Finally, at long last it is once again...
It feels like I haven't raced in forever, when in fact it has only been about 30 days. Since then though, I have worked a 1/2 marathon, a duathlon and (2) 5k's. So just about every weekend I was still getting some kind of race fix. You know how second hand smoke works right? So maybe I got some 2nd hand running :)
I look at my counter and see it say less than 4 days and 11 hours until I find out what I am made of. I had in the past followed a training schedule, but this year I had my own plan of attack. I didn't want to force myself to run for 16, 18 weeks or whatever the books said so I began my plan as soon as January 1st.
I had already run a little less than 20 mpw for a month or so as per doctor's orders. I started running 20-25 mpw through most of January getting in 4-5 runs a week with lots of cross-training, specifically cycling. When February hit I averaged 4-5 days again with about 25-30 mpw still continuing to cross-train. I even got to throw in 2 races.
March was the beginning of the monster mileage though. I backed off for a week and then started my long runs. I count anything over 13 miles as a long run, although most books say 10. I hit 17 miler and a 14 miler all in the same week and followed it up with a hard 30K + 3 miles warm-up and cool-down the following weekend. My legs were hammered. I was worried. I began wondering if I had pushed too hard and would need more than a week to recover and get my mileage back up for more long runs.
April came and I spent the next week running (3) recovery runs, (1) hard workout and a 13 miler that without Twizzle I would have not made it through. I heard the nagging voice in my head telling me to back-off and keep your eye on the prize and with that I bailed and cut my mileage down to 19.30 miles for a week. I did one hard 7 miler at North Chagrin, a 3.2 mile run at sub-12 minute/mile pace with my boyfriend's 8-year old son, a super muddy fun run with my training buddy, Bails and one 5k race. It was a short but memorable week. I enjoyed all the downtime and not having to run hard or worry about anything but having fun. It was worth it as the road ahead was gonna get bumpy.
The next weeks were going to be the key to Cleveland. I had planned on doing (2) more 20-milers and then tapering. I got them done in back to back weeks as my NCN schedule was interfering and so was the Hermes 10-miler. I ended up running the 20 milers on weekdays and pacing a friend at the 10-miler. **Let me tell you I had one of the nastiest frickin' hangovers of my life at that race!! and that was the 2nd day of the hangover!!!** Anyway, got in 2 weeks of ~40 miles of quality running. I was done no more high miles...or so I thought.
May 1st arrives. My roommate, Twizzle is running the BR100 in August and needs to run at night, so I just throw it out there that we should run from our house to my parent's one night. It is probably 15 miles...no biggie. Twizzle jumps at the idea and at midnight on May 1st we set-out for what turns out to be about 19 miles. We were both exhausted, but it was so different and I will never forget it. We ran by a pond with a water fountain that Twizzle swears she will jump in one day, learned that I am better at guessing distances to traffic lights at 2:15 in the morning than she is and people will honk at you for anything (weirdos). We finally get to my parents around 3:00am, shower and literally pass out. Needless to say I opted to take the next 3 days off.
That brings me to last week in which I ran EZ, trying not to run too fast. Most of my runs were focused on that 8:24 pace just trying to put the legs in automatic and make that my default speed. I also got a massage and it was super fantastic. It was my first one ever and it was 2 hours and the guy is great. I don't generally like being touched and especially not by strangers, but this guy was heaven sent. He was easy going and funny and I felt relaxed and rested when I left. Sunday however was a 10 miler that brought me out on pace until about mile 7 when the drowned rat syndrome sank in. I gained about 5lbs., of soggy shoes, shorts and underwear (which is so gross)and at times thought the rain was turning to frickin' snow. It was so hard. It hit me in the eye a few times and I thought goggles would be really helpful right NOW!! I also thought about how in one week's time I would be done with my marathon and have a qualifying time for Boston on my resume. I finished my run still faster than any of my 10-miler race times in past years. It just kills me my training runs are faster than my race times of the past...damn that anemia!
And here we are. with 4 days and less than 11 hours to Go time. I have seen the finish and the clock in my head so many times that I believe I am going to do this. It is "Do or Do Not" as Yoda says..."there is no try."
Joe Newton is the winningest high school cross-country coach ever and in one of his workouts the kids run 5x1 miles with 3:00 min recoveries and his mantra on the last repeat is "1 mile to Glory." I like that. Mine is "26.2 miles to Glory!!"