If training for the past winter taught me anything is that you must learn to push through the pain. The next logical progression after last year’s training for the Baltimore marathon was to sign up for the winter Speed Development Program offer by coach Tom Brennan of MCRRC. The speed workout sessions on the track were brutal, there were times I couldn’t keep with my group and had to fall back, especially the mile interval repeats.
But like all other worthy endeavors if you have the guts to stick with it and consistently put in the required effort some good will come of it. For me, the training came to fruition during the Cherry Blossom 10 mile race on 4/11/2010
All the required conditions were there
- Flat course
- Good Weather
- Good Sleep
- Ample Training
Check, check, check AND check.
I’ve heard from a lot of club members that their best PR was set on this course, its basically and flat loop course with elevation no higher than 50 feet. The weather was perfect for racing, chilly in the morning but will warm up to around 60 degree during the race. As for sleeping I’ve learned to get a good night of sleep 2 nights before race day. I stayed in Friday night and went to bed at 10pm. Finally the most important part of all, the training. I tried to put in as much effort as I can during the track workouts and long runs. There were good days and bad days but I always showed up.
I got to the race at 6:15 AM I called up one of my friend who’s also running it to see where he’s at. After 3 tries and him not picking up I left him a message to meet up with me at the national mall under the big pointy thing protruding from the ground. I never saw him until we both finished the race, maybe I should’ve been a little more specific 🙂
The advice from coach Tom was to take it easy the first 3 miles, running slower than my anticipated race pace, slowly build up to race pace at mile 3 and keep it consistent for the next 4 miles. At mile 7, the training will show and instead of fading, this is where I need to make a stand and push through the pain to achieve my goal time.
For ONCE, everything actually went according to plan. I ran the first 3 miles at a comfortable pace of 8 min/mile. At mile 3 I picked it up to a semi comfortable pace of 7:45 min/mile. I kept it going for 4 miles. At mile 7 I was hurting, but I remember what coach Tom had said and decided to keep pushing the pace instead of falling back to avoid the pain. This was a huge revelation for me, I finally proved to myself that it IS all mental and your body WILL obey if your mind commit to it. I pushed the pace harder and ran through the pain. I kept picking up the pace and at mile 9 I decided to go for an all out sprint to the finish line. I finish with a net time of 1:17:24 and a 7:45 min/mile pace. This was a new PR for me at this distance.
The one thing I got out of this race is that pain is a part of our sport and I have to mentally commit to each and every training runs or races to get the full benefits.
At my current fitness level that was the best that I can do. But I am hopeful because I now realize I can get faster and faster. My goal is to qualify for the Boston marathon. For that, I need to keep a steady pace of 7:15 min/mile for a duration of 3 hours and 10 minutes at a distance of 26.2 miles 🙂
A full detailed of my run can be found at the link below