That Time I Kicked As(Phalt)…Again

A little more than one year ago, I ran my first marathon. When I crossed that finish line, I was not immediately sure I wanted to do another full 26.2 mile race. And then less than a week later, I wrote a post clearly defining my intentions: “Yes, I’ll Have Another.”

Well, that another came rather quickly, and this past Sunday I ran my second marathon, again at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.

I did not record this training cycle; I don’t have 16 weeks of posts to look back on as an indication of how I felt after each track session or long run. It’s not that I didn’t want to talk about it, or had a bad training. On the contrary, I felt very prepared and satisfied with how well I stuck to my training plan. I ran four times a week for the majority of the the 16 weeks; I ran fast and fatigued at track; and I actually completed those tempo runs that taunted me on last year’s training schedule. This summer I ran in heat and rain, but I also ran with great company and conversation. By the time marathon day came, I felt ready.

So ready, in fact, that I dared to set a high goal for myself: I told myself, “I’m going to try to Boston Qualify.” I told others my intent. With that goal in mind, I had to average an 8:12 min/mile pace. If you asked me months ago if I could have done that, I would have laughed. And yet, I felt like it was possible. So I went for it.

Not to make a long story short, but ultimately I did not BQ. HOWEVER, my finish time surprised me in a way that gave me optimism that a BQ is an accomplishment to come. In my second marathon, I finished at 3:41:17, a nearly 24-min PR from last year’s race. And I felt amazing.

Entering the race, I told myself I would take it easy at the beginning in order to avoid going out too fast and burning out quickly. Even with that approach, I felt like I could push myself harder. So I matched the pace of the BQ time pacer, 3:35. I stayed with him until nearly Mile 18. From there, a few walks through the water stops led to a drop in my pace, but it didn’t wear me out. Rather than slowing down when I ran, those breaks actually helped me maintain my speedy pace.

By Mile 23 or so I knew a BQ was out of reach, yet I realized I still had the opportunity to finish under my second goal: sub-3:45. With that as inspiration, I pushed myself through those final miles. I sang to myself, I remembered the great signs and enthusiasm from my friends who had come out to cheer, and I thought of my parents, waiting for a hug at the finish line.

So I ran.

And I finished.

And now I am officially a two-time marathoner.

And since I’m only 23 and I have until 34 to get a 3:35 to qualify for Boston, this is definitely not the last marathon for me. Not by a long shot.

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3 thoughts on “That Time I Kicked As(Phalt)…Again

  1. Congrats!!!!! It sounds like we both achieved our B goals which is still something to be so proud of! I’m planning on running Providence in May as my second BQ attempt. They say runners peak in their 30s, so we have a long way to go 🙂

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