Dear MILF Runner,
I need to PR in some stuff and BQ this year to prove my worth to humanity. I race almost every weekend, am training consistently and think I deserve some new numbers to put on my blog. I need everyone to know how fast I really am...not just how fast I am during training runs or how fast I've raced in the past (it never ends up being a true reflection of how fast I can go). I need an accurate display of my true speed because that determines my personal value in this world. It seems like everyone is always PR'ing at every race they run and in every workout they post on their blogs. I'm getting pretty pissed off that they can do that and it never happens for me. I'm starting to dread running more and more with each passing day because my times are not showing my true speed and that makes me feel more and more worthless.
What I want to know is this: can you tell me some races (particularly marathons because they are the coolest and really only worthwhile distance even though I've never run one) that are on easy courses? You know, flat (or downhill) and fast and pretty much guaranteed that I will for sure definitely BQ on race day? I know CIM and Ogden Marathon are easy? Do you recommend either of those as a staging ground for my societal redemption?
I train hard. I just need the right course. Please help?
Dear Numbers Obsessed,
You're killing me. Your outlook is so warped and your sense of entitlement is really fucking irritating. You're whining. Do you know that?
It's not the course; it's the athlete. And a little luck. Okay, sometimes a LOT of luck.
EASY. You want an EASY marathon? Fuck you. Twenty-six point two miles is not going to be easy. Ever.
Sure there are courses reputed to be "fast," but look at what happened at CIM this past year. Some PR'ed, most didn't, and some didn't even start because of the extremely shitty weather.
Some of the "fast" courses are at altitude. Do you train at altitude? One never knows how one's body will react to altitude – as with all oxygen-deprivation situations. Try to prepare at sea-level for worst-case scenario by doing your long and tempo runs while breathing through a cocktail straw clenched between your teeth after whacking yourself in the forehead with a ball peen hammer.
And downhill? This term is very misleading. A net downhill course often means rollers, so you need to be ready for a few uphills, too. Remember also that downhill races will fry your quads if you aren't adequately prepared, rendering your legs useless in the final miles.
Furthermore, due to a literally shitty turn of events, many a runner on track to PR a race has been sidelined by a pitstop. Yeah. What if you need to take a crap? Unless you want to be THAT picture (scroll down to #9) on someone else's blog, you'd better make the stop.
Even if you've had a spectacular training cycle, the weather is your personal idea of perfection, you're hitting all of your splits right on the money (or even a little ahead of schedule), you might step in a pothole and twist your ankle. Buh-bye, PR.
Nothing is a guarantee.
The bottom line on BQing and PRing is this (I'm letting you in on a secret here – one many running bloggers do not know – so shhhhhh): no one really gives a shit what your times are. Whew! Isn't that a load off? Okay, okay. People will be happy for you or disappointed for you depending on the outcome, but the ones that matter don't really care about that number – they care about YOU. You can let go of that twisted and wrong idea that your value is determined by your running! If your times are important to YOU, keep training, get your head together and realize that you do not need to prove your worth to anyone.
My advice is to stop trying to orchestrate a PR. Shit happens on race day. Good shit and bad shit. Races are a lot like life. You can spend all this time preparing for what you think might possibly happen, and what usually happens is not something you thought of. It's how you handle these surprises that matters.
Just make sure you're not wearing the wrong color sparkly skirt come race day because that shit will make or break you.
Hope this helps :)
****USED BRA WINNER****
mickiruns gets it. It was a totally arbitrary decision. Totally on a whim. I decided that she was the only person I didn't have to BEG to enter. Her faith and courage are to be rewarded. mickiruns, email me your mailing info – my email is on the contacts page.