As she prepares for her attempt at a sub 2:50 marathon and a future attempt at a 50+ Boston Marathon age group record, FNF caught up with this month’s In the Hunt contributor, Christine Kennedy, as she departed work to repack for this weekend’s race – turns out the forecast is for 103 degrees!
Christine is a newer member of Focus-N-Fly’s longtime morning training group in Palo Alto, California.
FNF: How have the last few weeks gone for you as you prepped for this weekend?
CK: Actually really good. I’ve been really happy with the training. It is so different from what I’m used to doing. It is always good to be open for change in anything and if be willing to change and learn something from someone who has already done it. It certainly is a totally new training for me. For instance, we did a track workout the week of leading to a marathon.
FNF: What would have been your pattern in the past?
CK: Sunday I’d do 10 mile run, then 4-5 mile easy runs the rest of the whole week. But nothing specific, nothing 6 minute pace. He’s [Coach Tom] is keeping me sharp all the time. It is exciting. I feel I am much better than I have been in a long time.
FNF: What are some details you have found out so far about the race?
CK: Well, it will be hot, but if it is hot it will be the same for everyone. I won’t worry about that until the morning of though. The race says there are 36 women under 3:00 listed, which seems like a lot.
FNF: The St. George Marathon is known for being a very fast, slightly net downhill course. Since it is no longer eligible to be an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, do you still want to set some records out there?
CK: This race is for me, to give me the confidence to go to Boston and break the Boston [age group] record. But, I’m trying out a whole new training program. Three months [since she joined FNF] is very short to have any major expectations, but Boston is the perfect training time. So after this, Coach can see where I am at and where I need to get to.
FNF: What are you looking forward to doing, in terms of race execution?
CK: The great thing is I feel very fit and feel more confident. Coach has given me back the confidence I need. The biggest thing is that first mile in 6:50 and next mile 6:40. Tom says if I go any faster, he’ll be watching!!! I’ll definitely do it his way. I'm excited to see what happens.
FNF: What have been some challenging workouts in this final lead-up to the race?
CK: Although there is a group of us out in the mornings [FNF’s longtime morning training group in Palo Alto, California], most of the workouts have been by myself. One really hard one was 3 mile repeats at 5:58 pace, then 45 min at 7:20 pace, then back to 3 miles at 5:58 pace. Coach ran the last two miles with me because there was nobody left on the track by the time I got back! That was great that he was willing to jump in and help me through it.
FNF: Anything else about your training cycle that has been different than most?
CK: Coach tells me I race too much. I’m very loyal to my team [Tamalpa], and it is very important to me to be able to help out the team in the cross country season. If there are four of us or five us scoring, I want to be a part of the team and help them out.
I’ve been going to the chiropractor twice a week and therapist once a week, so I’m living in both places basically! I feel like when I got there and get a massage; I can get back out there on the track. As soon as I finish the track I go get a workout on my body so next time I am ready again.
FNF: So, what’s next on the schedule following St. George?
CK: Well, Coach wants me to take a month off, but I’ll definitely take two weeks (laughter in voice) and learn to swim. We have clubs [Pacific Association Cross Country Championships on November 21], and the national cross country in December, so that will be what I am hoping to do.
FNF: Any final comments as you head out to the race?
CK: I think because I have heard so many people talk about how fast this race is, I’m look forward to seeing if this race is really downhill! I’m hoping to run 2:50. I think just knowing you have a faster turnover is good. You still have to run the 26 miles even if it is a bit downhill!
Best wishes to Christine from all of us at FNF!