Sometimes just the thought of running a particular race provides the motivation I need. After passing on the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon next year, I thought, maybe it would be fun to try the Los Angeles Marathon. My marathon P.R. was set on the L.A. course many years ago but I haven't run L.A. in recent years. And the "Stadium to the Sea" route sounds like pretty interesting.
When I looked at the L.A. Marathon website, I discovered they have 3 "bins" of people at the start of the race: Sub 3 hours, 3 to 4 hours and over 4 hours. I decided that the only way I would run L.A. is if I can qualify for the sub 3 hour bin.
I've run 18 sub 3 hour marathons through the years, but the last time this happened was 8 years ago, at the 2004 Long Beach Marathon. My time that day was 2 hours, 48 minutes, good for 2nd master. I was actually on pace for a 2:42 marathon that day but had to pull back due to groin pain.
Since then, life has become more complicated! Kids, jobs, injuries, etc. have taken their toll on my training and, while the passage of the years has also slowed me down, I feel like I'm running nowhere near my full current potential.
While I don't expect to hit my full potential because I'm not doing the right things...in particular, getting adequate sleep, hard training and speedwork.
That said, with moderate, consistent, injury/illness free training, I still think I can run sub 3 hours on most marathon courses. So...I'm considering...not "committed" yet...but considering...signing up for the Malibu Marathon on November 11th.
What will determine if I sign up or not is how my training goes, and perhaps a few races over the next few months. I've signed up for a half marathon in Camarillo in mid-October. If I can run it in 1 hour, 22 minutes or less, I'll probably sign up for the Malibu Marathon. Why? I use an old rule of thumb; your potential marathon time equals 2.1 times your half marathon time. So a 1:22 half equates to about a 2:52 full marathon, leaving some cushion.
That said, even if I AM in decent shape for Malibu, there's definitely no guarantee of running sub 3 hours. The sub 3 hour time has been run on that course a measly14 times in the first 3 years of the event. The course is great, but quite hilly over the last 3 to 5 miles and there are significant headwinds over many sections of the route along PCH.
In any case, with this 18.5 mile under my belt this morning and a 17.5 miler last weekend, with some luck I think I can actually do this.
On a side note, I recently discovered the Peanut Butter GU flavor, which immediately became my favorite flavor. There are many sports energy gels out there but I still like GU best over all these years. They aren't as overly sweet as many seem to be.