Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rebooting The Machine

With my 2013 race training just recently completed it's time to decompress and reboot for 2014. Having begun training in earnest in August, the plan was to ultimately run my first marathon this past weekend.

Unfortunately, there were some bumps along the way and everything didn't work out as I was hoping. Training started off well enough but between traveling and injuries I never got to the level I wanted to. I also was unable to run the 26.2 due to the loss of my father-in-law and some nasty winter weather.

But not all was bad though. Even with some missed training, I still managed to log over 600 miles from August through February and raised the bar by setting a new PR for every race and distance I participated in, including an 11+ minute improvement on my half-marathon time.

While I still have a lot to learn about running, I did pick up some valuable lessons that I look forward to taking into my next training cycle.

So while it's still up in the air as to whether I'll take another shot at a marathon, I plan on spending the next month getting my legs back under me and running for the pure enjoyment of it throughout March. Once April rolls around I'll get working on some speed-work and building back my core strength throughout the summer.

After realizing I started my last training cycle too early, I don't plan on really racking up the serious milage until October. This way I won't peak too early or be burnt out, like I was this time, when the January/February 2015 races come around.

Other than One Run for Boston (which isn't even a race) and Pat's Run, I have no race schedule planned. I'm sure I'll do a 5K or 3 but the bottom line is that running is supposed to be fun and I'm going to enjoy it for for that very reason.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

It Happens

My wife Christine and her Papa Bob
Sitting in a hotel room hoping a flight opens up is not a fun way to spend a Saturday night.

The plan was to be on a plane at 3pm to make it home in time to run my first 26.2 in the morning, but fate, or at least the weather, had other plans. A snowstorm hit the East Coast today, stranding my wife and I to another night away from home. And honestly, as disappointed as I am that I trained for this for the past 7+ months, it really doesn't matter.

The reason we're snowbound in a hotel room some 2,600 away from home is because my wife lost her father this past Tuesday and he was buried today.

We had planned a surprise visit for his 81st birthday on this coming Wednesday but Bob worked on his own schedule.

Bob was just an ordinary guy from Boston; father, a grandfather, a vet, a pipefitter and a recovering alcoholic. Bob may not have been know to many but those of us who did know him, as well as those who have heard stories about Bobisms know what a loss this is. Bob was a great guy that touched may people's lives.

I had the pleasure of knowing him for the past 30 years and will miss being harangued by him about not getting out to the shooting range, hearing his views on a politics (the Kennedy's were a bunch of assholes) or hearing some hilarious story about how he defeated the Nazis at Waterloo with a pocketknife and some fireworks (MacGyver eat your heart out). Bob was also an exceptional shot with his 1920 something, restored Parker shotgun, often besting younger shooters with more modern arms, at his gun club.

Bob always kept you guessing.

Many of the people who came to pay their respects may have never met Bob, but they all knew him well.

The World's Most Interesting Man had nothing on Bob and we will all miss him dearly.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Week And Counting

It seems like only yesterday that I made the decision to attempt to run a marathon and began training. That yesterday though was last August and after 7+ months and 608 miles, that day is almost here.

Has my training been perfect? Nope, far from it but there is nothing I can do about that now.

Things started off well enough but once October rolled around, the wheels started to fall off. First I had a couple business trips where I couldn't run and then I got sick. Once I was feeling good enough to run I developed a bout of achilles tendinitis out of nowhere. This put me on the shelf for a few weeks with the only run I did was a scheduled half.

Just when I thought I was over that and training started to get going again I developed extensor tendinitis, first in my right foot and then in my left. In hindsight, this was because I tried to come back right where I had left off and ran way too many miles after the layoff.

Note to self, don't do that again.

After a tough 19 miler at the end of December I essentially shut it down save for a light Sunday run and some XT, just so I could keep my fitness level up for a half in January.

That's the bad, now here's the good. I took 2 weeks off, coming back this past week with some shortish runs where I experienced no pain during and little or no pain afterward. This weekend was my first runs on consecutive days since December, a fast 5 miler yesterday and an easy 8 miler today, and I am happy to report that both feet feel great.

One other thing like I like to do 2 weeks out from a longer race is eschew sugar and carbs to get my body conditioned to the feeling of being fuel depleted on the road. More importantly it gets my mind right for dealing with it when I'm on the course. Sure it makes the training runs tougher than they have to be but I feel it's better to face adversity in training and know how to get through it than it is to face it in a race for the first time.

All things being equal I feel I'm in a pretty good place heading into my toughest physical test to date. My body feels good, my mind is right and it's all systems go. Weather looks to be good with temps in the mid 50's for the 7 am start and into the mid 70's as the race progresses.

When I first got into this, the goal was to BQ at 3:20 but that soon changed to a sub 4 hour finish. Now the only thing I care about is finishing under my own power and getting one of these....

I'll let you all know how it goes next week at this time.

Wish me luck.