Thursday, March 18, 2010

They Say the Old Adage is True

At the risk of opening myself up for public mockery; since the weather has broken and we have had an unprecedented string of sunny and quasi-warm days, I oft find myself singing John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” and even Cat Steven’s “Morning Has Broken.” *Begin dispensing of insults as if you were flinging rotting fruit at Quasimodo.

I remain somewhat stymied when it comes to how to fit meaningful training into my new work schedule…let alone time to post and comment. But since March 1st I have hit every scheduled run. On one particular morning I had to run early or forfeit my chance to run at all. I laid in bed and struggled with it—even though the weather was perfect for morning running. But I got up and got outside, and I ran. When it was all said and done, I was thrilled I’d done it.

So, like they say: You never regret a run you do, but you always regret runs you skip. So true. The problem is that I feel the exact same way with stopping at McDonalds for a large chocolate (or Mint in honor of St. Patty’s Day) shake and large fries. Seriously, I have been known to bitterly bring up the fact that I didn’t get a late night McRush a few days prior.

Last weekend I had a 24M run on the schedule. I dropped it to 22M because my attempt to run 22M on a treadmill two week prior was a complete fail (only 17M). I chose the hills-of-hell route. I paid dearly. I was aiming for a 7:30/M average. I hit a 7:40/M average. Now, it isn’t the end of the world, but with only one 20M+ run left, I’m sure I’m not ready to run anything close to a 7:15/M average necessary to BQ at Boston.

Which is good, because I haven’t planned to try that, and because I’m just not there. The timing of this training and the weather have successfully conspired to frustrate my training, so I’m going there to run hard and run for fun. My plan is to hit a 3:30, or a comfortable 8:00/M pace.

But let’s just be honest as a dollar-eating goat, I’ll probably get there and hit the first few miles at an easy 7:10 and think “Why not Spike? Go for it! The Gods favor you today.” And I’ll go for it. And somewhere around Heartbreak Hill ‘it’ will come back with vengeance. Just as Pandora is fated to open the box, so am I fated to wholeheartedly ignore my ‘race plan.’

I love running.

Monday, March 1, 2010

There Always is a Silver Lining

Last Friday the weather took a deep drawn in breath. As I drove home from the rare Friday night meeting the weather was calm and placid. Because someone had to attend a secret dinner cooked by ninjas, and because my wonderful girlfriend was preparing to rock her marathon (quick: go tell her what a great job she did), I quickly rearranged my schedule to head out of town by noon on Saturday. This meant I had to get my 22M run in early Saturday morning—no matter what.

While thinking about my upcoming long run and driving down the highway, Winter exhaled. Snow. Hard, heavy, wet snow, carried on angry winds. And caught and ripped away in this late February storm went any hope I had of a quality long run outside. I had no choice, 22M indoors.

Yes, I was going to attempt to do 22M on a treadmill.

It was a fail. I had to stop after 17M. I honestly think I was hallucinating. The fact that there is even a record for most miles run on a treadmill in a 24 hour period is insane.

But a bad long run is not unexpected during marathon training. However, there is some fortunate news. The temps finally moved above freezing. Today, the sun is shining and snow is melting off of sidewalks. On the first day of March, the chokehold Winter has had on this part of the County loosened. The white knuckled grip slackened a bit, enough to provide the most important training tool—hope. A deep gasp of hope. Exactly what I needed.

Today, for the first time, I feel hope about the remainder of my training for Boston. And I can tell you that this break and the arrival of beautiful are not simply coincidence.