Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pre-Race Psych(e)

The hard work has been done. All the miles, all the hills, all the repeats, all the tempos – they are over now. All that’s left to do at this point is stay loose, stay patient and wait for race day. It’s taper time. I’ve run 18 marathons and it just doesn’t seem to get any easier. The only thing that’s changed over the years has been my expectations.

Boston Marathon
When I first started running marathons it was just about completing them. Then once I did that, it was about breaking 4 hours, then 3:30, then 3:15 and then finally 3:10 (to qualify for Boston). Now it’s all about that elusive (and hallowed) 3 hour mark. To me, a sub 3 hour marathon on your resume means you’re serious about running and you know what the heck you are doing. I know it’s not going to get me a shot at the Olympics, or even any prize money, but running a 2:xx marathon would mean for me that (after all these years) I’m a real, good, long-distance runner.

Baystate Marathon
The last time I ran a marathon I came so very close to breaking 3 hours. If it weren’t for an insanely strong head wind in the last 4 miles of the 2008 Baystate Marathon my 3:00:22 might well have been a 2:59:xx and who knows what I’d be doing with myself this coming weekend. But, as it is, I’m preparing for the 33rd Annual Clarence Demar Marathon in Keene, NH with the hopes of having another shot at sub-3.

Clarence Demar
Regardless of what happens on Sunday, I know that I’ve worked really hard this year to get myself back into racing form and that form won’t be disappearing anytime soon. It seems like it's been a very quick 8 months since I started running again - after that 16 week layoff due to my knee injury. The fitness (and confidence) that I’ve gained in that recovery time has been worth every step – sub 3 or no sub 3. And, the new-found appreciation that I now have for running (and the fortunate ability to do so) will stay with me for a long time to come.

My Biggest Fans
So now I sit here (munching on my celery sticks) thinking about what race day will bring and what life will be like after Sunday. And, while there is much that I don’t know, I do know this: When I get home from the race I’ll have a wife that will want to hear all about it, an older son who will text me (from college) that he loves me, an older daughter that will give me a great big hug, a younger daughter that will want to wear my finishers medal and a younger son that will smile and probably poop himself. In other words, life will be pretty good!

Oh, and here’s a fun video clip I ran across recently during all my free time from training. Enjoy!
40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Humble Pie and a Fat Lip

Humble pie and a fat lip - That’s what I got served at the 77th Annual Cape Ann 25k Road Race this past weekend.

The humble pie was on the menu due in large part to the difficulty of this course. In a word, this 25k is “relentless” - just constantly up or down. And, its only flat parts are highly exposed to the wind and the brutal late-summer sun. The fat lip portion of the day was due to the very untimely demise of a bee in my mouth. More on that later …