How not to BQ

My title, of course, is in total jest.  I had no illuisions of BQ-ing.  For those of you who share my lack of ambition, feel free to follow in my footsteps.  Those of you with their sights set on Boston, well, here are your "don't"s.  You're welcome. 

1.  Schedule only three runs a week. OK, I didn't actually schedule my runs.  The SmartCoach app did.  I did, however, set my weekly distance at 16-20 miles and let it take it from there, and when I saw an entire training plan of three days a week, I was pretty happy.

1a.  Regularly skip runs.
Scheduled miles: 282
Actual miles run:  270-ish
*Keep in mind that my actual training plan ended 4/10.  So I'm low on miles AND had an extra 3 weeks to fit them in.

2.  Train on a different surface than your marathon.  I'm not entirely sure this was a misstep. My plan early on was to run the majority of my long runs on trails.  My thinking was that 1) trails are more fun, 2) trails would be easier on my knees, and 3) even though my pace would be slower, what I lost in speed I'd make up for in strength.  One and two were true, for sure.  But comparing where I am now and where I was in October for my half, I'm slower.  At least, I'm slower over distance.

3. Don't make the marathon your athletic priority.  While the majority of my training time has gone to the marathon, it's not my A goal for the year; the adventure race is.  When I look at what I'd like to do this year, I'm starting to see "jack of all trades, master of none".  It's hard to excel at something when you don't really focus on it.  On one hand, I'm doing this for fun (or "fun"), so I don't want to pass up things that sound like fun.  On the other hand, it's more fun to meet your goals than not (a problem solved by setting my "success" bar low).

3a. Sign up for anything that sounds fun.  Trail race? Sure! Bike ride? Let's go! Adventure race? You bet! Doesn't fit into the plan?  Eh, plans are made to be broken (wait, that's rules.  Rules are made to be broken...plans are made to be changed.  Or forgotten.)  I suffer from AADD (Athletic Attention Deficit Disorder); I can't focus on just ONE event.

4. Hurt yourself doing something stupid.  Miss 2 weeks of training. OK, the main place I think this hurt me is where I wasn't able to fit in one more long run.  I'd planned to do a 22-23 mile run.  I know the plan stopped at 20, but I know myself, and I'd have been a lot stronger in that last 6 miles with a run closer to the full distance under my belt.

5.  During the marathon, use half your energy talking and waving your arms and generally being goofy. I said this in my marathon race report, but it bears repeating.  My brother told me, "You're using more energy talking and waving your arms than I am running!" He was probably right.  My priority was definitely a) finishing and b) having fun rather than any kind of time goal.

I miss the marathon. 

I thought I'd enjoy a week or so where I wasn't even supposed to run, but it's making me crazy.  I miss having that goal ahead of me.  I miss having the occasion to look forward to.  And it's kind of like losing your virginity.  There may be other marathons (there will be other marathons), but there'll never be another first.  At least I didn't waste my first marathon on an unworthy race.  I can't say that for the other.

My brother sent me a message on Tuesday saying, "I want to do another one now that I know I can do it."  Me, too.  At the time, I was already looking for upcoming marathons.  This next one will come with a time goal, too.  I'm okay with a sub-5:00 marathon, but I've got my sights set on 4:30.  If we hadn't blown up in the last 6 miles, I'd have been darn close to that this time.

I've got some cool stuff coming up.  Conquer Castlewood on May 22.  It's a canoe-mtb-trail race.  You compete on a team, canoeing together and riding and running on your own.  Teammates times are added together for the team time.  Oh, and I've never met my partner. 

That same day is the Indian Camp Creek 3/6 Hour mountain bike race.  It takes place not far from the other race, and later.  And the course is supposed to be "beginner friendly".  I'm thinking that if there's any way I can, I'm doing it.  AADD.  What better way to swim than jumping in, right?

And on May 28, my husband's church is holding its annual 5K race.  This is where I set my 5K PR last year (28:00), and I'd like to beat that this year, so that's what I'm targeting with my next few weeks of running.  I'm really excited to do half mile speedwork intervals instead of the mile ones I did in marathon training. :) 


  1. You call it AADD, I call it Adventure Spirit. You either have it or you don't.

  2. I love 3a! I'll never BQ. I guess I have to bandit it instead - that could be an adventure in itself.

  3. fun post. i like the last one. i always talk to someone new every mile.

  4. AADD is the funniest acronym I have seen in a long time! Ain't it the truth? lol

  5. marathons are addicting for sure! This is great. ;) You should totally do another one. :) You're on my blog roll now! :)

  6. I like your approach to trying lots of things but you're right, it might not work if you have specific goals in mind.

  7. I think you should keep doing what's fun...eventually you will get to the point where you are ready to make a true effort to get that BQ.

    OR - you could give up the idea of a BQ and instead work towards Western States....

  8. Trails definitely make you strong but they definitely make you slow as well. I have different goals but they are all running related. Since lots of my goals are ultras I gave up the goals for good times.

  9. Good luck on the 5k, I am sure you will get the PB.
    You have run a marathon and from now you will always think to run the next...the next...the next.
    We are addicted.

  10. I love #5. How much better did that make the experience! During my first marathon I spotted my family and friends way before they spotted me each time and waved and yelled like a madman. Loved it.

  11. Did I ever tell you that my first marathon I ran was around my neighborhood? That's right, no fanfare, no starting gun. I measured 26.3 miles the night before, then the next morning I went out and ran a marathon. I'm not kidding. My wife was waiting for me at our house and I fell into her arms crying. It was quite a moment.

    Anyway, I didn't waste ANY energy in that marathon.

  12. So many cool things coming up for you. I can't wait to be completely better and able to get a few fun races or activities in!

    Yeah, BQing is not on my agenda...but, I do hope to one day run a "perfect-for-me" race. You know, no injury, nice weather, strong and rested, and able to do my best :)

  13. When I first read your title I thought it said "how not to bbq" and I thought I might be able to help since I bbq 52 weekends per year (unless I'm out of town) :-).

    I thought you did awesome and built a lot of endurance without serious injury in a fairly short amount of time. Maybe you should right a training book using your approach. It worked!

  14. I like your plan. It's way more fun than my plan.

  15. Don't forget that you're supposed to run one of the biathlons, too. I've got a road bike for you to use if you want to do Highland on Memorial Day.

  16. I'm with Chris. Your plan rules. My plan sucks and takes too much time. Trails, here I come!

  17. S.K. hilarious comment on my Blog. I am starting to seem a pattern with some of you comment subjects :-)

  18. Please wear protection you marathon hussy. I'm pretty sure you will make some lofty future goals -in fact, I'm counting on hearing about them!

  19. Hi Kate, I'm doing a quick story on Conquer Castlewood for the Ballwin-Ellisville Patch. If you could e-mail me at dawn.runge@gmail with a brief descroption on yourself, any past experience with CC, and what you hope to get out of CC by 1pm today (May 18), I'll be able to include you in the article.


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