Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Goal of a Sub 2:19

In 2007, leading up to the 2008 Olympic Trials, the "B" Standard for qualifying was sub 2:22.  To run sub 2:22, one must average 5:22 miles for 26.2 miles.  Running into a headwind in Boston in April 2007, I knew it would be tough for me to achieve the standard.  I rolled through the half-marathon in 1:11:00, but couldn't maintain the pace up the Newton hills, nor down the hills all the way down to Boyleston St.  I ended up with a PR of 2:24:47, but that was as close as I came to running under 2:22.

Before the 2008 US Olympic Men's Marathon Trials, there were only 47 US runners who ran under 2:19:00 in the preceding 3 years leading to the event.   As of today, September 1st, there are 65 American men who have run under 2:19:00, but now there is no B Standard of 2:22 (No B Standard which allowed an additional 130 runners to participate in the '08 Trials ).   Now, I have to say, 150+ American men vying for 3 olympic marathon spots is ridiculous when it's common knowledge to anyone in the know that really those 3 spots are going to be taken by 3 out of perhaps 15 very good runners.   I don't have a problem with seeing the B Standard of 2:22 gone.   In the last four years, more American men have broken 2:19 than the preceding four by 50%.  Now instead of having to average faster than 5:22 per mile, one has to run faster than 5:18 per mile if they wish to toe the line with the nation's best marathoners this January in Houston.  Below is a link with all the men that have qualified to date (note:  some have also qualified based on the merit of a sub 1:05 Half-Marathon, or a sub 28:45 10K.   At the moment, I am not one of those speed demons)

Flash forward to 2011.   April 18, Boston Marathon.   Boston Marathon revisited.   The wind blows in the opposite direction.   The wind blows at the backs of all runners, and the world's fastest marathon ever run is completed by Geoffrey Mutai in 2:03:02.  Ryan Hall runs 2:04:58.   Jerome Ross runs a PR of 2:24:32.   Now, a PR is great, but considering the day, and also considering the day in Boston in 2007, I have to say a sub 2:20 would have been on par with my pre-existing PR.  To run under 2:19 on a normal day, there is still plenty of work for me to do.

It is five weeks to Chicago, and I have done plenty of work.   The last fifteen weeks, I have averaged 92+ miles.   I have been extremely fortunate to have avoided injury and major illness.  Running over 100 miles in a week is no longer a big deal.  A week in the 80s is a recovery week.  I have run a 10K PR and I have broken my course record at Lost Lake on a day not meant for course records.  Still there is work to do.  My taper doesn't begin in earnest until after the Philadelphia Half Marathon, which is September 18th:  3 weeks before Chicago.   In Philadelphia, I hope to run 13.1 miles somewhere close to 5:05 per mile pace.    This will make the 5:18 pace in Chicago feel comfortable.   Yes, there is still plenty of work to do.

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