Monday, October 24, 2011

Week of Debauchery

Has come to a close.

After every marathon I allow myself to just do whatever I want for a week. No worries about what I'm eating or drinking or whatever. Months of training and worrying about all of the details can stress out even the hardiest of souls so you need to take some time to let go every so often. It just so happens that this past week coincided with both my daughter's birthday and my brother's birthday party. So there was plenty of cake and cookies to stuff myself with. It didn't help much that I was responsible for baking many of those cookies so I always had a supply on hand.

They may be baked but that doesn't mean they can't be awesome

But with the week behind me it's time to settle back in to a more reasonable diet and to start to focus on the future. I have at least one more week of no running to go in order to get my achilles back to normal and then I can get back out on the roads. My fitness level is higher than it has ever been so I don't want to blow it all with too much punch and pie and too little exercise. There are always more races to be had and singlets to look good in.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the sub-3 hour marathon club:


Woohoo!! All the training and preparation paid off as everything fell in to place at today's BayState Marathon. The weather was near ideal (could have used less wind and more cloud cover) with a starting temperature of 55 degrees and low humidity. The fear that my achilles would end up causing an issue proved to be for naught; it wasn't even a factor. My calves hurt most of the race but they held up and there was no cramping. All those months of training had made me into a mean, lean, running, well, not really a machine but more of a person who ran really well.

I was lucky enough to fall into a group of four (and later five) that all ran the same pace for the first half. We traded off being the person in front so we all got some relief from the wind. One of the runners was a female who ended up doing a 3:03 (and score second in the 40-49 division). It was nice running with her for so long. Everyone kept yelling out her name and I was so impressed at how many people she knew! Then I remembered that our names were on our numbers. Doh!

After the halfway mark I was all alone, literally. Strangely enough, no one was within 20 feet of me for more than a short period for almost the entire second half. Weird.

I was nervous on approaching mile 18 because Mary had told me that if I get to mile 18 and want to die "YOU HAVE DONE IT RIGHT" (accent hers). So as I hit mile 18 I realized that I didn't want to die. The calves hurt but that was about it. It was then that I knew, I had this in the bag as long as there weren't any cramps.

So I ran, and ran, and ran. Mile 20, still feeling good. Mile 22. Doing alright, the legs kept turning over. Mile 23, or was it 24? Uh oh, I was starting to get confused; clearly I was getting tired. I had stuck to my nutrition plan though and even though my head was getting fuzzy the legs kept moving. Finally mile 26 arrived. Now I wanted to die. But I kept going. At this point it was all mental.  I knew I was going to finish with a 2 as the first number in my time, I just needed to keep running. And I did. Here is where I have my one complaint about my race (I have to nitpick at something); this was the only mile I ended up running slower than 7 minute pace (7:05). By the time I crossed the bridge with less than half a mile left I was sufficiently toasted.

Last turn. Into the Tsongas Arena parking lot and the clock at the finish was just turning over to 2:58. I crossed the finish and let out a roar. I'd done it. All the training. All the pain. All the worrying, the stressing, the being a cranky bastard had paid off. Two hours, fifty-eight minutes and five seconds. I had beat three hours, taken 21 minutes off my best and virtually guaranteed myself a spot in the 2013 Boston Marathon.

And I had a great bottle of beer waiting for me at home. Time to relax and enjoy again. Cheers.

6:47 pace
29th overall
12th place 30-39 division
Boston Qualifying time for 2013

Baystate in an hour

Ok. Now I'm nervous.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not Today, But Soon

Three days left until the big race. At this point there is absolutely nothing I can do to change how it is going to go down. The training is long over, the weather is set, and the fee has been paid. I have no idea if I am ready for this race. I think I am but I won't really know until it is all over.

This will be my sixth marathon and what is interesting about this one is that I will be doing it completely alone (not counting the several thousands other runners). What I mean is that I will be driving to, running in, and coming home from the race by myself. I only know one other person actually running in the marathon but who knows if I will even see him there. This is a strange situation to be in as it will be my first marathon without anyone else.

So how is this going to affect my run? I usually like being able to do my own thing before a race so I certainly won't mind being alone in the morning. But on the other hand it also means that I need to get myself to the start and I won't have anyone to divert my nervous energy onto. It's always nice to have someone around that you can take your mind off what is soon to come. I've only done one marathon the whole way with someone else (I was a pacer) but it always seems much easier to keep up a pace when you have someone there with you. Even if it is for a short time there is some psychological benefit to running alongside someone instead of being out on your own. Probably because you can put some of the focus on what they are doing instead of constantly worrying about your own running. It'd be nice to have that during this race but oh well.

The hardest part though, is knowing that both during and after the race there will be no one to share it with. It's nice seeing a friendly face during some tough stretch, it really helps to lift your spirits. And as you near the finish it is always a boost to know that someone is waiting for you as you cross the finish line. If there are other people running the race with you, just knowing that you will get to hang out afterwards and relive the day is a nice way to cap it all off. Not this time though. This race is all business. It's going to be a real test for me, both physical and mental. Three more days.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


That about sums me up this morning.

Last night I decided to start the final week before BayState by getting a good night's sleep. By 9 O'clock I was happily tucked in to bed and looking forward to a solid 8 hours. By 12:30 I was ready to kill myself if I didn't fall asleep soon. So instead of getting some extra sleep to start the week I actually ended up getting about 2 hours less than normal. Great. But at least I could take a nap on the train on the way to work like I do every morning. Yeah, I don't think so. Apparently my body had no interest in sleep at all this morning. Add in the no caffeine and I am exhausted. Great way to start a week.

Now compound this with all the other crap going on and you can see why I am getting miserable. It was about a week ago that I realized that the shoes I had been planning to wear during the race have become too small and I need an alternative. Awesome, last minute shoe changes always work out well.

And my heel is killing me. And my calves are sore. And my knee was giving out this morning. And I keep wondering when I get to start my taper (hint: it started a week ago). Aack.

At least the view from my office will inspire me this morning:

Oh no, wait. That's what everyone else in my office gets to look at. Here is my view:

Blow me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hell Weeks

Allegedly my taper for the marathon has begun. Although you probably wouldn't know that from looking at tomorrow's workout (10 miles, 7 at MP). Tapers are never fun. You feel lazy, restless, and you really have to watch what you eat. But that's not the reason why the next two weeks are going to be hell. No, it's because I can't have any caffeine during that time. Aargh! No coffee for 2 weeks! The horror. I don't know what is worse, the pain that is destined to come or having to face it without any caffeine. Marathons make me cranky enough, take away my go-go juice and I'm an irritable bastard.

Caffeine-free living began today. I'm already freakin' tired.