Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Houston Marathon. Coral assignments were finalized and I was in coral “C”. A few hours later, I received a “corrected” coral assignment and was in “A”. There are a total of four coral. So, which is correct? Do I belong with the fastest (non-elite) runners, or do I belong with the slower then average group?
Well, depending on how you look at it, both are correct.
This the second time that I have been granted top coral seeding based on previous finishers time (the other was Disney). Both times, the coral assignment was based on my finish time in a shorter event. When I am seeded based on a marathon time, I get pushed back…way back. During the past year, my short to mid-distance events have gotten stronger. My marathon has not. I hit a well between mile 15-18 and then just slog the rest of the way. You can see the difference in my PR’s:
I qualified for Houston based on my 10k result (sub-51:08 minutes) and my HM result (sub 1:52:55). But I was nowhere close to qualifying based on my marathon time (sub 4:00:00). In Houston, any of the 3 results got you qualified. Also, if you qualified based on time, you are automatically seeded in the front coral.
I think what happened was simple to explain. I got assigned “C” based on my projected finish time, then got pushed up to “A” based on the fact that I am a time qualifier.
This brings up two things to ponder. One, why is my marathon time so much weaker then my other races. I routinely do long run training (sometimes four 20+ mile runs before a marathon) but I lack the endurance (it’s the legs, not the cardio that kills me). Second, where do I line up on race day?
I think the answer to both is pretty simple. First, I am just a better runner at short distances. Maybe I will improve in the marathon distance with more experience. Maybe I won’t. I still love marathons. They are a bigger challenge and are usually the events that I build my season around. But I am just not that strong at that distance.
The second answer is easy as well. I will line up in “C”. It is where I belong in a long race, and I can join a realistic pace group there. I will be happy to see the big “A” on my bib, knowing that I did earn it. But, I need to be realistic and fair to the other runners….