Back in December I posted about my second marathon in Tucson trying to
qualify to Boston, but unfortunately I ran over 2 minutes too slow. I
received very nice encouraging emails from several people (Eric Kortman,
Hawk, PBassey, Pascal, Timothy Carson,Harrison and Paul Halford). I just
finished running the Austin marathon, and I thought I would tell how it
Strangely I was not e***d or nervous about this marathon. I had
averaged about 30-40 miles in the last two months since the Tucson
marathon. I had only ran three long runs (14, 18, 22 miles). The rest of
my runs were short but high intensity workouts.
Saturday in Austin was raining (pouring). I don't mind running in the
rain, but that was not a normal rain. I was hoping for a dry start. If
it rains during the race, so be it. Sunday I woke up and the sky was
clouded but no rain. I thought that was a good sign. The starting line
was less than 100 yards from my hotel. So I left my room 20 minutes
before the starting time. I had a short warm up, and position myself in
the starting line. I looked for the 3:10 pacing group (at the expo I
found out that there were going to be pacing groups). When I found them
I asked them if they were planning to start at a 7:15 pace right away-
I was told yes. My plan was to start at a 7:45 pace for the first mile,
drop to 7:30 in the second mile, and keep a steady 7:15 pace for the
first half. So I decided not to start with them. I thought I could catch
them later in the race-after all this is a marathon. I started slow. It
took some time to get moving at the starting line. There were about 5000
runners or so. I ran my first mile calm and slowed down when I noticed
that I was picking up the pace. First mile marker came and my split was
8:59 min/mile. Here we go again I thought (in Tucson I had ran the first
5 miles averaging 8:30 min/mile, and because of starting so slow I
missed qualifying to Boston by about 2 minutes). I was already 2 minutes
behind. I picked up the pace and hit the second mile in 6:42- too fast.
Can't I just run a steady pace? So I slowed down to run the next mile in
8:12. Wow, another slow mile. I decided to just run and see what
happens. The next mile was 6:56- much better. For the next 6 miles I
averaged a 6:45 pace (fastest mile 6:20). By mile 10 I was right in
schedule, and I had caught up with the 3:10 pacing group. I tried to
stay with them, but they were running too slow. Oh well, I picked up the
pace and I left them (I never found out if they finished in 3:10).
I caught up with a guy who was running the half-marathon relay. His goal
was to run 7:10 min/mile. We talked and I let him pace me to the
half-way point. Before I knew it we were at the half-marathon point. He
kicked it the last 1/4 mile. In the next quarter mile I met two guys.
One of them was a 2:30s marathoner, and was pacing his friend to a 3:10
marathon. So I let them pace me for the next 4-5 miles. We averaged
about 7:10 pace with a few miles in the 6:40-6:50 range. When we reached
miles 17-18 we could hear the finishing cheers across the river. A
little discouraging to hear them cheer when we knew we had about 8 more
miles to go. So we kept running, what other option do we have? I
realized that mile 18 was ran at a 7:30 pace. I got a little concern. I
knew we were in a 3:10 pace, but I wanted to give myself some cushion in
case I hit the wall later on. So I said good-bye and picked up the pace.
I ran the next mile alone in 6:52. Finally 20 miles were gone and I had
six more to go. At mile 20 I was still in schedule for a 3:10 finishing
time. I tried to pick up the pace but I did not that much energy left.
I guess those early 6:30 miles were beginning to be felt. I kept my head
up and told myself I am not going to lose it in the last 10k. I am in
schedule and I will keep it that way.
At about mile 22-23 I had a cup of powerade and I felt nauseas. I tried
to ignore it but I couldn't. I started to throw up all the liquid and
goo I had consumed in the last 10 miles. Now I was concerned, since
throwing up means dehydration. I still had 3-4 miles to go. I did not
stop or slow down to throw up. Luckily nobody was behind me. I felt a
little lighter after this and kept my pace at 7:13. The last three miles
were tough, but I had a goal and it was within my reach. I kept pressing
ahead. At about Mile 24 I heard familiar voices. Those two guys that I
had left behind at mile 18 were catching up. I guess they were not that
much behind me. I tried to get a gap between them and I. I kept pressing
ahead but I could still feel them behind. At about mile 25 they caught
up with me, and we ran for a few yards together. They started to pull
away and I could not keep up the pace. Finally I hit mile 26 and started
my kick. At this point I knew that I was a Boston qualifier. I finished
in 3:08:54 (official time 3:09:01). Those two guys beat me by about 30
seconds. When I finally saw the finish line and the clock I knew I had
done it. I had the biggest smile in my face and all my fatigue and pain
It had taken me 2 tries to qualify to Boston, and I was thrilled to have
made it. I had ran the Tucson marathon back in December in 3:13, and two
months later I had run 4 minutes faster. I knew that perseverance and
hard work pay off, but nothing is a sure thing. Lots of things can
happen in 26.2 miles. Several times during training I had asked myself,
why do you do this to my body? This is why. Boston!
Now I have 2 months to recover for Boston. I have already sent my
application and gotten my plane tickets. I plan to rest for 10-15 days.
In March I will start running slowly and build up to a long run of 18
miles or so. I am planning to do some hill repeats to handle the hills
at Boston, and of course keep the track workouts and fartleck.
I feel I have accomplished one of my toughest goals. It feels great.
My body is recovering well. My legs are a little tender, but what do I
expect after 26 miles of pounding, but I don't feel any aches or knee
problems. Next time I need to remember to put Band-Aid in my ***s. My
left *** bled and stained my favorite running shirt. Small price to