Why RACE 26.2 miles virtually
Drew’s Motivation Behind His Virtual Boston Marathon
First and foremost, we’d like to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to RTA coached athlete Drew C! He CRUSHED the 2020 Virtual Boston Marathon last month by running a 🔥3:05🔥 with a negative split of 1:30 on the back half. 😯 OUTSTANDING, especially considering all of the circumstances.
This was all done on his lightest run volume ever and in a very limited time frame leading up the the race.
Additionally, it was THE BEST HE EVER FELT so late in the marathon AND the BEST HE EVER FELT IN THE 2 RECOVERY DAYS following his race.
This is only the beginning for Drew as we continue to work together and break through glass ceilings. …Did we mention, he’s going to be 40 😎. Not too shabby!!! 🤙
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
Below is a quick Q & A with Drew about running the ironic Boston Marathon, virtually.
Q & A with Drew Cruz
Why did you decide to race 26.2 miles virtually?
I had been injured from the end of 2019 into the first few months of 2020. After having had a structured plan and target race schedule for each of the past 10+ years I was really feeling the motivation and desire to challenge myself slipping away. Oh yeah – and that whole pandemic thing wasn’t exactly helping me stay positive. Thankfully, with the guidance of Coach Elizabeth and virtual treatment plan from my close friend & longtime PT Dr. Josh Grahlman (owner of Clutch PT in NYC), I was able to get some consistent training and confidence under my belt by mid May 2020.
As for why I did a virtual marathon… Well, qualifying for and racing Boston was a lifetime goal since I started running. I had qualified once before but didn’t race after the birth of our daughter Charlotte as my wife and I were adjusting to managing life/schedules. I snuck in a qualifier in late 2018 which would have expired after this year and I wasn’t sure when I’d run a marathon again. So why not do something big I can always remember when I look back at 2020! Regardless of virtual or not, I wanted that Boston Marathon unicorn medal.
What was it like to run (let alone RACE!) 26.2 miles virtually and with no real crowd or race support?
Well first off I was lucky to have my wife and daughter make signs for me and be outside the front of the house (which I started/finished at and passed 9x). Each time they surprised me cheering and with a new sign – so I was looking forward to seeing them every lap!
I actually really enjoyed doing this. This was the 7th marathon I’ve run, including Ironmans. It was of course very different, but looking back it was all about being comfortable in my own head and pushing myself- which is what long course racing comes down to. As there was no crowd stimulus or other athletes to push me, it made it all about maintaining my focus on the plan & execution.
Even though I was only racing for myself with nobody watching (beyond the casual neighbor out walking their dog I’m sure wondering what the hell I was doing with a bib on grunting they last lap!), I knew if I could get through this successfully that it would help me bank a major token towards the mental toughness bank for the future. I had a few tough races on big stages in recent years, so I was so happy to perform well in this one given the circumstances.
What was the hardest part?
Plotting out the course to make it work logistically took some planning weeks ahead. I tested out at least 7-8 versions of the course to make sure it allowed me the balance of nutrition/hydration I’d carry and what I could pick up each lap.
Of course I wanted to make sure it was safe from traffic, but I could come through my house – which meant trying to avoid intersections. Then of course making it as fast as I could.
Unfortunately, the best course I could plot had 25 turns per lap- so 3x meant 75turns! I got the job done though and being so familiar with the course, Mike markets and when I’d pop in nutrition/drinks made the race day much more manageable – as I’d practiced sections of the course a bunch.
What was the best part?
Without a question – the last 10k.
It sounds crazy to say since that is notoriously the hardest part. But Elizabeth and I had agreed to a play that put me in a position to “race the teens” (or miles 13-19) but be conservative up until then. I gotta admit I felt like I was concerned I was going to start it much slower than I normally would have for the first half of a marathon, but that made all the difference. The first half get easy with no matches burnt. By the time I got to the teens I dictated the pace and was under control.
When I got to mile 20, I had a lot left in the tank and was able to empty it with confidence vs. barely hanging on the last 3 miles – which was my feeling in all my prior standalone marathons. I credit the nutrition/hydration/pacing plan Elizabeth helped me put together. It was a game changer!
Was it difficult to stay motivated throughout the entire “race?”
It actually was not and it all went by faster than I even think my other races/long course events. Even though I was alone, I was so dialed in and there were no distractions – like keeping up with a competitor and wondering if I went out too hard trying to stay with someone who was faster…or worrying about grabbing drinks and getting my hydration in at aid station from someone. I’m sure I compromised some time by having to do all that myself, but the experience was awesome. It was truly was the best I felt in a marathon and end up being my 3rd fastest time ever.
Did you learn anything about yourself by doing this?
I learned that I still know how to dial it in and that I can pull out a good performance as I approach 40.
I thought that my fastest days were behind me. However, in a very accelerated training block in the lead up, … where we just wanted to get me through mileage and to the start line safely, I had some great runs. Race day itself was a HUGE confidence boost that with a new program & coach via RTA, that maybe my fastest days are still ahead of me!
Would you do it again?
I don’t think so – it was a one and done for me. I’d maybe do a shorter distance virtually (if the world forces us to have to do that for another year – hopefully less). However, racing a self supported marathon was a unique challenge and accomplishment that went well. I’d like to keep it a pleasant memory and not try to top it!
Are you interested in doing something EPIC? We work with a variety people with all kinds of goals. Whether you want to prepare for your FIRST triathlon (or run race), looking to go FURTHER and/or go FASTER. OR simply get in the BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE… we want to help YOU!
Learn more about RTA triathlon / run coaching HERE and contact us for a FREE, no obligation training consult with an expert coach.
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