As I said in this interview, the main goal of this fall was to compete well at the Chicago Marathon on October 9th. However, Chicago is just another step in learning the marathon and preparing to compete my best at the 2012 Olympic Trials. Realistically, a marathoner’s best years are in their late 20s to early 30s, so at the age of 25 at the 2012 Olympic Trials in January I am still several years from potentially my best marathoning.
The Kauai Marathon had not only exceeded my expectations in terms of my own fitness, but also made me love and enjoy the sport even more from the amazing people I met in Kauai. Recovering after a marathon is more challenging than recovering after a 5k, but I did all of the little things and followed Coach Hudson’s advice to a T. What can be tougher for an athlete is coming back after a great performance. The emotional high that follows a fantastic race can be difficult to come down from and gather up for the next race. However, I’ve learned a lot over the years of how to manage my nervous energy. This may not seem like a big issue but if you think back to your best race, how often did a not-so-good performance follow? Was it your physical or mentally recovery that slacked?
One (of many) huge lesson I learned from Coach Sullivan was that consistency is key. But wait a minute, being consistent in what? How about everything! What that means is when you have a vision, a goal, a dream always in your mind’s eye you never stray from the path to get there. Between Kauai Marathon and Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon, I stayed consistent in everything from post-run nutrition, stretching, massage, foam roll, sleep, proper paces during workouts, long runs, and easy days, and my core routine, which on a side note my high school cross country runners already hate :-). It seemed like I was continuously getting criticized by everyone for doing these races so close. Common theme “so you don’t want to PR in Chicago or Philly?” or “Are you taking two weeks completely off after Kauai?” or my favorite “So, you don’t care about the Olympic Trials?” None of this deterred me because I know how my body recovers and understand the mental energies associated with racing. I stayed 100% consistent and committed to my plan.
What happened two weeks after Kauai? One of my best executed races ever. I’ve struggled with negative splitting road races and finishing strong, many times getting carried up in a pack rather than running my own race. On the streets of Philadelphia, I wanted to just beat my personal best (1:05:02 on a net-downhill San Francisco course), and negative split. With these splits and running the 2nd half of the race solo, you can see I executed my race plan perfectly, running a new personal best 1:04:59. Splits: 456, 500, 455, 454, 459, 500, 456, 500, 502, 454, 454, 454, 454, 32.2
This race was a true test of staying consistent, both mentally and physically. Keep your ‘mind’s eye’ on your ultimate goal, on where you see yourself as an athlete in the next week, month, year, and decade. Stay consistent in everything you do to reach that vision and do not let other’s damage your dreams!
This was yet another race organization that had a wonderful staff and volunteers. The folks at Competitor Group organized a spectacular event on the streets of Philadelphia. The event was organized to be fast and help young Americans achieve the Olympic Trials qualifiers. After the men’s winner ran 58 minutes, the women’s winner ran 1:07, and more than a dozen men & women combined ran faster than the qualifier, the race was a definite success. Also a big congrats to Adam Goucher for qualifying for the Olympic Trials with a 1:04:53. Adam wrote a book and is available on the website http://www.runtheedge.com/. He struggled with over 2 years of injury to come back and qualify for the Olympic Trials in his first race back. That my friends, is inspirational. Also a shout-out to the guy who chatted with me a half-mile into the race and said he loved reading my blog. Awesome! Hope you had a good race too!! Thank you to Competitor Group for having me in the talented elite field at the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon! I highly recommend anyone do a Rock N Roll race because of the organization, fun atmosphere, and spectator friendly course design.
Speaking of spectators, I really want to thank everyone who came out to support, including my parents who I cannot say enough how much I love them & their support of my running. Good friends Patrick Murphy, Dennis O’Connor, ( both of whom were teammates of mine at Penn State), and Matt Owens came out to support and it was good catching up at lunch afterwards. It was also fun running with former teammate Brian Fuller who ran 1:07:09 in his first try at the distance! Having a Pumpkin Ale for the first time this fall with a friend from elementary school, Kevin Thomas, and Jeff Abbott was a perfect ending to Sunday.
Thanks for reading the blog and hope it inspired you to keep your dreams in your mind’s eye…consistency is key! 19 days until the Chicago Marathon and I’m ready to take another step in becoming the athlete I dream about being…