I’m finally getting there. I’m up to Week 13 of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate II program and things are going great. When I started running 18 weeks ago, I had no idea how to approach “race pace” runs. I was so out of shape that I couldn’t even imagine where I’d end up for the marathon. I dreamt of running a Boston qualifier in my first marathon, but that didn’t seem very likely, even on a friendly Philadelphian course.
Today I tested myself to find out what I might be able to accomplish and I was pleasantly surprised. I ran 10 miles in 1:12 and change, which put me at a 7:12/mile pace, three seconds ahead of the 7:15 I’d have to maintain to qualify for Boston. With a little more than a month to go before the Philadelphia Marathon, I’d like to think that, barring injury, I might even improve a bit on that pace.
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself though. I’m running my second 20 mile run tomorrow morning from the usual start at 21st and Poplar out to Forbidden Drive and back. I’m going to see if I can get the Garmin Virtual Partner figured out to help me maintain an 8:15/mile pace tomorrow. I want to be very consistent and careful now that the mileage is reaching a peak to protect myself from injury.
It’s a real treat to get outdoors and enjoy the fall weather along the Schuykill and Wissahickon. It’s a little chilly when I leave the house, but feels comfortable by the time I get warmed up.
Fast forward 24 hours from the previous four paragraphs: I just got back from running 20 miles in 2:41 and change, roughly 12 minutes faster than my last 20 mile time. I tried holding 8:15 miles, but found myself ripping off 7:45 and faster splits from the 14 mile point onward. I feel great. I hope I’m not peaking too soon, but I think if I keep challenging myself over the next month, I’ll be in great shape for the marathon.
I feel like I have a Boston qualifier in me if I run smart. Do you think I can do it? If anyone has qualified for the Boston Marathon and can share training insights, especially with respect to the taper, let me know in the comments!