Out of the 11 marathons I've completed in my day, my most successful one was two years ago at the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon. My goal was to come in under 3:05 and qualify for Boston, which I achieved with a minute and 55 seconds to spare after a very intense and bumpy training cycle.
Now, two years later, I am throwing everything I have at one last training cycle. It's one last effort for a big PR. Namely, a sub 3 hour marathon. The problem is, I'm constantly wondering if it's enough. I'm constantly comparing this training cycle to the one I went through two years ago.
Then: 32 years old and married.
Now: 34 years old and married with a 14 month old son.
Then: Ran almost exclusively in the afternoons after work.
Now: Running almost exclusively in the mornings before work.
Then: Topped out at 73 miles per week. No running on Mondays and some serious speedwork on Thursdays, including lots of stadium stairs and 100 meter sprints at 100% effort.
Now: Topping out around 60 - 65 miles per week. Maintaining my running streak by doing one slow mile on Mondays. Speedwork in the morning is difficult because it's still dark at 5am. Also I can't sprint at 100% for fear of aggravating my left quad.
Then: No alcohol or soda. Significantly cut down on junk food and restaurant meals.
Now: No alcohol or soda. Significantly cut down on junk food and restaurant meals.
Then: Brought my weight down to 130 by marathon day.
Now: Currently at 139.
Then: Strict bedtime of 10pm, up at 6am for work.
Now: Loose bedtime of 8-9pm, up at 4am to run then get ready for work. Quality of my own sleep largely depends on the quality of my son's sleep.
Then: Strength work after every run: pushups, pull-ups, abs, dumbbells, etc. Also jump roping.
Now: Always pressed for time, my post run routine has been significantly decreased.
Then: Rode my bike to work 2.5 miles every day.
Now: Riding my bike to work 1 mile every day.
Then: Ran the Rock n' Roll Philly Half at full effort in September; backed out of Baltimore Marathon in October due to shin splints.
Now: Rock n' Roll Philly Half moved to end of this month due to Pope visit; slated to run Baltimore Marathon this Saturday as a long run.
Then: Took 1.5 weeks completely off of running in middle of October and another week at low mileage to recover from shin splints.
Now: No major injuries. Hitting all the miles.
Then: Self doubt high.
Now: Self doubt high.
Then: Wanted a BQ more than anything else in life.
Now: Sub 3 would be fantastic, but a PR or 3rd BQ would also be good.