I have registered for the Eisenhower Marathon. The race is in Abilene, Kansas on April 9 and is named in honor of Dwight Eisenhower, the great American president and Army general who lived in Abilene.
This is a huge race for me because a marathon PR is supremely important. I was so amped up about the 2010 Boston Marathon but never made it to Beantown because the race conflicted with our move to Denver. So I never got a shot at a new PR in Boston.
The 2011 Eisenhower Marathon is my shot. If the weather cooperates, my training stays strong and I'm healthy, I do believe a marathon PR is possible. My current PR is 2:58:28, set at the 2008 Cleveland Marathon. Since then, I've run two 2:59s--one of which was on a blown-up hamstring.
Eisenhower is an out and back run between 1,100-1,300 feet of elevation. So it's pretty much a sea level event. It has a few rolling hills, from what I understand. Living at 6,100+ feet, my hope is that the sea level air will be a huge benefit to me. Hard to say--we haven't gone to sea level since moving here.
My specific split goals for a sub-2:55 at Eisenhower will be in place as the race gets closer. But I would imagine my first-half split goal will be 1:27. My 20-mile split goal will be in the neighborhood of 2:13. It will not be easy! Hopefully the wind won't be a factor! But I do have some motivation--a time of less than 2:55 will virtually guarantee me a spot in the 2012 Boston Marathon.
Until then, lots of mileage, lots of speedwork and lots of tempo runs!