance, but at the same time I was also dealing with some nagging injuries (my own fault, adding too much distance too soon).

At the Run for Retina, my first Half Marathon

As I got myself in shape for my half marathon (I ran two of them with a week off in between) I was pleasantly surprised with how I was doing.  My times for both races were around an hour and a half, and plugging my times into race predictors told me that I should be able to pull off a time just under 3:10 in the marathon.  Interesting.  My Boston Qualifying time is 3:10…but that ain't happening.  I had a qualifying time on the books now for Chicago though, and I was locked into Corral B, a nice place to start from.

Once I had realized what I was capable of I changed my goal again…I was no longer interested in just finishing, I wanted a time to shoot for.  3:30 seemed to be realistic to me.  Being my first marathon I really didn't know what to expect, especially since I had never run further than 14 miles at that point, well short of 26.2.  With my spring race season complete I set about busting my ass with marathon training.  I continued to build my distance and I started getting in some great long runs up at the cottage.  I really enjoyed these long lonely journeys out into the countryside, but my pace took a beating as the heat and humidity got up well into the 90's.

The Soul-Killing Heat & Humidity Combo I Trained in all Summer

Looking back I see that I started into marathon training about a month earlier than I probably should have…I was ready to run Chicago on Labour Day weekend, not (Canadian) Thanksgiving Day weekend.  I had another half marathon that I was treating as a training run in early September, and holding back my pace resulted in a time less than 30 seconds off my PR and I felt like I had plenty left in the tank.  You know what?  I'm changing my goal again…I can do this in 3:20!

I got out a week later for my last 20 mile run before race day and had some awesome cooler temperatures to run in…I also had my best long run to date.  I nailed my pace and despite finishing the run with a huge hill climb I felt great at the end and ripped off my quickest miles.  More proof that my goal was within reach.  All this time people kept asking me what my goal was, if I was trying to go sub-3, qualify for Boston, etc.  I stuck to my 3:20 guns, keeping in mind that it's marathon number one and that I need to respect the distance.

Two weeks ago I set out to run Yasso 800's as my last big run before taper.  I had never run intervals in my life and I didn't have a track, but I did it anyways as best I could with what I had available.  I gave it everything I had and when I was done my average 800 was 3:02.  Three-oh-freaking-two.

yassos miles

From what I could find online, a lot of people said to add about 5 minutes to your Yasso time to be realistic…that still put me at 3:07.  Could I actually qualify for Boston?  It had always been in the back of my mind as something I would love to do, but I didn't want to make it my goal as I felt it wasn't realistic.  As a runner trapped in taper I had way too much time on my hands and crunched every number I could, and then crunched it a little more.  I found some numbers about predicting your marathon times based off of current 5K/10K/HM paces and lo and behold those resulted in times between 3:07 and 3:09.

As scary as it has been this entire training cycle to say this, I'm saying it now.  My goal this weekend is to run under 3:10 and qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Yikes…it's out there now.  It is a stretch for sure, and will be highly dependant upon the conditions on race day, but I'm in great shape and everyone says that Chicago is a fast flat course…so why not?  Why set a goal of 3:20 that isn't really a stretch when I can push myself for 3:10?  I'm going for it.  I even let this song creep into my playlist this week…

That's the goal, shipping up to Boston.  And the next chapter of this journey begins Sunday at 7:30 Central time.  I have set up my twitter feed to send out my splits at 10K/half/30K and my finish, follow me here if you are so inclined.  If all goes well, you'll see this reaction from me just after 10:30 local time.

Chicago Legends Jake and Elwood Celebrating CRMike's Marathon

Thanks to everyone that has supported me through my training…Michelle and the kids of course for dealing with me being out running for hours at a time on weekends…my friends for listening to me drone on about paces and training and diet and plenty of other things they could care less about…my Mum and Dad for being gracious enough to watch the kids for me when Michelle was working on weekends so that I could still get a good run in.  You are all appreciated.  And thanks to all of you readers who take the time to comment and offer words of advice and encouragement…you have helped push me to strive for this goal.


Anyone else have lofty goals that they are scared to tell people about?


  1. Good luck Mike! I am excited to be going there with you guys and even more excited to cheer you on! You are going to ROCK it! As for lofty goals?? You know mine right now! I want to be just like you and run a marathon!!

  2. Why am I crying?! Has much to do with how freaking proud I am of my brother! You have inspired us all with your journey. You've worked so hard and pushed yourself even further than you dreamed. I have complete confidence that you'll meet your goal this weekend. Whatever happens, be proud of your journey and this massive accomplishment! I wish I could be there on Sunday to cheer you on and share in your moment as you cross the finish line.... Please suck up the roaming fees and geeeeze us a call at the cottage to let us know how you did.

  3. Don't worry Em...I'll have my phone on - so we can text...and I also have USA minutes on my phone!

  4. You know I'll be there to run with you when your time comes for the marathon

  5. you don't need luck anymore, you just need to make sure you have someone to draft behind when it gets windy now! You'll get sub 3:10 for sure!
    Hope you enjoy Chicago!
    I had loft goals until half way through training! now I am mentally prepping for advil fuel lol

  6. You have this!!! I know that you can get your A goal - I'm looking to see you under 3:10!!!
    My lofty goal - be the first female in my 50 mile race this weekend and run under 10 hours.

  7. Sugar Coated SheridanOctober 10, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Congratulations on your accomplishments so far and good luck!! Can't wait to read all about it!!

  8. Hey, how come you never take any of my running advice? Like that time I told you that the key to improving your time is to run faster. That is sound advice my friend. Anyways, I'll be following along with your run. Good luck and I'm back in Tuesday for some disgusting Starbucks.

  9. Thanks Beth...I'll have the recap on Tuesday

  10. Great advice, thanks John. You're an inspiration as always.