Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thank You!

Thank You!

Last June I made a deal with myself. If I could do the work to enable me to run a fast enough marathon to qualify for Boston, I'd register and dedicate my run to charity. You see, no Muscular Dystrophy organizations receive coveted charity entries to Boston. When it comes to running I never seem to take the easy route. If I was going to represent the community I'd have to earn it on our behalf. It's often said that the fight against Duchenne is a race against time so this wasn't something I wanted to do "one day" it was something I needed to do "now!"

When I put forth my fundraising page I had no idea how it would go. To put it mildly, I'm absolutely blown away by the generosity shown by our friends and family over the past month. Every penny raised is important in the fight against Duchenne. For your generosity, THANKS!

A couple running items... Recovery from last week's 16 miler went well. (That's me the left passing the half marathon split running in 12 degree weather.) I took the opportunity to take Monday off and stop my 90 day run streak at 712 miles, or an average of 7.9 miles each day for about a quarter year. This week was a "cut back" of sorts as I ran 59.5 miles capping the month with 286 miles. As I was increasing mileage through January I found myself loosing focus in my training so I've decided to reboot and refocus. Therefore, I've decided follow Pete Pfitzinger's "12/55-70" plan to give me some structure down the final 12 week stretch to Boston. I was successful following his "18/55" plan this summer so I'm confident.

Again, Thanks!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Racing more miles than degrees

This weekend I ran a “moderately challenging” little race in New Hampshire. Here’s the report.

Sunday I ran the Boston Prep 16 miler in Derry, NH. It's a long, hilly, usually cold, 16 mile grind through the New Hampshire woods. Signing up for this race is akin to declaring yourself somewhat crazy, yet it usually sells out. This was my second year running "Derry."

The day promised to be interesting since near zero temps were forecasted. When I left the house it was barely above zero and I found the door on my car frozen shut. Trying to get in I inadvertently ripped the handle right off the door. Ooops! Fortunately the travel gods were soon on my side as I made every green light out of town and was soon passing Priuses with 26.2 stickers on the way to Derry. A typical early Sunday drive to a New England race.

Despite the 10 degree race start, most runners agreed the conditions were better than expected. A little sunshine goes a long way. Many runners run Derry as a well supported long run while many others race it. I was racing. It was positioned on my schedule to serve as a fitness marker on my way to Boston. If I could run under 1:50 without killing myself I just may be in position to challenge 3 hours or better come April.

Having run the race before I knew success would be built upon good strategy. I had to assess my strengths and weaknesses and apply them in just the right doses across the course and distance. With the hills I would have slow and fast miles and needed to save enough to finish the last 4 miles well under goal pace.

The race started with a mile and a half climb in which I found a comfortable pace so that when the road leveled I was able to comfortably move to a nice tempo and pick my way through the field. With each hill I eased up, focused on leg turnover, and avoided any "burn,” then again moved back to a nice tempo. The goal of the first 9.5 miles was to hit the two big hills with a little time "in the bank." That I did. Unfortunately, with the steep incline of the first hill, I spent all that time and would need to take out a sizable "loan" on the second 1.5 mile long hill. I had to manage my effort and give up no more time than I knew I could get back over the last four miles to meet my goal. Having earned back some time I passed the half marathon split still 34 seconds behind goal pace. I had to run well ahead of goal pace over the last 2.9 miles. It wasn’t easy and required incredible focus. At the line it turned out my strategy was spot on. Not only did get those 34 seconds back I gained another 53 along the way. I had met my time goal of sub 1:50 with a 1:49:06 (6:50 pace) along with my secondary goal of doing it without completely wasting myself in the process. This was a substantial improvement over my 2:03 from last year.

Kudos are well deserved by the Greater Derry Track Club for putting on such a well managed race. My reward for finishing 40th out of over 650 runners of was a nearly empty cafeteria with a great spread waiting. Chili and pizza were never so good.

As soon as I got home William’s first question, as per usual, was “what place did you get?” My 40th place didn’t elicit an immediate response but, after a moment, he gave a smile, two thumbs up, and said it was good. Then, he wanted my race number to put with the rest of his collection on his closet door, which is well on it’s way to being covered.

That was fun but now it’s back to training and keeping focus on the goal this spring.

You can also read the local news story Runners Conquer Low Temps in Boston Prep

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello World!

So, after four weeks of procrastination after promising to start a blog chronicling our journeys living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and my road to the Boston Marathon, in which I hope to support fundraising and awareness for Duchenne by dedicating my race to my son William and all affected by Duchenne, here I am. Hello World! Don't expect to be regaled with profound thoughts on life and (fingers crossed) I won't bore you with the everyday minutia of life.

It's just 12 weeks to the start of the 115th Boston Marathon…and I'll be running it. For a runner it's been a quick trip to Hopkinton, the race's starting town. I've only been at it for about two years. (Yeah, I ran a couple years in high school but that was two decades ago!) I've always been a warm weather cyclist but, unsurprisingly, in the two years following William's diagnosis I put on about 20 lbs. It was time for a change.

I had always wanted to run a marathon and thought, perhaps, it would be reasonable to run myself into shape during the winter of 08/09 and give it a go come springtime. Well, after that winter I ran myself into good enough shape to plod through perhaps a quarter of a marathon. I had underestimated the huge volume of work involved by at least 20 miles! Regardless, I kept at it through the spring and summer trying to run more and farther. By August my weekend runs were finally in the double digits. Only then I admitted to my family that I hoped to run a marathon that October. So, I did. It was a great experience running the challenging Cape Cod Marathon. Somewhere along the road in Falmouth on Cape Cod I was bitten by the contagious running bug. I came home wanting more.

I kept running almost daily and watched myself improve, go faster and faster, and drop almost 45 pounds by the following spring while I ran two half marathons, a 16 miler, a 10K, and many 5Ks. I even ran a few 5Ks pushing William in the jogger. Speeding along as fast as we can is thrilling to him. Twice we finished in the top 5 and once broke 20 minutes together.

I had planed to run another marathon and, based on a recent half marathon time, decided that if I ran almost every day, stayed focused, worked hard, and sacrificed I would have an outside shot at qualifying for Boston. At the time I gave myself a 1 in 4 chance but, as the summer progressed, so did my odds. I ran almost a thousand miles last June to October. By the time I toed the line at the Baystate Marathon I was 100% confident in my readiness to run a Boston qualifying marathon and did just that.

That's it. Two quick years of running and here we are just 12 weeks out from Boston. There's a lot more work to be done.