Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Settling in from vacation and the final push to Boston

Since my last update we were fortunate enough to escape the Northeast for a week in Florida where we spent a full week at Disney. I underestimated how much fun William would have there. He was on cloud 9, or beyond, the entire week. Since we stayed on the Disney resort we never saw the “real world” for the week, which went a long way towards getting a much needed mental break for all of us. What was William’s favorite thing about Disney?? The rides!! We did Thunder Mountain 9X, Splash Mountain 4X, Test Track 4X, Kali River Rapids 2X, Haunted Mansion 2X, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups 2X, and most everything else at least once. William is already planning his return trip!

Next, I was spotlighted in Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy's (PPMD) recent newsletter for my efforts to make my Boston Marathon my Run For our Sons (RFOS) race. Considering how much so many other RFOS runners have raised I'm humbled to be recognized.

Now back from Florida we can smell spring in the air. Almost. After months of cold and snow it’s easier to enjoy this time of year despite the erratic weather. It’s relative and the weather has been relatively better, not to mention the fact that we once again have clear roads and sidewalks!

With daylight savings here and the snow gone I’m seeing much, much less of the treadmill and more of the bike, which should benefit me in the final push to Boston. In the last week I kicked the biking year off with over 50 miles supplementing nearly 80 miles run. I’m also reintegrating “run commuting” into my schedule. I can run the 9 miles from work to home in just 20 minutes longer than my regular commute. So why not? The route isn’t scenic but the miles are good.

In addition to the constant signs of spring, the running continues to go well. I finished February with 245 miles, which was actually about 30 miles short of my monthly goal. The silver lining for February is that my diet has gone well and more than makes up for any missed mileage. Yes. I’m actually trying to drop some extra weight during the hard months of this marathon training cycle. Many advise against it but I’ve lost about 10 pounds since late January, still feel strong and energetic, and hope to drop a couple more by mid April. I counted calories for a few weeks until I got into the habit of cutting my portions and making better choices. Seeing success has made it easy to continue and I already feel a little swifter and lighter on my feet while running. My goal is to run Boston in the 160s which is even more unfathomable when I consider that two years ago I could hardly run 4-5 miles and weighed close to 225.

So far March has gone very well. A week ago I toed the line at Stu’s 30K (18.6 miles) hoping to get a hilly, well supported long run in the books, not necessarily race. I hoped to make the run hard and ran it as a progression run. The first hour went by at a conversational pace and then I slowly picked up the pace to the end. Without going into race effort I was able to finish in 2:06 (6:50 pace) and passed all but 24 people. On paper Stu’s is harder than the Boston Prep 16 miler I ran in January yet I went just as fast with much less effort. That really surprised me and reinforces the fact that I’m on track for Boston.

This past weekend I ran the Ras na hEireann 5K in Somerville with over 5000 others. Can you find my head in the photo? You'll have to click to make it bigger if you want to play "where's Waldo." This 5K was just for fun and to serve as a fitness check of sorts. At this exact point in my marathon buildup last fall I ran a 5K in 18:22 so sub 18 would have been great but, upon seeing the undulating course prior to the race, I thought sub 18 was out the window. Fortunately my legs didn’t agree with my head and I ran 17:33 for a 35 second 5K PR. At that distance you could call it a small breakthrough and I’m eager to run more 5Ks after Boston since I feel I’ve got faster ones in me. The 5K distance isn’t universally enjoyed by marathoners but I really enjoy them. It’s a chance to open up the throttle and give it all you’ve got and not feel wasted by the effort.

I’ve got about two more weeks of training before my marathon taper begins. I hope to hit 300 miles in March. This will be a tall order since I’ve never run 300 in a month before. BUT…that mileage won’t be at the expense of quality training so we’ll have to see how it goes. So far, so good.


Anonymous said...

I found you in the picture but it was only halft a head! Mom

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