The California International Marathon is coming quick, and I am still registered to race this 26.2 mile race. It was first started in 1983 as a marathon course for those looking to qualify for the USA Olympic Trials, hum... sounds a little familiar. Well, this is seriously the last chance to qualify, and I am sure a slew of guys and gals will be attempting to make their mark at this years event. The race is on December 4th, 2011 and as I sit here in my 5th grade classroom while my students work quietly, I am pondering how this race will transpire.
I have debated over and over again what the best method of approach would be to qualify and run a PR at CIM. At this point those lousy running formula calculators all give me a false sense of achievement. I know I can run a quick marathon time in the neighborhood of 2:17-2:19, based on my training and race performance at the half marathon. However, the full marathon is a completely different story than running a fast half and plugging that number into a calculator and BOOM a sweet time is not as easy as that. In order to achieve what I plan on doing, I could either attempt to run an even pace and hit the first half in around 69:20 and come back with about the same time to run a qualifier... Since I've been able to run a half all out in 65:26 by myself under this marathon training, running a smart half in the marathon at 69:20 could prove to be the best outcome. Although, every other time I've done this, it hasn't been good. I tend to fall apart and run about 3-5 minutes slower in the second half. So, that would be one way to race it and hope that I am much more stronger than I've been in the past.
Another approach that fits my personality better, would be to just GO FOR IT! I could go out with the leaders, or at around 67:30-68:30 pace for the first half and just hang on for dear life! I will be expecting the painful wall and lack of energy in my muscles, which is almost inevitable no matter what happens in the marathon, and just fight through it as I've been doing in all my training and racing! I've always looked at the marathon as a giant beast and I've failed at it because I've attempted to think about it too much and logically "pace" the race according to certain calculations that actually don't pertain to my abilities. This race is the last chance to make the trials for 2012 and I am not going to passively race it. I am going to do it. I'm going for it and if I fail, or even end up walking in the end, then so be it.
"Do or do not, there is no try."