Monday, June 19, 2023


The short version of my Grandma’s Marathon report is that I ran 3:21:21 and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

The long version is that I have mixed emotions regarding this race. If you had told me my finish time a year ago, after running 3:48, I’d have been pretty ecstatic. But after putting in a ton of work and seeing lots of progress, I honestly thought 3:20 would be rather “easy” – at least as far as marathons go. Yeah, I get it, the difference between 3:20 and 3:21:21 is rather small in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not zero. If my BQ had been 3:20 this would have been a huge let down. On the other hand, if I rank my marathons based on age-grading, this is slightly my best marathon ever. Of course, I have to take that with a grain of salt due to all the advances in shoe technology in recent years.

Just based on effort and overall feel, this was my best marathon since June 2014. I ran 3:27 in 2016, dropped out of TCM in 2017, then focused on ultras through 2019, and then we had covid, followed by the aforementioned result last year.

Here are some observations – they are not excuses;

1) The entire week leading up to the race my stomach did not feel well. I went to a graduation party, so maybe I ate something there that didn’t agree with me. In any case, my stomach was rolling. Monday – Wednesday were the worst, with Thursday – Saturday being slightly better.

2) Wednesday night I went to a concert where I had to stand for 3 hours. I knew this going in and really contemplated buying a ticket. But I really wanted to see Tyler Childers, so I pulled the trigger. I don’t regret it.

3) During the race I was relying on the Average Pace feature of my watch and monitoring for 7:38 for 3:20 pace. However, I didn’t account for having to run further than 26.2 due to not being able to run the exact shortest route possible. Even with running the tangents to the best of my ability, I ended up running 26.40 miles. My watch said I ran 7:37 pace – and that I even had a new marathon PR of 3:19:37. But running the extra .20 was equal to about 4 seconds per mile.

4) Typically, pacing is a strength of mine. I think it still is, but I also think that some of that skill deteriorated while I was running trails. I bring this up because my first 10K was at 7:26 pace, then I slowed to 7:44 pace through the half, before dropping down to 7:38 pace until mile 20. The last 10K were at 7:58 pace. Normally, I wouldn’t slow down and then speed up.

5) One more comment on pacing is that I probably could have benefited from running 5-10 seconds per mile slower in that first 10K. One “problem” was I was just trying to run by feel, so I wasn’t checking my splits at every mile. I saw 7:35 at mile 1 and thought that was perfect, but then didn’t notice miles 2 and 3 where 7:23 and 7:19. This is all pretty minor though because I hit 10 miles right at 7:30 pace. Plus, a friend in my age group, who I beat by 13 seconds in my last 5K, went out at 7:20 pace and was able to hang on for a sub-3:17 – right where I wanted to be.

6) My plan was to make a concerted effort to run a strong last 10K. That started well with splits of 7:30 and 7:38 for miles 21 and 22. Lemon Drop hill is during mile 23, so even that 7:53 wasn’t too bad. After that hill there are some nice gradual downhill sections, but I just didn’t take advantage of them because my quads were fried. I ended up running, 7:55, 7:48 and 7:57 for the last 3 miles. There had to been nearly 1-minute slipping away just in those 3 miles.

While there’s some disappointment, I know it’s minor. Overall, I’m happy with these results, but I also feel like there’s a lot more to come.

Quote of the day;

“Trial often exhibits truly wonderful results.” – Chinese Proverb

Monday, June 05, 2023


As of today, I’m 13 days from Grandma’s and feeling fit and confident. I’m probably over-analyzing the numbers, but I still feel very good about going after 7:30 pace, which is right around 3:17. Of course, if that feels too quick on June 17th and 7:40 pace feels better, that’ll still get me in at 3:20-3:21, which was my original ‘A’ goal when I started this training cycle. 

A few notes on my recent training;

I jumped in a 5K race on Memorial Day and was very pleased to run 20:21. I never thought I’d sniff sub-20 again and this race left me feeling like that’s possible.

It feels like there was a flick of a switch and we went from nice spring weather to rather hot and humid. One thing I’ve always felt is that poor weather conditions are less of a concern the fitter you are. But still, I’ve been doing some of my training in the middle of the day to get used to the heat.

Last Saturday my schedule called for my last long run, a 19-mile tune-up with 16 miles at MP. That seemed very aggressive to me considering that I was only 2 weeks out from my race. I looked back at Scott Fauble’s training, and he did a similar workout, but it was 4 weeks before his race. Then 2 weeks later he ran 8 miles at MP. With this in mind I went into the workout with the main goal of getting in some solid work at marathon pace but being flexible – especially since it was the most humid day we’ve had so far. I ended up with 14 miles total, including 6 miles at 7:34 pace. I feel like I could have gone further and/or faster, but I didn’t feel like I needed to. 

WEEK #15
RECAP OF WEEK 5/21 – 5/27

Sunday – 4 easy miles
Monday – AM: Strength, NOON: 8-mile structured fartlek ladder 1/2/3/2/1/2/3/2/1:00 ‘on’ w/ 1:00 ‘off’ [1s at ~6:20, 2s at ~7:15, 3s at ~7:45]
Tuesday – 6.5 miles
Wednesday – 7.5 miles
Thursday – AM: Strength + 3-mile shakeout, Noon: 7 miles, including 5 x 2:00 hills w/ 3:00 jog
Friday – 7 miles on trails w/ Pat
Saturday – 16 miles
Summary: 59 miles and 2 strength sessions


WEEK #16
RECAP OF WEEK 5/28 – 6/3

Sunday – Day off
Monday – 8 miles total, including the Brian Kraft 5K in 20:21 (6:27, 6:30, 6:35)
Tuesday – 5 easy miles
Wednesday – AM: Strength, PM: 6 miles
Thursday – 7 miles, including 3 x (10 x :30 w/ :15 jog)
Friday – 6 miles on trails w/ Pat and Scott
Saturday – 14 miles (1 mile easy, 6 miles moderate ~8:10 pace and 6 miles at MP, ~7:34 pace, 1 mile easy
Summary: 46 miles and 1 strength session

Quote of the day;

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.” – Arthur Schopenhauer