Age (at the time of first BQ): 24
Height (at the time of first BQ): 6’0
Weight (at the time of first BQ): 155-160
At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Marine Corps Marathon
Tell us a little about the race. I was incredibly excited to run my first marathon, particularly so with the incredible atmosphere and support that comes from one of our nation’s most historic marathons in our nation’s capital. I was equally nervous, despite what I considered being well prepared, as I certainly had a healthy respect (and some fear) for the distance.
Because I was in unchartered territory with MCM being my first full, my time goal ranged significantly from anywhere from 2:45-under 3:00. Workouts indicated I was capable of the former, but seeing and hearing horror stories about the final 10k and how the wheels can come off in a very real way left me cautious and not overly ambitious.
I remember feeling incredible for the first half and having to force myself to not run faster than my body was trying to get me to go at the time, hitting the half in am what felt like a very relaxed 1:22 low. I continued to feel good through about 16-17, when it got noticeably more challenging to keep 6:15s going. I maintained pace through 20 or so when I started to fade slightly. The last 10k is essentially an out and back, with the out moving away from the city and away from spectators and support. The crowd and energy throughout was amazing, but I definitely felt its absence on the lonely stretch from miles 20-23. By that point, I was in significant pain, different than all of the track and XC races I had experienced. The last mile, I would’ve sworn I was running 9 minute pace or worse, which I later found out was about 7:25 or 7:30. My body and mind were gone at that point and I was just trying to get to the finish line so I could stop! I ended up in 2:49:37 for about a 5 minute positive split.
My good friend was also running his first and anticipated finishing around 4:00. I said depending on how I felt, I would try to run in the last mile or so with him. I look back on that hopeful promise and laugh, realizing how naive I was about what the effort would take out of me.
Overall, it was an amazing first marathon experience!
How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 12-16 years depending on what counts as training
Did you run in college or high school? Yes
What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? really hard to even guess… 12-15,000 miles?
How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? I’m guessing I was around 50-60 miles per week for the buildup on average, although I don’t have my specific logs from that time.
Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 3 or 4 including the marathon?
Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was? No, Get consistent miles in and focus on solid long runs. Most long runs became progression/tempo runs which got me physically and mentally tough and ready to hurt.
Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? No
Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Hardly at all.
Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? I did a few Yasso 800 workouts and tempo runs. Coaching HS at the time, I did most of what the kids did with some modifications, so there was definitely hill work and other quicker workouts I am having trouble recalling at the moment!
Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ? Be realistic in you time goals, especially for the first one. Put in the miles, respect the distance and practice fueling consistently before hand. You will lose more calories and water than you realize. Shoot for a general time goal but don’t let that overshadow your accomplishment of finishing a very difficult feat. Enjoy the experience and give yourself adequate time to recover with some very easy active recovery before jumping back into things.