Monday, October 19, 2009

Bus Ticket Punched

Well, as you can see by the graphic at the header of the post, I am officially registered for the Boston Marathon on April 19, 2010. Excited is a word I'd use, but more than that, I'm relieved. I've never registered for a race before in which you have to wait one month-plus to hear if you get in or not. Plus, I suffered through about six weeks after qualifying in Vermont where I was afraid they'd lower the qualifying standards, and my 3:08:41 wouldn't be good enough. The. Wait. Is. Over!

It's been hard hearing about all the marathon-prep going on throughout October and November. Between Chicago, Marine Corps, New York, and many other smaller races, it's all over Runner's World, Running Times, even sneaking into the Washington Post here and there. All I'm looking forward to these days is the Goblin Gallop or Turkey Trot 5Ks that also complement this season. You could say I'm antsy for a big race (even though the Army Ten-Miler was less than four weeks ago).

My saving grace has been that I'm finally back on a training program. Tacked to the fridge, I've got a ten-week "Boston Buildup" plan I put together back in June (excited much?). As my friend Tim will tell you, "I love a good plan," and what's more, I love ticking off each workout once it's complete. Of course the plan also comes with the obligatory guilt for missing a run and the constant schedule shuffling to get everything to fit in. Take this past weekend. My 12-mile cut down run got nixed because of a wedding. Returning home late last night, my hard core visions of heading out the door once unpacked quickly faded as I traded my running shorts for pj pants and a fat steak.

Today's 7-miler I think more than made up for it, but I went to bed second-guessing. When preparing for the Vermont marathon, I kept telling myself that if I didn't make it, it wasn't going to be because I didn't work hard, and that means hitting all the workouts.

What I love about this new plan, though, is that it's building off my heavy mileage from earlier this year. That means fewer high mileage weeks now (topping off between 35-40) and focusing more on speed work, i.e. quality over quantity. Each workout essentially ends with a series of striders, hill intervals, or some sort of tempo pickup in the middle of a longer run. I'm now using words like "progression run," "cut down run," and old favorites like, "short intervals" and "mile repeats." My quads and hamstrings are awake!

I can already notice the difference, however. My legs have much more pop and turnover than before, and my easy runs clock in around 6:50 pace with ease. If you asked where I found it, I couldn't tell you. But I believe it's from the Running Times Web site and a modified program of what Ryan Hall works with.

Will it work? Time will literally tell. Until then, just happy to be on the road and officially pointed toward Boston.

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