Improved training helps Blake Timm shave nearly 35 minutes off his time

A sore athlete walking a tad gingerly or slowly across campus is probably not an altogether unusual sight at Pacific University, especially on a fall Monday.

After all, every week this time of year, Boxers are coming off of a weekend of hard-fought football, soccer and volleyball games, and cross-country meets.

It’s a little more unusual, perhaps, when that athlete is the school’s Sports Information Director.

On Sunday, Blake Timm raced in the Portland Marathon. On Monday, he was back at work, putting out releases, answering phone calls and reveling in a pretty impressive accomplishment. Competing in his second Portland Marathon — and just his second marathon overall — the 37-year-old Timm recorded a massive new personal best in the race, completing the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours, 23 minutes, 51 seconds, a clip of 7:47 per mile.

That clocking was good for 395th place out of 6,844 finishers, who were treated to sunny skies and pleasant temperatures for this year’s edition of the event.

“Just to see it all come together and have a chance to run a great race was really gratifying,” Timm said Monday. “I was talking to someone here in the office a few minutes ago ... about how I look at people who run times like that. I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s a real good marathon time.’ I’m still coming to grips with the fact that that’s my PR now, too.”

Going into the race, Timm’s goal was to finish in 3:20. He was ahead of pace for the majority of the race but needed to take a bathroom break at about the 20-mile mark. Afterward, getting back on track proved difficult, but Timm still finished nearly 35 minutes faster than his marathon debut time of 3:58:25, which he ran in the 2010 Portland Marathon.

That massive improvement — which equated to a drop in time of about 1:20 per mile — was no accident. This year, Timm’s training was much more structured than it had been in 2010. He incorporated quality as well as quantity into his workouts, logging up to 52 miles per week, doing long runs of up to 20 miles, and getting in intervals and tempo runs to build speed and stamina. He has also lost nearly 25 pounds since February, getting down to a trim 164 pounds.

“It’s all a matter of change in training and taking things a bit more seriously this time and dropping weight, too,” said Timm, a 1998 Pacific graduate who participated in cross-country and track for the Boxers and picked the sport back up in 2008 after having struggled for several years with an Achilles tendon injury.

Not surprisingly, after his success, it appears that Timm has caught the marathon bug. Even Sunday night, he said, he was analyzing how he might be able to improve upon his performance. He has his sights set on potentially tackling another marathon sometime in late spring or early summer, and a life goal, he said, is to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which uses time standards for entry. The mark for men ages 35-39 is 3:10:00. For men ages 40-44, it is 3:15:00.

“What I was able to do (Sunday) was a great indicator to myself that it’s not a pipe dream,” Timm said. “It’s a very attainable goal.”

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