This is just going to be a quick update...
a few weeks ago I ran the 2014 Erie Marathon. My goal was to run under 3:05:00, which is the time I need to qualify for Boston.
I failed. I missed it by 8 seconds.
Well, first of all, it starts with training. My training was okay, but not where it should have been. Most of my long runs were on trails at a much slower pace. The Specificity of Training principle always applies... and my training prepared me more for ultras than for a marathon. I did do some speed work and some tempo runs, but again, not to the extent that I should have. However, I think the big thing I'll need to change next time I'm focusing on a marathon is to do more long runs on the road, at a faster pace than I would on the trails (10-13 min/mile versus 8-9 min/mile).
Little things that took time away during the race:
#1. I had use the portapotty at about mile 15. I just couldn't clench my cheeks any longer, it needed to be done. So I'm thinking I ate too late the day before the race (it was around 6 or 6:30 pm when I ate).. and I probably ate too much pasta. And maybe I drank too much coffee the morning of the race. Oh well. Shit happens.
#2. Side stitches... A couple times I got a debilitating side-stitch that forced me to slow down a bit. Why? Weak ab muscles? Too little salt? Too much sugar? I don't know. But I bet doing some more race-specific long runs might help me figure out the issue.
#3. Hamstring cramp. Right hamstring cramped up a little bit a couple times as well. Stopped, dug my knuckles into it, drank some extra gatorade (which may have provided the necessary electrolytes for the cramp, but maybe too much sugar which caused the side stitch?).
So, sub-par preparation combined with stupid little things ended up costing me more than 8 seconds.
The Good News:
I found out that entry into the 2015 Boston Marathon was only for those who beat their qualifying time by at least 62 seconds. There were more applicants this year, and sometimes they make those kind of constraints to limit the field. So I was really about 70 seconds off from being able to go to Boston. Sure, I might have qualified, but what fun is qualifying if you don't get to run past the Citgo sign?
Other good news.. I set a personal best in the race by about 14 minutes! I can't be too upset about that, right? And this, again, is mostly from training that has been more focused on ultramarathons. Long trail runs (20-40 miles) at slow pace with an occassional hard and short run thrown in for good measure.
In conclusion.. it's not a huge deal. I was a little disappointed that I missed the 3:05 by so few seconds, but I know that I've come a long way and I know that there's plenty of room for more improvement.