“You have to respect the marathon”.- Unknown
I was given this advice after my first San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon. I ran my first marathon January in New Orleans with only one month of “training”. I was advised to control my pace. My mind was set on controlling my pace. I ran an average mile of 9:43, finishing with a personal best (PR) of 4:15. I felt great at the finish. Come December in San Antonio I decided to try my own method. I wanted to run as fast as I could for as long as I could. I ran my first thirteen miles at an average seven minutes per mile. I began to slow down after mile thirteen. My pace went from eight minute miles to nine minutes and ended with a twenty four minute mile. Needless to say, my method didn’t work.
The following year I ran the Denver Marathon. I hadn’t run longer than six miles. That was foolish. I had to run walk just after mile thirteen in order to finish. For the first time ever, I was struggling to finish a race. I ended with an almost six hour marathon.
People say “history repeats itself”, well it sure did this December at BCS. I was confident that after a full training cycle I could again run as fast as I could for as long as I could. I should have paced myself. Instead I ran under pace for thirteen miles, which at that point I had earned five minutes for my next half. Well, running my next thirteen miles I slowed down by eight minutes from race pace! That’s essentially an entire mile for me. I finished with a 3:41 marathon. It’s possible my time could have been better if I paced myself and then moved to running negative splits.
Training alone taught me to become strong mentally. I learned to handle those long distance miles. My mental game never wavered during my race. Running my marathon out of control finally taught me to run it right the next time. If the execution of my race isn’t done appropriately, I will never BQ. The “Blanca Method” will never be seen on bookshelves across the nation. It’s time to continue training. It’s time to train my competitive nature. I won’t make the same mistake at my next attempt.