Monday, September 2, 2013

Race preview: Queen City Marathon

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (the city that rhymes with fun)

WHEN?Sunday, Sept. 8

Queen City Marathon

I was pretty pleased with myself after ducking under
 my Boston qualifying time by 18 seconds in Houston this January, but between then and now it became clear that 2014 was not likely to be a good year for squeakers. When the mood shifted in late April from rescue to recovery and a client contacted me to write her a last-minute BQ plan (she made it by 35 seconds at Santa Rosa last month -- maybe not enough, but we'll see), I rushed to figure out my own backup plan. I considered Sioux Falls, Skagit Flats, Lehigh Valley and a couple others, but given the unpredictability of finding a temperate location in summer and knowing how I melt when it gets too warm, I went as cold as I could find.

As with many marathons around this time, interest in QCM was high and the race sold out long ago. The circumstances of all these record fields have to make many of these race directors uncomfortable, but hopefully they are taking the opportunity to put on the best races they can (although QCM is a little different; they've announced a sellout the last 4 years and probably would've gotten there anyway). I believe there are 800 folks signed up for this race.

Good now, but at risk of changing. It's going to be hot up there this week -- close to 90 -- but there's a cold front coming. The problem is, it was originally supposed to come through on Wednesday. Then the updated forecast had it cooler on Thursday... then Friday... and now it's not expected to cool off until Saturday. The current consensus for race morning is low to mid-50s with a chance of a thunderstorm -- acceptable, but very iffy and not as good as previous guesses has been. My biggest concern had been that the wind would stay down -- and it seems like it will be reasonable -- but if I go up there and it's hot, I'm gonna be pissed.


No pressure, but if I don't go up there and set a new PR, the entire trip will be recorded as a waste, unless my BQ-:18 is miraculously good enough. No offense to Canadians or the folks putting on the event -- who have a tremendous sense of humor by the way -- but this race would never have been on my radar if not for the bombing. If I lower my time and I still don't get accepted for Boston, well, there's not a whole lot I can do about that. I'm feeling confident. It will have been 8 weeks since I pinned on a bib, the longest stretch in more than 3 years, but my taper has finally helped my nagging Achilles issue subside. I'd like to break 3:05.

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