For someone who is not particularly fond of math, I love playing with statistics. One of the cool parts of running 52 marathons in one year was being able to crunch so many numbers in such a short span of time.
When the year began, I had no idea that I would eventually get to the point where I would actually be improving my time and trying to set a new PR virtually every week. I figured I would be hanging on for dear life to finish them all under 4 hours, which was my original plan.
Of course, if you followed my running last year you know that the Leadville Marathon killed that campaign as the only marathon in North America the first weekend in July 1st (at an altitude exceeding 13,000 feet) had me pulling in a time of 5:17. Sure it was good enough for a top 50 placing but going over 4 hours rankled me to no end. Especially since if I had the money or the time I easily could have jetted over to Brussels (the next closest marathon to D.C. that weekend) and ran a flat fast course and easily gotten under 4 hours. Alas, I don't have a silver spoon in my mouth and had to keep working my job to pay the bills.
Over time I have come to grips with that anomaly of a time and have accepted it. When 2007 started, my goal was to never run a marathon over 3 hours again, barring injury or advanced age (like 20 years down the road). When the year's first marathon started with a blisteringly cold day in Greenbelt, MD and a time of 3:14, I thought" Well there goes that idea!"
Soon, I was off to Michigan to run another marathon and in spite of the race falling apart at the end I was able to keep a pact with myself by eking out a 2:59:58.
In Korea, I planned on walloping that time and 30k into the race was on a 2:49 pace. If you read that recap you know about the unknown to runners hills which appeared in the last 7 miles. Hence the 3:09.
No problem, let's head to Frederick, MD. The 3:03 there easily would have been sub-3 if not for the 30mph headwinds over the last 4 miles but I was fine with that given the Charity Chaser event I had done where in I started dead last and had to weave through a crowd. Following a very relaxed 5k the night before in one of my fastest 5k times ever, I thought the ship was righted.
Unfortunately, the Dalian Marathon, stomach flu (or whatever it was) and all of its accoutrements hit me like a ton of brick. By running a 4:40, I increased my lifetime average in 69 marathons by a minute and 9 seconds. Mother effer. Luckily I have a friend who is a lover of stats as much as I am who pointed out that I only need to average a 3:05:30 for my next 5 races to get back to where I was before Dalian. Of course, I don't even have 5 marathons planned for the rest of the year yet and have only run sub 3:05:30 three times in my life. Even then, I will only be back to where I was June 16th. Damn you stomach flu!
So here I sit with a lifetime average of 3:22. to be honest that kind of pisses me off. I have run nearly 70 marathons. That time will not be moving much with each marathon I run (unless I run another 4:40). while I was lucky to be able to run as many marathons at the speed I did last year, the sheer volume has doomed me. I would have to run 70 marathons at a 2:58 or so just to move my average to a #:10 Boston Qualifying time. And I have no real intention of running 70 more marathons.
Then again, if some things go my way in the near future I might be running far more than I planned!