A lot of runners say "take what the day gives you" and make the most out of unfavorable racing conditions. I agree with this if you are going for an age group award, or if it's a shorter race where you can bounce back quickly and then enter another one. However, I have a very specific marathon goal. I've woken up at 5:00am or earlier nearly every day for the past two years in pursuit of this goal. I've made a lot of sacrifices so that I could put in the training time necessary to run a good marathon. Throwing it away on a day when the weather makes it impossible to meet this goal would just be stupid.
As I said in my last blog, the warm weather affects me much more than most runners, so I just have to accept that and lower my expectations for warm/hot races.
I am faster now than I ever have been. I just ran a 5-mile race at a pace of 7:26, which is faster than my 5K PR. And I've run quite a few 5Ks. Furthermore, my "easy" pace has sped up from 9:45 from last summer down to about 8:55. "Easy" pace for me correlates to a HR of 155-165. Additionally, when I run an 8:55 pace now on my easy runs, it feels like 9:30 used to feel.
If I had actually been able to run all the marathons I have trained for over the past two years (without the illness, injury, and weather situations) then I am sure I would have set a few PRs. Every time I "miss" a marathon, the training doesn't go away so I just build on that for the next one. So I have about 5 training cycles built up-- so my goal for my next one is going to be faster than my goal for the fall 2008 marathon that I had to pass on because I was sick.
As for my next marathon, I have decided to not run the New Jersey marathon. The main reason is because of the 9:00am start time. Last year, the race started at 8:00am, but it was delayed by 30 minutes because their shuttle system wasn't efficient. So instead of addressing the shuttle system, they are simply starting the race an hour later. Not only does this translate into warmer weather, but it's also off-schedule with what my body is used to. I typically begin my long runs at 8:00 or earlier, and my weekday runs at 5:00.
Instead, I found a marathon that's only a 20-minute drive from my house-- the Potomac River Run Marathon on May 2. This marathon is an out-and-back twice, on a dirt/gravel trail. It starts at 7:00am, it's mostly shaded, is limited to 300 runners, and is chip timed. My fiance will be able to position himself on the course so that he will see me four times, and that support will really help me. Plus, we won't have to invest in a hotel room and another road trip. This will be low-key and I'm not putting the pressure on myself that I did for Shamrock. Over the next 5 weeks, I will be moving to my new house, so there is a lot of other stuff that needs to be dealt with.
This morning, my fiance went out to the C&O canal towpath where the marathon is going to be held. I figured I should do a long run on the course so I would be better prepared for the terrain. I ended up running 17 miles at an average pace of 9:01. Average heart rate was 158. Of course, it was nearly perfect running weather today. Completely overcast and mid 40's. Where was this weather last weekend!!???
Anyway, I have been a bit depressed this past week, but I have made peace with my situation. I know I have a BQ (actually more like a 3:35) in me. I just need to get out there and do it!