Time is flying by and my major athletic objective of 2016 is right around the corner. I’ll run my first marathon (the Zurich Marató de Barcelona) on Sunday, March 13, with the goal of finishing in less than three hours.
As mentioned in my last post, I’ve done two main practice runs to prepare for the marathon. The first one was the Barcelona half-marathon. My objective was very clear: to run it in less than 1 hour 20 minutes. It was an ambitious goal, especially now that my training is more geared toward the marathon, where endurance is more important than strength (to achieve my half-marathon goal, I would need both).
My strategy was to complete the first half in 37 minutes 30 seconds and run at a more relaxed pace for the second half. My time at the halfway mark was 37 minutes 30 seconds. Everything was going fine until km 19, when my legs stopped working. I simply ran out of gas, and my brain told my body “Enough already, no big deal if you can’t finish.” Thanks to my friend Juan, who gave me a pep talk that appealed to my drive for self-improvement, I remembered that, when you feel that you can’t go on, you still have 50% left in your gas tank. I decided to let up a little bit, and to my surprise, I realized that the group that I was running with wasn’t that much farther ahead. I told myself: it’s now or never. I buckled down and managed to cross the finish line at 1 hour 19 minutes 38 seconds.
Here’s a picture of my friends, Jorge and Alex and me after the race. You can see happiness and suffering reflected in our faces. Jorge is an MBA classmate. Talking with him and other classmates is a great reminder of the MBA candidates we once were and how we focused our energies during the different stages of the application process.
On Sunday, February 28, I ran my last race before the marathon. The race is called Maratest and it’s a 30-km run especially designed so athletes preparing for the marathon can do a last practice training as a group. I made a tactical error in this race that hopefully will serve as a lesson for the marathon. My error was as follows: the goal of the race was to run the 30 kilometers as you would a marathon, meaning 4 minutes 15 seconds per kilometer. Without letting up. Nonetheless, I ran at my limit and paid the price for it, since it took me days to recover.
I finished 34th out of 3,000 athletes. With sores on my feet and the aftereffects of overexertion that still make me question whether it was worth it. Here is a picture of me at the finish line.
Luckily I haven’t had to travel for work over these last weeks, so I’ve been able to train comfortably. Last week we had an application deadline for the third round. As I’ve explained before, we have four rounds. As a general rule, we urge candidates to apply in the first rounds, since the class fills up as the rounds progress.
Also, I just took on a new project: the Young Talent Program, a pathway to the MBA for students in their last years of college. I’m very excited about it, especially since my first stop to present the program is my alma mater, the engineering school where I earned my undergraduate degree. I’ll take a step back in time for a few hours.
That’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted before the big athletic event.
Until then, kilometers!