I signed up for the Houston Marathon. January 17, 2016. It will be marathon #19 (or 21, depending on whether you count the 26.2 miles after the 144.4 preceding miles at IMFL and IMLP). It is a goal race. (No. I am not able to do this "just for fun.") A big goal. I want to qualify for Boston. (Note that I waited until I aged into a qualifying time that seemed more realistic.) 4 hours. Flat. I probably need to run under 4 hours to make the cut.
I might actually have to run faster than a 24/25-year old me who ran just under 4 hours at Marine Corps Marathon (either 1988 or 1989...I can't remember. And, yes. I know that's one of the signs.)
Not many details of that particular marathon. So long ago. I had run the Shamrock Marathon that same year (I think). Also just under 4 hours. All I remember about training leading up to MCM was a lot of very long tempo runs. About 2-3 weeks earlier, I ran a half marathon on a hilly course in my fastest time ever. I vaguely recall hitting the halfway point of the marathon somewhat faster and thinking, "uh oh." And I sort of remember that the last 10k of that marathon was exceedingly long. And painful.
Luckily, I am not undertaking this journey solo. I will have a training partner. She is younger. Fresher. Faster. She doesn't quite know it yet, but she is in charge of making me run like I am 25 again.
It won't be easy. My last standalone marathon was in 2012. I had walking pneumonia. That excruciating 4:52 doesn't count. My most "recent" fastest marathon was a 4:11. Ten years ago. The others (unless I had pneumonia or was running with someone else as a pacer), have been in the 4:20 range. I have my work cut out for me. Even the trusty McMillan Calculator has me only at 3:55 when I factor in my fastest half marathon in the last 5 years, but a 4:06 using my fastest half marathon this year.
Of course, I can't keep it simple and just focus on marathon training. I have committed to training for a half ironman in October. Which will leave me about 14 weeks to run myself into BQ marathon shape. Not ideal. But, heck. When is marathon training ever ideal?
How cool would it be, though, if I could run as fast or faster than I did 26 years ago?
Right now, I am probably a good 2 or 3 miles behind that young lady. But I will dog her footsteps, run into her shadow, and keep going until I clip her heels and breeze on by.
If I manage that...well, it's champagne for everyone!