Thursday, March 15, 2012

Once More Unto the Breach

OK! So it is almost time to try this marathon thing again. I thought of the title phrase so I looked it up and got inspired by Shakespeare. Since it is an appropriate call to war, I am going to print the whole thing here, to motivate all of you racing this weekend.

Interestingly, the "Breach" is a gap in the wall of the city they are attacking. So that is perfect as I attempt to get through my own "wall".

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

The last two years on this blog, in the week leading up to this race, I have posted the Bangle Chronicles, rehashing my memories of my entire marathon history. Well, I'm not going to post them again (curious newbies can dig in my archives from last March), but here is a quick summary just to remind me and you; seven previous attempts at a BQ.

1980-Age 18: Two weeks after graduating high school I run Grandma's in Duluth. No runs over 12 miles in training, but lots of miles and track work. I run 2:58:55 with negative splits, but BQ at the time was 2:50. Not that I could have gone anyway.

1991-Age 28: Los Angeles crushes me in the heat. After a first half at 3:20 pace or better, I bonk hard and walk most of the last 8 miles. 4:30.

1995-Age 33: Twin Cities treats me better with 40 degree temps. Success at 3:26:28.

2001-Age 39: Twin Cities again. Another good one, 3:33:38

2003-Age 40: LA beats me down again in warm temps. Ready to break 3:30, but I bonk hard and get 4:27.

2010-Age 47: The Loop inspires a comeback. I train better, bonk less hard and get 3:52 in LA.

2011-Age 48: LA again, better training, less collapse, 3:44:16.

2012-Age 49: LA again. Training is better than ever. Temperatures will be downright chilly in the 40's. I have no excuses. Time to get that BQ.

Goals: Well, the only meaningful one is to beat 3:30 and BQ. But...

E: Beat 3:44:16 - course record, best time in 11 years

D: Under 3:33:38 - best time in 17 years

C: Under 3:30 - BQ

B: Under 3:26:28 - best time in 32 years

A: Under 3:25 - BQ-5

Honestly, my pikermi times and training suggest 3:25 is a reasonable goal, and that is what my strategy is based on. So here's the plan:

3:30 is almost exactly 8 minute pace, so that makes the math easy. I will aim to relax at the beginning and try to stay at or over 8 minute pace through 6 miles. Then allow the pace to drop to 7:45-7:50 and keep it there basically as long as I can. My guess is I may end up going even faster than that, but I will try to restrain myself. I want to be 1 minute under 8 minute pace at 10 miles (1:19), 2 minutes under at 15 (1:58) and 3 minutes under at 20 (2:37). I'm hoping to keep it under 8 all the way in, but having never finished 26 miles without slowing, this allows some room for collapse.

So now I just have to wait a few more days. Easy run tonight. I have zero aches and pains. I'm not sick. I have run more miles in training than any time since 1981. I am ready to crash that wall down.

And if it doesn't work out. I've got another one in 6 weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment