I wanted to write up a pre-race blurb about my expectations of this race, but work and travel got the best of me. So let’s recreate that blurb post-race: 2012 has been a terrible year of both training and racing for me, taking a pretty serious toll on my mental game. The training cycle for TCM was no exception, unable to roll out of bed for morning runs and giving up on track workouts. For the 2011 Chicago Marathon, I ran a bit over 100 miles of pacing runs in training. How many did I run for TCM in 2012? Zero. For 2011 Chicago, I finished every track workout on my schedule. How many did I complete for TCM as my taper started 3 weeks before the race? Zero. I ended up running only 493 miles of my 790-mile, 14-week training cycle, 62%. To put this in perspective, I hit 100% completion training for Boston 2011. A large part of my poor training was that I either had someone visiting or was traveling every week since mid-August. The other part of this was a long year of bad training is really deflating.
With 12 days until race day, training turned around a little bit. I finished my first track workout—2×3 mile, with a 1-mile recovery in 17:38, 17:43. And I felt solid. With 5 days until race day, I finished my second track workout—2×800,2×400 with half-interval distance recovery, hitting all my intervals at sub-5:20 pace. These two workouts said I was ready, but ready for what distance? Confused, I was off to Minneapolis.
And then the pre-race blurb would end with my race plan (one that should never be followed by anyone because it’s a recipe for injury, unrecoverable mental collapse, and general bad news): I’m throwing my balls on the table, go out hard for a PR and see what I can do. This is my 8th marathon and, somewhere, my body has to have the muscle memory for this stuff. I’m finishing up my 2012 racing season by leaving 8 months of frustration on the road between Minneapolis and St. Paul, ending with a PR or a total explosion on the course. If the latter, I’d at least have beautiful scenery to keep me company on the long walk to the finish, right?
How did I come up with such an irresponsible race plan? I had some serious inspiration. Twin Cities was a destination race for a crew of eight: 3 Granato Racers (man/myth/coach/legend Kevin Granato with star athletes Chanthana and TimTam), brother-coached Jenny P, me-coached HRD, and then the self-coached Kris, Scott, and myself. 7 of the 8 in our group were champing at the bit, ready for gigantic PRs and first time BQs. I watched the nerves of the 7 racers I was with grow and grow as days until race day became hours then minutes then seconds (literally—with 10 seconds until the gun, Kevin asked me with a “shit I just showed up to the exam without studying” tone if the first turn was a left or a right).
Outside the elite corral, the gauge of Marathon Day success has nothing to do with winning or losing; it’s about who left the most sweat on the course, who shattering their PR into the most pieces, who went balls to the wall and raced. Knowing I was the weak link in the group as we sat gearing up in the Metrodome concourse before the race was unacceptable. With everyone else ready to bury themselves, no fucking way I could sandbag this thing and show my face in the group post-race. Gauntlet thrown. Stay tuned for what happened at the race.