|That's "the guy" over my left shoulder! I had NO idea.|
And that was it. It was over. All of the pressure I had been putting on myself. All of the crushing self-doubt. All of the feelings of inadequacy and questioning of my training for this year's Boston Marathon, out the door. Gone. It was as if in that one instant my soul became as light as a feather. Fact is, I know. I've known all along. I've done everything that I can do. Through all of the adversity that has been thrown in my path this training season, I've come out on top. It hasn't been easy. It's been a long, dark Winter. The "Winter of my discontent" as I have often referred to it. The marathon Gods have thrown everything they can at me. They tried to break me. And yet, here I am. 5 days away from the starting line in Hopkinton. I. Am. Ready.
This Winter I've suffered through more snow than I can remember seeing in my adult life, crazy storms, bitter cold, my wife's abdominal surgery and subsequent 6-week recovery (when we decided we needed to buy a treadmill), both children's illnesses (my seven month-old's illness ended in hospitalization and two weeks of diligent neb treatments, suction and chest PT, etc. once we got her home), followed by both my wife and my own lengthy battle with the same illness. All of which lead to a 76 mile February and a horrible race at Stu's 30k on March 6. A race I had high hopes for after my 23 minute PR at the Boston Prep in Derry, NH at the end of January.
So much of my training was forced into the "dungeon" on the treadmill. It just didn't feel right. I was running in place. I wasn't going anywhere. It was complete and total drudgery. Thank God for Netflix on the Wii. It was the only thing that made it slightly tolerable. On the bright side I did get through all three season's of Whale Wars and Paranormal State, and watched such kick-ass action flicks as Bitch Slap, Dark Rising, My Name is Bruce, Zombie Strippers, both Charlie's Angels movies, and last-but-not-least... Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned!
After my confidence-building session, I came home determined to get some perspective, so I crunched some numbers...
Even with the 76 mile February, I still ran 800 miles this training cycle which is almost 200 miles more than my last Boston training cycle. I also ran an average pace of 9:05/mi throughout with almost 90% of my training runs performed at my E Pace (9:40/mi. last year my avg. pace was 10:35/mi). I found the biggest hill in the area (0.37 mi. with a 12% average grade) and attacked it on a regular basis. I PR'd every 5k that I ran and brought my 5k PR down from 25:38 to 20:42 (did I mention the 23 minute PR in Derry, at the Boston Prep 16-miler? That was HUGE)! Twice I went 20 miles or further, my "36k for Miracles" Challenge where I raced a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon all in one day with a total time of 3:11:28 (and my Half Marathon was less than ideal). I ran a 10 mile M Pace (7:36/mi) less than 18 hours prior to the Eastern States 20 where I actually stuck with a plan and ran the first 10 miles at 9:00/mi and negative-split the back half of a race the first time ever. I spent the last 3 miles of that race passing runner's by the handful and felt great afterward.
And now, it's just a matter of cruising into Hopkinton. Now working-out race day logistics for the family is another matter altogether. At least Lex doesn't have a pelvic stress fracture this year. Although she does have an additional 25 lbs. (the baby, silly) to drag around with her. It will all work itself out right? Now, relaxing and getting to bed early is the plan from here on out.
I. Am. Ready.
There is no tomorrow! Go out and get it TODAY!