Marathon Training Day 415: The Seattle Marathon is right around the corner

On December 1st I run my first marathon: the Seattle Marathon. Last Monday, eight days ago, I ran 21.2 miles. My goal was to run 27 miles but I overslept, and then ran out of time. I was really, really, really slow. Something happens to me during training. When race day happens, at least for half marathons, I have run much faster because of the adrenaline. But in training I have been unable to push myself to run fast. It’s like my warp core only comes online if there is a Klingon Bird of Prey in the area… or if I am actually running in a race. The difference between my training times and half marathon times has been dramatic… almost 30 minutes.

What is the difference? I don’t know. It is not a crisis… but it is a little frustrating to not be able to run faster in training. Theoretically if I run faster in training then I will run even faster in the actual marathon. My goal for the full marathon is to run the entire thing without stopping to walk. I can do that (unless I get hurt). However, can I truly count on shaving an hour off my training run for the actual marathon? I want to run the full marathon in under 4-hours. Even 3:59:59 counts! But… my best half marathon time is 1:54:45 at the Eugene Marathon. Doubling 1:54:45 makes sense mathematically. But doubling 1:54:45 does not make sense when you consider that was me pushing my body to its limits in a half marathon.

As I am in the final weeks of training, I am now faced with a dilemma. Do I say screw-it and just go for the time of 4 hours? This could result in my body having a complete break-down around the 16-mile mark… warp core implosion, thruster burnout, all shields failing… netting me a time of 6 or more hours as I drag myself across the finish line. Or… will my body hold up… and I finish in a time of 3 hours, 45 minutes? I have read stories about people who qualified for the Boston Marathon by accident because they signed up to do a half and ran the full marathon when they missed a turn. That is a mental “luxury” I do not have. I will not mistakenly run as hard as I can for a half marathon distance and accidentally run the full marathon.

Life is short. There are plenty of marathons in the world… and plenty of opportunities to run more. But this is my first. Having trained for over a year I suddenly find myself in a strange position. My primary goal is to finish without stopping to walk. My secondary goal is to finish in under 4-hours. If I go for my secondary goal… I could have a warp core disaster resulting in missing my primary and secondary goals. What are your thoughts?


As many of you know, I have been raising money for Womenspace through my marathons. Thank you for everyone who has supported me thus far. And there is still time to give a few dollars to help by visiting my fundraising page.

Thank you and have a great day!

The Canby Dahlia Run 2013, Canby Oregon
I finished the Canby Dahlia Run … 1 hour, 58 minutes, 41 seconds

Next stop… December 1st, 2013… the Seattle Marathon.

3 thoughts on “Marathon Training Day 415: The Seattle Marathon is right around the corner

  1. I say just focus on finishing. Don’t worry about what time you do it in. Who knows, you might surprise yourself or the distance might just kick your ass. So don’t focus on a time

  2. i think your first objective is to finish without walking. when i have signed up for marathons, and i’ve felt like garbage (any of them in the last year will work as a reference point), i usually go through the first half conservatively. i take my half marathon mile pace (if i were totally kicking ass) and add 20-30 seconds. it’s super easy to get caught up in the moment, and all the people racing off the start line, and just think… “i am crawling here! i need to speed up. i can so run faster than this.” the thing is… you have a looooong way to run. half (okay, way more than half, most of the time) are there for the half marathon, and they are there to finish quick. some have never run a full before, and don’t know how that wall slaps you in your face at mile 20 or so, if you aren’t careful. there is a small segment which are just gifted and awesome, and get out there and maintain a 5 minute mile, and they are up somewhere running with a police escort. 😀 all the rest of us are somewhere between them and the folks who come in at 6 hours.

    if at the halfway point, you are feeling awesome, ditch the 20 seconds, and slowly ramp up your speed…. sort of like you are doing a 13 mile tempo run, if that makes sense. i have only hit the wall once… and it huuuuurt. like crazy. this is your first time out, and so just understand what you’re getting yourself into, and then next time out — you can gauge for the race as you’ve run it before. you know where you can improve, run faster, run slower, hydrate better, fuel better, etc. i’m always a fan of caution over pain in marathons. a half? a 10K? i’ll shoot for the moon. burn my muscles out and possibly puke. 🙂 a marathon… not such a fan of feeling like crap with 10 miles still to go, and 16 behind you. it feels like an eternity when you’re hurting.

    and by the way… i train way slow. most of the time. especially in a marathon training cycle. it gets monotonous. i get burnt out. my muscles get burnt out. the first marathon i trained for i thought i wouldn’t finish because i trained so slow. i did though, and faster than i thought i would by a half hour. adrenaline is your friend on race day. almost always. running somewhere new. taking time off for taper week. eating well and hydrating well the week before.

    (and if you are bored, because i get bored…. the app “endomondo” is fun for running so many damn miles. you only have about three weeks left i know, but it’s fun for long or short runs. i use it to keep the runs challenging and interesting… otherwise, every single one would feel like a slog through wet cement towards the end of a cycle.)

    but NO WORRIES… you got this. you will not walk, even if you have to slow down a little in the beginning… and if you ever chose to run this race again, you will have a starting point for your training — because you will know what you are capable and what you want to achieve. you will also know how realistic it is, and how much it will take to make it happen. i am so excited to hear about your race.

    okay. i’m done!! xx

  3. There are more than enough marathons on the planet… and more than enough chances to run more. Having prepared for a year I all of a sudden end up in a bizarre position. My essential objective is to complete without halting to walk

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