Honolulu. Pasig. White Rock. New York. These are just some of the major marathons and triathlons that Leica Carpo, runner and triathlete, has joined since she started running in Aug 2007. Last November, she finished the NYC Marathon with a time of 3:40, which qualified her to run in the prestigious Boston Marathon this coming April.
Lucky me. I had the pleasure of interviewing her to find out the secrets to her unbelievable performance:
First of all, congratulations on qualifying for Boston Marathon, a feat accomplished by only a few FIlipino runners. THANK YOU.
How did you feel running at NYC Marathon?
I felt great and barely felt ‘the wall’ at kilometer 30 I just focused on running tall, breathing easily and soaking in the positive atmosphere. The weather made a big difference for me. It was cold (40 degrees) so I did not get as tired as when I run here. I enjoyed the weather and the NYM organizers did an excellent job of making the marathon as much a joy as any running trial can be. From the perfectly positioned and executed water/Gatorade refuel stations, medical aid stops, energetic bands ranging from rock to gospel to the positive spirit that the volunteers and crowds reverb with. The city came alive and rallied behind the runners. It’s a lifetime running memory that I would want for any runner.
What was it like to cross the finish knowing that you had qualified for Boston along with your sister, Amanda?
I was happy to see I made my sub 4 goal and did not know what the time was for qualifying for Boston at the time I crossed. I just ran at a pace that was relaxed and comfortable for the distance I felt I had to cover. I love the fact I qualified with my sister Amanda. I have a training buddy I can rely on to encourage and push me to do better.
You finished your first marathon in Honolulu at 4:22 and, a mere two months later, you ran Pasig River Marathon at 4:25. At NYC Marathon, you finished strong at 3:40, a significant improvement from your first two marathons. What would you say was the key factor in your training that led to your faster time?
The weather in NYC and my training program with POLO TRI for Triathlon training. I trained for a 70.3 distance so that ‘s 6 hours of exertion vs. my goal of sub 4. I had a stronger base for NYM then my first 2 marathons. For Pasig I was coming from Christmas Holidays and only planned to run two weeks before barely enough time to recover (for my level) and not enough time to improve. Another factor I think is a serious taper which is one of the hardest things for most runners to do because they like to run everyday and get cranky when they can’t get in the mileage. As for me since my sister was getting married two weeks before Manda and I had no choice we had to join in the wedding festivities and were forced to get off our feet and rest. Its always better to race rested after (solid training program). You need to feel like you can’t wait to run and legs should feel fresh. Both my sisters and cousin finished well under their sub 4 race goals for this NYM :>
What was your weekly training program for NYC Marathon like?
15 to 20 hours a week. Intensity varied from easy (zone 1- 2 heart rate) to hard (Zone 3-4 heart rate).
It’s uncommon for runners to race 3 marathons in 11 months as this can lead to overtraining and injuries. How did you ensure that your body, especially your legs, were free from injury?
Follow a well-rounded program created by a seasoned coach or runner. Proper cross training is the key. Listen to your body and don’t let aches and pains go unchecked. Proper nutrition, hydration, and the addition of (core and weights training are also good ways of ensuring you remain injury free).
How are you preparing yourself for Boston this coming April?
More running and cross training in a similar terrain as Boston. More course specific—e.g.downhill running etc
Any goals in mind after Boston?
2 or 3 TRI races (SUBIC, IM CAMSUR 70.3 and maybe one more marathon towards end of the year).
How do you balance running with everything else in your life?
Wake up early to train. So discipline is key so you can keep all the balls in the air. I’m lucky that my work allows me to be flexible with my time.
Why do you run?
Because it makes me feel good about life and myself.
Any tips for beginners?
The first 15 minutes are always the hardest part of running—just stick to it and I promise it will get easier. Take it one step at a time. Run with a run group you will get motivated, learn from other runners and it will make time pass faster. I like to focus on the finish line when I get tired it keeps me going. Other thing I drilled into myself early on is to never enter a race I won’t finish. From training for it properly to motivating myself through the tough parts—one step forward no matter how slow or small is still better then not moving or going backward.
Read “How I Qualified for the Boston Marathon” by Leica Carpo on Inquirer.net
Read past Runner’s Interviews here.