Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Week #104

As I have now set my official goal for getting back to Boston in 2016, I am doing something to help my mental focus by counting down the number of weeks until that race. As of last Monday's Boston Marathon, there were 104 weeks to go until Boston 2016. Each week (hopefully) I will be posting a recap of the prior week and I am numbering them in reverse order, so last week was #104, this week will be #103, etc.

I am already doing a number of things differently in terms of my eating habits and my way of tracking what I am doing is changing as well. I am keeping a log of what I eat each day, the amount of rest I'm getting, hydration intake, running workouts, stretching and strengthening. It sounds like a lot but so far it's been very easy to manage. I won't post every little detail on here, but from time to time I'll post something that was perhaps significant to me or maybe something that was something of a breakthrough in my rest, diet, exercise, etc. My focus for posting updates will be the running workouts themselves, so here we go.

Workouts for the week:

Monday - 6.3 miles @ 7:03 pace
Tuesday - Rest Day
Wednesday - Rest Day
Thursday - 7.0 miles @ 7:01 pace
Friday - Rest Day
Saturday - Hope in Grace Fundraiser race (5.25 miles in 32:25 for 1st place)
Sunday - 9.8 miles @ 7:10 pace

The race on Saturday was a low key kind of race. It was a fundraiser that my sister's non-profit organization, Cakes from Grace, helps out at each year. The goal is to raise money for CHD (Congenital Heart Defects) research. Needless to say, it's a very near and dear cause to us. Only about 25 people run the race (many people complete the walk instead). I've now won it 2 years in a row quite comfortably, but I enjoy it because the event is a reminder of my niece, which is good for memories but also difficult because of losing her as well. I run that race in her honor and memory, and I always run it Gracie Strong!

My one issue this week has been my left achilles. It hasn't been a major issue but it's been bothersome over the last few days. I've been stretching it and babying it quite a bit and it's beginning to feel better. I'll be mindful of it and will scale back my workouts if necessary.

Week #104 is in the books. Only 103 weeks to go until Boston 2016!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Marathon #15 is goal is set

Well, I haven't posted since shortly after finishing my 14th marathon. And now, #15 is in the books as well! I ran the Go! St. Louis Marathon 2 weeks ago and ran to a time of 3:08:04 to finish 50th overall. It was one of the most challenging training build-ups I've ever gone through. In Minnesota, this was one of the worst winters on record, and that's not an exaggeration. Countless days with temperatures below 0 degrees, a handful of snowstorms, and it seemed as though it would never end. We just received 10 inches of snow 3 days ago!

In spite of the tough training, I improved upon my time from Twin Cities last fall by almost 2 minutes, so that was certainly encouraging. However, the goal I had been aiming for I did not achieve. My original goal was to run 2:55, but as I entered the race I felt sub-3:00 was a realistic goal. Unfortunately, I hit the "wall" at mile 23 and was drained of all my sugar stores in my body at that point. Up until 23, I was still on pace for 3:00, but that is where it was all lost. In spite of a moderate disappointment in my finish, it was still a great weekend a good experience. 2 weeks removed from the race, I am now more focused on my next goals than I ever have been in recent memory.

My next goal is to qualify and run the Boston Marathon in 2016 (as you can see on the updated look of the blog). I have run Boston twice before but I feel like I've always come up a bit short there in what I was capable of. My goal is to not only qualify and race Boston in 2016 but to run a big time race and a fast time. The challenge that comes with a goal like this...Boston 2016 is 2 full years away. That's 104 weeks from tomorrow. Keeping focused on one goal for that long can be very daunting. I feel like one of my weaknesses in my last couple of marathons has been my mental preparation. The marathon requires a level of mental preparation that few other activities or sports in this world can rival with and it's something that I've taken a bit lightly in recent years, perhaps because I've done a number of these before that I felt it wasn't as necessary each time. That is certainly not the case as I've learned in the last few races.

Now, physically being prepared is very important. Doing the long runs, getting in the miles, doing the tempo and pacing work, hills, etc. are absolutely necessary to running well and I'm not overlooking that. In fact, the physical side of things is going to have a different, more focused feel for me as well. I will be tracking not only my runs but also my nutrition, my rest and all the other little things like abdominal work, strength training, stretching, recovery, etc. Some of these things are going to be very easy because I've been doing them for so long, but for a lot of this, especially nutrition, making positive changes to what I'm fueling my body with. I'm open to all kinds of ideas (except vegan or vegetarian) and will be experimenting with some different kinds of things to eat over the course of the next few months.

Lastly, my plan is to post on here weekly what I have been doing in terms of workouts, nutrition, rest, etc. The coming months will really shape how all of this goes. My life will be changing significantly in June as I will become a father for the first time. Rest will become a hot commodity for quite some time, but I'm going to do whatever I can to take care of myself while still being the best dad and husband I possibly can be.

There are also intermediate goals that will ultimately lead to Boston 2016:

- qualify for Boston at Twin Cities 2014 (October), run a spring 2015 marathon if not achieved
- qualify with a sub-2:55 (10 minutes under BQ time for my age)
- run a PR at the half marathon (current PR is 1:21:50)

Those of you reading, keep me accountable, keep me honest, encourage me. This is not an easy thing I'm embarking on, but it's something I know I can do if I can be consistent and focused.