We all set goals for many marathoners it is to qualify for the Boston marathon I was fortunate enough to be blessed to achieve that in my first marathon. I backed it up with another marathon a month later for a faster time and better seeding in Boston. I set my next goal as a three hour marathon and committed myself to an elite level twenty week winter training program for Boston. My race at Boston came up short of the goal and shook my confidence that it was an achieveable goal. I selected Cleveland as the follow up race because of the flat course and chance of good weather not knowing how tough the course at Boston is. I came home from Boston with a plan of recovery, speed work and a good long run then short taper. My life turned upside down Easter night when I lost my sister her twin sons and husband. Running took on a new meaning some times as a release others as an escape but not a priority. I do have to thank running for bringing an amazing group of friends into my life that carried me through this time.
I went into this race feeling like I owed a great performance to my friends, no plan or strategy like I typically do. I became excited the week before more because I had so many friends running it and many going for BQ times. I didn't give myself much thought until the night before when I questioned if I was good enough to run a three hour marathon. I couldn't get to sleep so I watched "Bucket List" and the seen that stuck with me and changed my focus was when the were sitting on top of the pyrmids and Morgan Freeman said the egyptians believed when you got to the gates you had to answer two questions "has life brought you joy?" and "have you brought joy to others?". I answered yes to both those questions and running was a big part of that. I still didn't sleep well waking every hour then deciding to stay awake at four O'clock. I had everything laid out and packed and planned to wear my Saucony Kinvera but that was foiled by the need to pee. I was in the bag check line taking off sweats and nature called and I forgot to change my shoes so this marathon was my first long run in my new Pearl Izumi Streak II's. I made my way to the start line just behind the three hour pacer the course started up hill so a stuck with a group that was holding back and running the hill not pushing it. The first mile was seven and a half minute, mile two was six minutes twenty seconds I found my pace and passed the pacer at mile four. I hit the half at 1:28:00 feeling like I could hold it and easily get my goal. I went through to mile eighteen and my legs started to get heavy the hill at mile twenty slowed my pace but I was determined to push through and finish strong. The finish was down hill, I put the push on when I had clear sight of the twenty six mile flag and strided to the finish withan official time of 3:03:21. I was 84/13303 overall, 78/5905 men, 7/611 age group I was only twelve minutes behind the age group winner.
I am very pleased with this race the weather worked to my favor fifty five degrees cloudy and misty made the high humidity bearable. The temparture dropped at the finish but I was done before it started to rain. The three hour bar got sized down today I have my sub 3:10 marathon to qualify for NYC and London as well as front row starting position for my fall marathons. I have not mastered the marathon but I know that I can confidently run anyone.