Training for this cycle has been sort of on track. I've been loosely following the Pfitz plan that I've follwed so many times before, but I haven't done all the runs as prescribed. My goal was to try and maintain fitness gained over the winter to make another BQ attempt in September before the BQ qualifying window for 2016 runs out. So the odd missed run or LT run cut short hasn't worried me too much.
A few weeks after my May marathon, I had signed up for the Erie Marathon on September 13, 2015. It's relatively close by in Erie, PA and is about a three hour drive away. I was initially looking for a race that would allow me to double dip, that is qualify me for both 2016 and 2017 and in years past, the Erie Marathon fit the bill. I had assumed that this years race would do the same. In July, Boston released the timing for the registration phase for the 2016 race and it appears that it's a week later than in years past which means that the Erie marathon is no longer a double dipper. It would allow me to qualify for 2016, but not 2017. A race done a week later on September 20, 2015 however will allow a double dipping.
|Yes George, double dipping is okay ... for races.|
So this now poses an interesting dilemma for me. I liked Erie because it's pancake flat, but the no double dipping thing is making me reconsider. I've looked into races on September 20 which would be double dippers and there are a few, including one in Rochester, NY which is even closer. There's also one in Montreal. However, these courses seem hilly by comparison and I'm looking for a fast, flat (or net downhill course with few hills). If I had been a bit more serious about training and bumped up the mileage, these might be doable, but I don't think my fitness is that much greater than it was back in May so there isn't really much more of a cushion for me. I'm still looking at September 20 options as there seems to be quite a few marathons on that date. I originally had no plans to fly and was looking for something relatively close by, but I will re-evaluate that if I can find a race with a fast course.
The other option is to do two marathons this fall, one to qualify for 2016 and one for 2017. I could do the Erie race and then do a November/December race which allow at least 6 weeks of recovery from the first marathon. The Hamilton marathon on November 1 is close by, is a net downhill, fast course which is a good BQ course. If I wanted to fly out to the west coast, CIM is an option in December if it doesn't fill up. Running two races isn't ideal however. The last option is to not run a September race and only attempt to qualify for 2017 by running an October or later race and hope that my time in May will be fast enough for 2016. This is a bit iffy as a blog has done a calculation and is guestimating the cutoff will be 90 seconds for next year. The only way this would drop is if Boston announces a significant increase in the number of participants for next year. This isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility so there's still a chance that my 70 seconds will be enough.
So I still have time to think about it with a little over a month to go until Erie. It's a tough decision to make and I'm still weighing the options.