All posts for the month September, 2019

I’ve been training since Christmas to Boston Qualify (BQ), and was pretty confident of hitting the previous years 3:15:00 requirement especially after having slid into an older age bracket. However, due to the growing demand to run in Boston, the qualifying times dropped by 5 minutes this year, so much for the 5 minute savings in the new bracket. This year would be a 3:10:00 qualify cutoff.

The Calgary Marathon is nicely positioned early in the season before the summer BBQ and patio beers have a chance to drop their anchors on performance. This years course skipped some hilly sections and was intended to be a fast BQ capable race – woot!

The day was perfect, cool and sunny. I felt ok at the start – I’ve learned that you NEVER feel great at the start of a race, there is always nerves, or a sore that feels different and threatens to scuttle the race. I now realize that I never feel ready and these symptoms go away soon after the race starts.

The first 30km felt great, I felt I was holding back running just under my 4:30min/km pace required to qualify. At the 30km marker my pace was 4:27 and although I was starting to feel the early stages of a bonk, I picked it up to finish hard. Breaking away from the pace group, I was anticipating how sweet it would feel to finally qualify.

The last 2km were hard and I was hurting, but adrenaline was willing me through at a comfortable 4:27 which would bring me well under my qualify time and land closer to a 3:08:00 time. As I rounded the last bend I could see the last 100 meters to the finish and realized the clock had just turned over 3:10:00. I sprinted (or what felt like a sprint) through the last 100m and came through with a 3:10:18 gun time. I couldn’t believe it, I had been so focused on pace, I failed to realize the race may actually be longer than what my watch read (which is actually quite common on races). When your body gets really fatigued, it limits cognitive function and you just aren’t thinking straight, even basic math becomes difficult in your head.

Just getting over the finish line

My only hope was that I had started quite a bit back from the front pack, so my chip time, which is used for BQ may still actually be under 3:10:00. Upon getting through the gate and checking online I realized I was in fact just over 3:10:00 with a 3:10:12 final time. Doh!

Regardless, my GPS said I had run a 3:08 and I felt confident I could shave more time off next time. Good vibes only. I had taken my marathon time from the start of last year of 3:40 down to 3:10, so overall I was pretty stoked.

So Close!

Pacing had been the key to avoid my 30km bonk, and I finally had a strategy that would work next time around. Until then I have a long season of Ultra Trail Races ahead.