Sunday, March 6, 2011

Six weeks to Boston

Not an original title, I know. All over the blog world, "Six weeks to Boston" posts will be popping up today and tomorrow. Because (obviously) the Boston Marathon is six weeks from tomorrow!

And you know what? I think I'm ready. If I had to, I could run it tomorrow. Or, preferably, in a week or two so I had some time to taper. Although I am close enough to ready, my legs could use a little recovery after last week's training and Saturday's 21.5 mile run.

This week went very well! Seven miles on Monday, easy, in the MORNING--no slacking and outting it off till Tuesday. (Good thing, too, as I had to get to work early on Tuesday.) Plus an hour of elliptical and yoga Monday night. Tuesday is a semi-rest day, just an hour or so of elliptical in the morning (EARLY).
Wednesday I did have a bit of a slacker episode but redeemed myself in the end. I was afraid that did wouldn't have enough time for my 800s before work (and it was dark, and rainy, and I was lazy) so I went to the Y instead.

In the afternoon the sun came out (except for that downpour of hail that swept through, and it was windy all day), so I left work a little early to try to run before dark.

I started out with 5K to warm up in my neighborhood. About halfway through my legs really lightened up and I sped up enough to average a 10-minute pace for the distance. I stopped at my house to use the bathroom, then headed to the track (just a few blocks away).

The track was not a promising sight. It's not a great track to begin with, and thanks to all the snow and rain we've had, the unpaved parts (about half the distance) was muddy and squishy. I thought, I can't do this. Then I decided to do one 800 (or 400 if it was too bad), and if I couldn't get anywhere near four minutes, I'd quit and just finish the run on the streets.

So I headed out and though I didn't love it, I was able to take my two laps and my time was about 4:05. So it was doable but I didn't want to do it! Then I made a deal with myself. I was supposed to do 7 x 800, but if I made it through four, I could quit.

It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't easy. Half the way I was running in mud, and the other half I was running into the wind. I never got faster than 4:00 for a half mile (but I gave myself a little break on that, due to conditions). After the four I did one more, then another, and then I only had one left to make my seven, so I did it. My legs were screaming, I was gasping for air, but I made it through (with a quarter mile recovery between). I ran another easier mile around the track, then over to Starbucks for a mocha. Total distance 10.10 miles (this required some running around the parking lot to make my distance!).

Thursday was a cross-training day, and I actually took the morning off from the Y due to a cat crisis (all was solved before work). I made up for it Thursday night with about an hour and a half of hard elliptical, plus some push-ups and yoga stretches.

Then it was Friday, with a medium-long pace run on the schedule. Knowing I had the long run on Saturday, plus having some things to do, I meant to keep it to eight miles or so (though ended up with 15K in the end).

This was my best pace run of this training cycle so far. After two miles of warm-up I picked up the pace. I'd been doing 9:15-20 on these, but this time I was hoping for closer to 9--or below. I was stunned when the first mile was about 8:40...and I kept it up (thought not all that fast!). Miles 1-5 of the pace miles were all sub-9. Mile 6 should have been sub-9, but thanks to some lights changing, ended up just over, 9:05 I believe.

I finished that mile right by Renee's, and popped in to say hi and have a look at the sale rack and new arrivals. I spent long enough there that I cooled off too much. My final mile was 9:16, but I'm sure if I hadn't stopped it could have been close to 8:30.

As great as that run was, I do think it left my legs a little tired to tackle my long (20+ mile) run on Saturday. That's not all bad though, there are benefits to running long on tired legs.

I might write a separate post about the long run (as I'm getting tired now), but let me just summarize: 21.5 miles. It seemed harder than the 20-miler two weeks ago, but there were those tired legs, of course. I got it done, and that was a success in itself. That made 47.95 miles for the week.

So how does all this make me ready for Boston now? Well, I think I've done a lot to regain my moderate speed (most, though not all of it). I don't know that I can get much faster over the next six weeks, although perhaps I can lock in the pace a little more firmly. (I don't EXACTLY know what my pace will be, but for Boston I would be more than happy with 9:30, if that is possible.) (I would be fine with slower, too.)

I've done four LONG (> 16) runs. 17.5, 19.25, 20.65 and now 21.5. I have two more planned, which I think will happen, but I wouldn't be concerned if I cut one out.

My legs have been a lot less tired and achy after medium-long and long runs. I feel really good about that, and it is certainly easier to live with!

This next week is going to be a sort of cut back week, as it finishes with the Shamrock Run 15K in Portland. So my distance will be shorter this week. However, this 15K is very hilly, so it will be a good hill tempo workout!
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1 comment:

lifestudent said...

Wow. I have 6 weeks (or so) until an 8K and I'm freaking. I couldnt imagine 6 weeks till Boston ;) Thrilling and terrifying at the same time!