Friday, April 21, 2006

(Post) Boston Fever

My friend Jeff dropped by the gallery after coming home from racing the Boston Marathon for the first time. He dropped off a copy of "Duel in the Sun" by John Brant, a book that chronicles the epic battle between Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar in the 1982 Boston race. Although I'm only at the beginning of the book, something in the prologue really lit a spark.

"135 runners, for instance, virtually every one an American, ran the '82 Boston in a time of 2 hours 30 minutes or faster, the benchmark for a first-rate marathon. In 2003, only 12 runners, 3 of which were Americans, met this standard."

Many say, "If you're going to dream, dream big." I'm 3/4 through my first of three years of following Arthur Lydiard's training methods. I've gone from a 2:47 to a 2:39 marathon in that time. The goal now is to meet the benchmark Brant describes. Yes, I'm almost 35, yes my wife and I have 2 kids to look after, and yes, I do have a job. Sub 2:30 in 2008 or sooner.

It feels good to write it, though I'm sure it will be difficult. I'll be chasing the same dream Duncan, Eric, and Dallen are after, though I'm quite a ways behind all of them for the moment. Just looking at equivalent race times across the board for a 2:30 marathoner gives me pause. These are from McMillan Running, though the Purday tables etcetera are probably all around the same.

2:30:00_______2:39, marathon
1:11:00_______1:12:58, half marathon (this PR was run on a course dropping 1000 feet)
32:00_________34:11, 10K
15:23_________16:48, 5K (this PR was on a hilly cross country course, I know it's too slow)

Will I hit all these times? Very doubtful, though it does give me some idea of the work I have ahead of me. As I've discussed here and in some emails with fellow bloggers, the improvements from this point on will almost certainly be more incremental in nature. Still, it doesn't really matter as long as I can keep moving forward.

So, 150 minutes for 26.2 miles. I guess if 135 Americans could do it at Boston in '82, there's no reason Duncan, Eric, Dallen and I can't join the club too.

Training: 6 miles at 7:30 pace, nice and relaxed. Quad and adductor feel good, time to take a step closer to 15:23 for the 5K tomorrow. Wish me luck.


Christine said...

Admiral goal and I have no doubt you'll get there. Anyone who can have two kids, wife, 12 work days and still manage the mileage you put in, has all the determination they need! Good luck, Mike.

Dallen said...

Actually, I think that you are closer than I am right now.

Glad to see that you have stepped out on that limb with us.

Dallen said...

I just checked, in 2003 21 (not 12) runners ran 2:30 at Boston. Still a terrible number.

Anonymous said...


Funny my dad was just telling me how he was friends with the doctor who worked that marathon. I guess he was saying the race doctor and Salazar got in a fight over whether Salazar should go to the hospital. The doctor later said Salazar did permanant damage and really could have died, and was still pretty upset about the whole event. I looked it up online, and just saw this. I am sure the book covers it, but it is amazing.

Salazar was then helped to the medical tent to have six liters of fluids pumped into his body. He had lost 10 pounds from his 145-pound frame.

''We almost put each other in the ground, seriously,'' remembered Beardsley. ''I might not have had to go into the medical tent afterward, but I probably should've. I mean, I was so hammered.

''I remember, my stomach, for a few days not being able to eat a whole lot. I had diarrhea. My right hamstring kept getting cramps. I didn't sleep good for a few nights. My whole body was cramped and I was really beat up, physically and mentally.

''Neither one of us ever ran that fast again after that race.''

Eric said...

Ten years ago I was closer. I couldn't carry my own jock strap from those days right now. But, I'll get back there. And you'll get there, too. Carrying my jock strap, I mean. heh!

I'll get out on my limb after I see what my first cycle does for me. I'm just talking 2:29 out of my ass right now. Thanks for including me based on my big base and my decade old PRs. It puts my feet in a little bit of concrete to see my name out there as one of the guys with the 2:29 goals.

By the way, your goals are all wrong. Try subtracting at least 1 second from all of them.

Good post, Mike.

Scooter said...

If life permits and you can stay with the Lydiard program for 2 more years, I suspect that you're, whether life will permit...??? It's good to see you talking like this. I think you can do it. Thanks for all the support re: Boston. My bet is that if you can run wisely in June, you're at 2:36 (maybe 2:35!) You said yourself that better pacing would have given a better time last winter.

Mike said...

Thanks Christine, hopefully I can run better than I could sing. Dallen, hopefully your half-marathon will give you some good numbers that will make sub 2:30 seem closer. I have a feeling you'll beat me there. Anonymous, thanks for ruining the surprise ending!! Kidding. That's cool to get the doctor's insight on the story. Eric, make that 1.546 seconds. I could be wrong on that, will get back to you after I return from Temple. Thanks as always Scooter, I hope you're right.

edinburghrunner said...

If you can keep this focused for the next couple of years I'd guess you've got every chance of getting there.

Love2Run said...

I think we all need to have bigger long term goals and you've got me thinking about where I want to go with my running in the next few years. Thanks for the inspiration!

Duncan Larkin said...

Mike, a very obtainable goal--it's not like you are pedantically going for a 2:08 or anything!
;-). You can do it. Ok...deep breath...take it for what it's worth and don't get too mad at me please? No emoticons and happy faces to follow..After this June marathon, become more of a critical thinker. You know your body better than Lydiard would have. Go with what works for you. Experiment more. Get out of WWLD. Push back just a tad from that damned dogma, science, and structure that seems to be so pervasive out there in the running world for reasons varying from altruistic to pure dollar greed. Am I saying to stop following Lydiard ? Hell no. You wouldn't do it anyway--understandably so. However, perhaps rely more on his principles and less on what he wrote on page 30, Chapter 6. Listen to your own instincts not what someone said or wrote for a large audience. Push the envelope. Along those lines, think about laying in your speed and hills sooner in your training. Consider mixing it up in parallel instead of laying the elements in serially. I'm sure some of your mentors may disagree with me or maybe I'm somehow quoting some vague prinicple of his which always seems to be the case here, like some sort of religious counterargument--I dunno. Screw it--to drop 9 more minutes you may have to become an iconoclast or grow in other directions to some degree: small or large. Perhaps not...but just think about it after June. You know yourself better than anyone else. Cliche' yes, but appropriate to close with nonetheless.

Razkar said...