Often we ended up side-by-side in races and always had a lot of fun! I was thrilled when he asked me to coach him. I knew we could do great work together. I have known Rich for awhile now and I am so invested in seeing him run his best. When he runs well I feel like I ran well too! I ran Steamtown the same day Rich ran Chicago. The first thing I wanted to do when I finished the race was try to figure out what Rich's results were.
Here is Rich's Report from that day!
|Rich Timlen (6th from left) with his running partners|
Runners began to shed their throw-away sweatshirts, double and triple-tie their laces and make sure their GPS watches were fully charged and ready to record every step of the 26.2-mile journey through the Windy City.
With a mix of anxiety and excitement, I waited inside Corral B for the start of the Chicago Marathon. But this morning, Chicago was once again going to be relegated to Second City status. The only city on my mind – Boston.
For the past year, I have been obsessed with qualifying for the Boston Marathon. My coach, Shannon McGinn, had me in BQ shape for my May marathon (Pocono Run for the Red), but drenching humidity slowed my effort and I missed my 3:15 cutoff time by a little more than three minutes.
I was confident that Chicago, with its flat course and deafening support from the masses, would provide me with a chance to get even with the Marathon Gods.
As she always does, Shannon provided an extremely detailed plan of what I would need to do, from what to eat and when to eat it (sorry, I didn’t listen and had the deep dish pizza) to what paces I would need to hit to reach my goal. In this case, that pace was 7:27 per mile, but realistically it would have to be below 7:25 since marathons always run longer than advertised.
Before the start, I was concerned that I would get caught up in the excitement of the first mile and go way too fast. Turns out, I did the exact opposite and I believe that set the tone for the entire race. First mile – 7:42. Yikes! Way too slow, I thought.
Right after that, however, I settled into Shannon’s prescribed paces perfectly – 7:13, 7:18, 7:20, 7:16, 7:20, 7:28, 7:14, 7:24, 7:15, 7:13 and 7:21. I take pride in the nickname – The Metronome - given to me by my running partner, Nikki Drader, for my ability to stay on pace. And I wasn’t about to sabotage my goal by starting too quickly.
I crossed the half marathon mark in 1:37:11, which made me a little nervous knowing that I would almost have to negative split to reach my BQ goal. Instead of panicking, however, I listened to Shannon’s advice and didn’t start thinking of picking up the pace until mile 20, when the marathon really begins.
The miles ticked by – 7:16, 7:14, 7:14, 6:52 (ok, maybe I panicked a bit), 7:10, 7:27, 7:26, 7:28. At that point, mile 21, I became a little bit concerned since my pace was going in the wrong direction a tiny bit and I heard the announcer behind me welcome the 3:15 pacing group.
Well, that must have lit a fire under my ass. Mile 22 was 7:16, 7:05, 7:24, 7:12 and mile 26 at 7:17. I made the turn toward the finish line and I could see the clock at the 3:13 mark. I knew every second matters when it comes to getting into the Boston Marathon. I used up every last ounce of energy I had (6:30 pace for the last .20), heard the announcer butcher my name (Rich Tilllllman coming to the line) and stepped across the finish in 3:13:48 – Boston qualifying effort.
Being the pessimist that I am, my first thought was “damn, that’s not enough of a cushion to get into Boston.” But I quickly put those negative thoughts aside and focused on what I had just accomplished – a five-minute PR and a BQ.
I took this journey by myself, but I couldn’t have reached these goals without my incredible teammates from the Clifton Roadrunners and my coach, Shannon. Oh, and the deep dish pizza.