Sunday, July 17, 2011

#4--Twin Cities Marathon

October 8, 2000. 3:09:52

When I finished the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, I set my sights squarely on qualifying for Boston.  I had basically spent the last year training.  I was in great shape, and I thought a BQ was within reach.  I read everything I could get my hands on about running.  I was in marathon shape, I just had to get a little bit faster.  I took a week or two off after San Diego, and then began a fairly intense program to try to qualify for Boston.  I incorporated one of Hal Higdon's intermediate programs.  Each week I would do a track workout, an easy recovery run, a tempo run, a long pace run, and a long run.  Every run had a purpose.  The program was challenging but doable.  My peak weekly mileage didn't ever exceed 45 miles.  This was important, because I had just started my third year of medical school (the first clinical year and probably the busiest and most time consuming.  During my surgery rotation I would start rounds at 3:30 in the morning!)

After 18 weeks, I was ready.  I can't remember why I chose the Twin Cities.  Probably because it was within driving distance, and I had a friend that I could stay with.  Race day was clear and cool.  Probably high 30's at the start.  I was a little late getting to the start area, so I had to start towards the back.  There weren't any corrals that I remember.  Anyway, I knew I had to stick to a 7:15 pace at least.  After the first mile, I was already a minute or two behind.  I went to the side of the road and even on the sidewalk at one point in order to pass the slower runners.  I felt great and quickly got back on track.  I remember that I had at least one sub 6 minute mile during the race.  By ~ mile 19 or so I had a comfortable cushion.  At this point, however, the Twin Cities course becomes very tough.  Right after mile 20 there is a steep hill that doesn't end until about mile 23.  I had run plenty of hills, but none like this.  I did my best, but at the top of that climb, I had lost my cushion.  I was now well off pace.  I was crest-fallen, but I had come too far to give up.  The only thing I knew to do was keep running, which is what I did.  I remember looking down at my watch at mile 25.  Although I can't remember the exact time, I do remember thinking that if I had a strong kick, I might still be able to make it.  At that point I went into what was basically an all out sprint for the last 1.2 miles.  I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch.  It said 3:09:52.  I had just qualified for the Boston Marathon.

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