From age 33 thru age 38, the primary focus of my racing career was on races between 5K and 10K. The goal was to try and hit certain times for PR's, race as often as possible, and to garner as much hardware as humanly possible. Over time I was able to push my 5K PR into the high 17's, and go sub 6 minute a mile pace for up to 5 miles. For some reason, I just couldn't hold that pace for those last two kilometers of a 10K and ended up with a 6:06 pace as my ultimate PR. Bye the time I was thirty eight, I began to realize I was starting to slow, and I decided to consider longer distance events.
Now I had run a 1:00:30 for 15K (a 6:30 pace), but none of the occasional half marathons I had run were in the realm of what I felt should have been my potential. And when I went to those race conversion charts, my half's were always slow. Along with this, I began to consider the upcoming 100th boston marathon, and the idea that I might finally run my first marathon in a quest to qualify. So beginning at age 39 and into age 40, I started to ramp up my weekly mileage from the low 40's to the low 50's, primarily with the inclusion of one extra long run and one medium long run each week. I had my boy Terrible helping me whenever he was available. I ran a few hilly 15 mile races in southern ohio and in west virginia, and began to run more half marathons in better times. In October of 1993, I decided to combine an Atlantic City vacation with a half marathon on the boardwalk that was part of a 4 race event....a 5K, a 10K, a half, and the full Atlantic City Marathon. I was looking to run the Atlantic City Marathon the following year as my first attempt at qualifying for boston in the allowable one year window, knowing that if I failed, I still had a full year to try and qualify at another race. So Deb and I headed to Atlantic City.
Race day weather was excellent.......about 40% humidity, little wind, an overcast cool start, with the sun holding off until the final three miles of the race. Bill Rodgers was running in the 5K (I think he finished 3rd....Deb got me a picture), Frank Shorter was running the 10K (I think he finished 6th.....again Deb got me a nice picture). These races all started together running along 4 miles of the boardwalk with turnarounds for the 5K and 10K on the boards, and my half marathon south of the city after climbing over one bridge. So for my race, it included 8 miles of total wood. It was a little of an odd sensation at the beginning, but once you got your stride adjusted, it felt fast. I got to the turnaround in exactly 44 minutes feeling pretty good, and thinking that if I could just hold pace, I could set a new PR from my previous of 1:29:50. Shortly after I got back on the boards, I started to pick up the pace with each mile. Seeing the clock a quarter mile or so in the distance at the finish line made me realize I had a shot at going sub 1:28, so I put my head down and did my best sprinting imitation, and came home in 1:27:30 for a new (and final) half marathon PR at a pace of 6:41 per mile. I was exhilarated and immediately knew that my very first marathon and first attempt at qualifying for the 100th boston marathon would come partly again on those wonderful boards.........but that story is for another time!