Hi all. Here is a quick check-in on my recovery after Phoenix and my training as I start looking forward to my next race, the Big Sur Marathon on the beautiful California coast! Check out my full race calendar and completed races at the updated map!
I’m continuing my post-Phoenix Marathon brain dump, which I hope can help me with future races, but also help my readers who are looking to optimize their own performance. I previously provided an overview of all the thoughts I had during the race, and then I wrote about how pacing and nutrition played key roles in my success. Next up: MUSIC!
What: The BMO Harris Bank Mesa-Phoenix Marathon, aka The Phoenix Marathon, aka The Mesa-PHX Marathon. (There were approx 17 different hashtags associated with this race at various points — a little bit of an identity crisis, I think.) (Not to be confused with the Rock ‘N Roll Arizona race, also held in the Phoenix area.)
Where: Mesa, Arizona, just a few miles outside of Phoenix. Race started in Usery Mountain Regional Park and ended in the Mesa Riverview shopping center.
When: Saturday on the last weekend in February.
I spent years working toward my goal of running a Boston qualifying marathon time. Recently, it all came together for me at my 21st marathon, the Phoenix Marathon, where I ran a 3:28:56, over six minutes faster than the BQ application cutoff for my age. This race was obviously a PR for me, but I was shocked with how much I was able to improve over my three most recent races culminating at Phoenix.
First, I PR’d at Chicago with a 3:42. I credited a fast course, good weather, improved training (mainly Orangetheory and running hills at altitude), and a stronger mental game. (My previous PR of 3:44:46 was achieved way back in 2012; for my thoughts on what went on in the five intervening years, check out my slowdown story and my thoughts about getting back on the BQ wagon.) Two months later, I PR’d again at Kiawah with a 3:37, an unexpected five-minute improvement. Again, I credited a fast course, good weather, new mental strategies, and my altitude training. But I also ran negative splits for the first time in a long time, and I felt like that made a huge difference compared to Chicago. Then less than three months after that, after training back at sea level, I PR’d and BQ’d at Phoenix with 3:28:56, a whopping eight minute improvement over Kiawah, and a 13 minute improvement over Chicago in less than five months.
As someone who thought that Chicago might be as good as it gets in terms of race conditions, that 13-minute improvement was unfathomable — especially without significant changes to my training. (During the buildup, I frequently Googled “What is a reasonable marathon time improvement?” and “How long does it take to BQ?” Here’s my answer!) So what made the difference?
I will do a traditional race review with all the key information on this race, but in the meantime, here is a compilation of what I was thinking (approximately chronological) during the Phoenix Marathon, where I finally earned my BQ with a finish time of 3:28:56.
This blog is intended up document my running journey. The ups and the downs. I’ve tried to fight the temptation to re-touch the snapshot of my life that I provide here (although I am known to crop and filter my Instagram photos…). So here is a moment of honesty. I am running the Phoenix Marathon in seven days, and I am trying to run a Boston Marathon-qualifying time there. And, this week, I am freaking. the eff. out.
I’ve been super busy over the past few weeks doing meal prep, traveling, working, and training. Here is a little update, including some thoughts on my training and prep going into the Phoenix Marathon (just three more weeks!) and as I wrap up my 12-week cut on the Renaissance Periodization diet. Plus, my pre-race to-do list!