Friday, April 16, 2010

Closet Sandbagger?

This is a brief post to unburden myself about several recent charges that I am sandbagging about my Boston "A" goal.  Far too many friends - both real & virtual - are suggesting that I should try to break 3 hours in Boston.  One went so far as to pledge $5 per second under three hours.  That's $300 for a 2:59:00.  While it's tempting to try to be a hero, I KNOW that doing so would almost certainly result in a disastrous latter stage of the race.  As well as training has gone, and many miles as I logged, there exist no objective indicia to lead me to believe that I could sustain a 6:52/mile pace for 26.2 miles.

As I've said before, given the choice, I prefer to "enjoy" the final 10K at my first Boston, even if it means that I finish feeling like I could have run faster.  Sub-3:00 is the current goal for Chicago, which is flat, comes on the heels of summer training (i.e., when conditions around here are most favorable) and where a final death march has become a time-honored tradition for me anyway (2-for-2 there).

So, I'll truly be satisfied with anything under 3:10 at Boston, and would very much like a 10-minute PR, which would be 3:07:41.  Beyond that, I've got an idea of what a good day might bring, but I'm not declaring it publicly.  While that seems to frustrate some (which I find quite entertaining, actually), the reason is that if I announce a stretch goal, I know I will try to hit that goal no matter what, ignoring any early indications that it's not going to happen, and thus setting the stage for the very blowup I'm seeking to avoid.  If, on the other hand, I give myself a little latitude and keep that stretch goal close to the vest, I will feel far more free to adjust as needed and will likely salvage a good result.

Adding to my reticence is the fact that I still don't feel great physically: my runs have been lousy this week, and the cold I've struggled through has morphed into a nasty cough.  Add to that the emotional weight of still grieving my father's death, and I truly do not know what Monday will bring.  I'm hoping that I'm passing through a dark tunnel, and will find myself on the other side on Monday morning, buoyed by great weather (it snowed this morning, incidentally), the collective energy of other runners and spectators and the realization of a longtime dream.

When new runners ask about how to improve at the marathon distance, I preach patience and consistency about all else.  Why would I not take my own advice as I prepare for the biggest day of my running life?


1 comment:

Morrissey said...

My thoughts exactly! "When new runners ask about how to improve at the marathon distance, I preach patience and consistency about all else. "

Patience and consistency is really the way to go!