Our appointment in California got extended another year then we decided to call Cupertino, CA, our new home, even being granted the US citizenship a few years later. With that, from just finishing, the goal evolved toward qualifying for Boston first, then breaking 3 hours, then getting faster and eventually to placing... And eventually blogging about this "Farther Faster" quest, one which got no limit when I added the ultra marathon dimension to it, oops!
I eventually qualified for Boston in my 4th attempt with 3:04 at the Silicon Valley Marathon in October 2000. I'm not going to go through the list of the next 17 marathons but I did run Boston 4 times even getting on the podium as Top 10 Masters in 2005 and broke 3 hours 11 times out of these 21 marathons with a PR of 2:37 at Chicago in 2003 at 39.
Today was my 22nd marathon then, not counting the 105 ultra races I ran since I switched to ultra-running back in 2006. And when Max, who made us the surprise by boarding on our flight in Houston on Friday morning, asked me when was my last marathon, I realized that I didn't even remember (with 17 to 18 races a year, that's where my detailed running log and blog come handy! ;-). It was actually more than 3 years ago at the World Masters Athletics championships in Sacramento in July 2011. Quite a while from a race count perspective, 57 races ago!
I didn't even have the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) on my calendar this year but, Alex running it for the second consecutive time, we decided to stop by DC on our way back from a very relaxing week in Belize. As I said in my previous post on Friday, the only thing I really did well to prepare for MCM was to taper for 8 days, which I don't even do before my ultra races now. With that, I was really anxious to see how my legs felt after such a break and which speed/pace I could maintain for 26 miles. I didn't do much speed work and was only glad to see I could still run a 10K at 5:45 min/mile, in September, 1 week after running 133 miles and taking 3rd at the US Nationals of 24 hours. And you could say I was grossly over-trained in terms of long runs with 13 ultra races and 17 ultra runs for training...
Back to the title, here are a few goals I had for this Sunday:
- Running the MCM while I was in DC this weekend. That was a challenging one actually. I was hoping to leverage my connection with Brooks, the main sponsor of this event, and local Michael Wardian, both a very fast runner and racer "stud", racing almost every other week when not back to back weekends. Michael connected me to Running Brooke and that's how I managed to get in.
- Raising money for Running Brooke. Brooke has run numerous marathons and races, creating an organization to raise money to help at-risk kids in Virginia through exercise and education programs. Specifically, for the MCM, we are raising money to build a playground in Alexandria, VA.
- Running a marathon with my son Alex.
- Running another marathon in 2 hours +
* minutes. trying to defy the age, I determined a few years ago that I'll try to establish "my" law (yes, referring to Moore's Law). I've been tracking this linear chart for more than 10 years now, +/- 1 minutes, I'm still hoping this will work for a while although statistics shows times increasing exponentially after 50.
- Breaking 3 hours. I managed to do it 11 times out of 21 marathons, that's never a given.
- Getting another Boston qualifier. In case I want to run in 2016. Or for New York maybe if I can figure how the lottery works (I entered last year but never heard back). The standard for M50-54 is 3:30, so that's easier as a goal.
- Winning my age group, or at least placing (that is in the top 3). I had checked the winning times for the past 10 years and they were all between 2:50 and 3:00.
- And, of course, enjoying running again after this 8-day break!