Thursday, April 24, 2014

Providence, Chicago and Boston, (and...MDI, GULP!), OH MY!

My city hopping marathon tour began (bright and early!) Monday morning at the mile 14 hydration station on the Boston marathon course. My husband and I, along with our good friend Steve, volunteered with the Maine Track Club at the station. It was an extremely long, but very fun and rewarding day. From being feet away from the elites flying by, to meeting my virtual Hanson's training partner, Erika, from Florida, to seeing marathon dreams come true for many friends, it was just a surreal day. The absolute best part of it, however, was seeing my husband become invested and excited in the marathon. He has always supported by marathon adventures, although he now admits that he thought marathoning may just be a phase, not something that has completely consumed my life, but he, naturally, has never been as obsessed with it as me. We chatted most of the way home about the marathon and the elites. The next morning, I was exhausted from the long day and ready to sleep in late. However, I was woken by him watching videos on his computer. Crankily, I rolled over wondering what the hell he was doing (SLEEP IN DAMNIT). Much to my surprise, he was watching the marathon. He wanted to see where Meb got in front and where Shalene fell back (his words). I was shocked. We ended up watching the whole thing again. I was ecstatic to see him interested. Towards the end of the mens race, we were even picking out spots along the course where he could watch me next year. Which leads me to my next very exciting point. Now, after 6 months of waiting, I can finally say "I am running Boston NEXT year!" Yahoo!

MTC Boston Marathon Volunteers

The newest marathon fan!

But before Boston, I have two (umm, maybe three) marathon to conquer.

#1 - Chicago - 10/12/14. It is official. I am IN! Flights and hotel are booked. This will be my first (very mini) vacation/marathon combo and I couldn't be more excited. In fact, this will be the first time (in our 9+ years together) Nate and I have even been on a plane together/on a "vacation." I think we are well overdue (even if there is a marathon involved - sorry Nate!).

#2 - MDI. Well, this came as a bit of a surprise and was rather unplanned...but...

Oops. My plan as of now is to run with a friend, pending an injury free Chicago training/marathon. MDI is easily the most scenic marathon I've done and I'm excited to have chance to go back and actually enjoy the course and not race it.

#3 PROVIDENCE, BABY! 10 days and counting. I am not sure I can concisely put how this training cycle has gone down quite yet. I am still a bit on a roller coaster ride about it. I had a perfect 10 and a half weeks on the Hanson's plan, then modified the plan for the last 8 weeks. Even with the modifications, I managed 5 days of running each week, averaged 45 -50 miles most weeks and did most SOS (something of substance) workouts, although I cut back the mileage on some, and the pace on others. One second I feel like I'd be lucky to even get my time from my last marathon (3:32). Then the next I remember that even with the modified plan, I've put in more mileage and more work than I ever have before.I know that when push comes to shove, it's going to come down to how my hip flexor feels that day. If it feels good, pending any weather issues/wall hitting, I know i have a PR in my legs. If my hip flexor is tight and cranky that day, it's not happening. This is something I have just come to accept, and I suppose, at this point, time will tell.

10 perfect weeks of Hansons...and then some modifications.
Regardless of what happens, I do know that the fitness I have gained from this marathon cycle is monumental and it will show this racing season. Tuesday was the first day of track and I had four - one mile repeats on the schedule, at 7:30 pace. I fell into the first one on feel without looking at my pace and was shocked to see it read 6:45 at the mile mark, at lactate. I followed that up with two more comfortable mile repeats at lactate in 6:35 and 6:45, and then the hip flexor tightened up and I put out the last on in 6:50. I needed this run for my brain - to convince me that 1) I can still run fast 2) running feels good 3) I am faster and stronger than last year. Now, if my brain can just remember this track workout for the next 10 days, I might be able to maintain sanity during taper!

;-) hehe

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