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June 2020
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Toledo Half Marathon and New Goals

Back in September of 2011, Susan found out her Marine Corps Marathon time from 2010 qualified her for the Boston Marathon. I had not been nearly as good as Susan about keeping in shape since the USMC Marathon and decided if I trained with her through the winter I could get back in shape and help Susan train over while putting in long, cold winter miles. With this in mind I signed up for the Toledo Half Marathon in April 2012. Somehow I also managed to convince my little sister to sign up as well. The Toledo Half was just 6 days after Boston so it would be a good chance to be on the same training cycle as Susan, run with my sister, and see our family in the area.

Fast forward to November and a particularly nice stretch of weather. During the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving I ramped up my mileage way too quickly — something I warn every one of my friends about — and ended up causing a stress injury to my left ankle. When my ankle was still sore after walking or slowly jogging as little as 2 or 3 miles in February I knew my hope for a fast half marathon was not going to be possible and I decided the best thing I could do was to get to work losing the weight I had gained after USMC and running a very limited schedule to prep for Toledo.

April 22 was a clear and cold morning in Toledo. The temperature was 45 and winds were from the north about 5-10mph which is a bit cold for standing around but very good running weather. Everyone headed over to the race site where we met up with my sister’s friend Allyson who Susan and I knew from Leslie’s wedding. It was Allyson’s first half marathon and her estimated pace was about what I wanted to run to test the recovery of my ankle.

Brian and Leslie pre-race

Brian and Leslie pre-race

We started out at around a 9:30/mi pace for the first 3 miles or so. That seemed a little fast so Allyson and I backed it off to a 10:00/mi pace. The course starts out from the UT Campus, through Ottawa Hills, before heading over to Wildwood Park. Mom and Allyson’s husband Pat were waiting for us in Ottawa Hills to cheer us on.

Brian and Allyson happy at 3 miles

Brian and Allyson happy at 3 miles

Once through Wildwood we turned down the bike bath for the final 4 miles to the Glass Bowl. About mile 10 Allyson’s knee started to act up and we backed off the pace a bit. Allyson had a goal of running 2:15:00 and we were on pace for that easily even slowing down so we both coasted on through the finish line. Leslie came across shortly after us and set a personal record for her improving her old time by over 15 minutes. GO LESLIE!

The three smiling finishers

The three smiling finishers

My race experience couldn’t have been any better. The pace seemed very easy and I was able to hold a consistent pace. Most importantly, there was no pain in my ankle. It turned out to be a gorgeous, pain free run through some very pretty parts of Toledo with a great running partner. Susan and I will almost certainly be back to run the full marathon in Toledo as it was a really pretty and fast course and we have family in the area. My final time was 2:13:42 which was nowhere near a personal best but it was a great step in my injury recovery.

I’ve decided that my new goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon just as Susan did. I was jealous watching Susan run Boston and decided I really want to share the experience she had. My fitness level is quite a bit away from being able to qualify. The first Boston I’ll have a shot at qualifying for will be Boston 2014 when I will be 40. I’ll need to run a 3:15:00 marathon to qualify and given that my personal best is a 3:55:51 I’ll have to do some serious work to qualify. Now that I’ve shown I can run longer miles without pain I’ve started back to an organized running program and am up to 25 miles a week and my weight is down 15 pounds since February.

My goal this year as an intermediate step to qualifying is to run a 1:35:00 half marathon at the BayState Half Marathon in October. That gives me about 24 weeks to keep putting in miles, losing weight, and having a great season of running!

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