17 Weeks to Boston …. The Demons of Marathons Past

Posted: December 19, 2011 in Training
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Week number one of Boston Marathon Training is in the books after yesterday’s 18-mile long run.

I spent a great deal of time yesterday, perhaps an hour of my 2 hour, 15 minute and 55 second run thinking about my ramp up to Boston in 2010.  Training through an injury and how different things are for me preparing for the race in April.

In December of 2009 I was not running 17 weeks before race day.  I was still recovering from my shin splint injury and was riding my Tri Bike in the garage with the back wheel up on the trainer.  I ran my first 3 miles on the way to Hopkinton on December 28th on the way to a 19 mile week to start my training cycle just 16 weeks before race day.

Yesterday’s run was just one mile shorter than my entire mileage for that opening week of training.  My first week of Boston training for this year’s race was a 58 mile run week featuring a 14 mile mid-week run on Tuesday, (down)hill repeats on Thursday a 9-mile up-tempo workout on Saturday followed and our long run yesterday.

My legs today feel great and despite having a sick little Landry on our hands last night – it appears she got a stomach bug – mentally I feel fired up and ready to go these next 17 weeks to Hopkinton.

As the race draws near however I know that the demons that I am going to have to put to rest in Boston are going to grow larger and larger.

The psyche of any marathoner is delicate.  I am no exception.  As the final weeks of training arrive, mileage decreases as the athlete tapers for the race.  20-mile long runs are now 10.  65 mile run weeks are now 32 miles.  It allows doubts to creep in.   Questions along the lines of:

“Am I ready?”

“Could I have done more?”

“Will I be able to run strong to the finish?”

Those thoughts are tough to squash even when you are approaching a race and a course that you have run before, and performed well on.  They are equally tough when you approach a race for the first time.

But when you return to a race that for lack of a better term, “handed you a new one” the last time you attempted it.  The Demons are cruel and quite vicious.

I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about this very thing and how I am going to train like there is no tomorrow for Boston.  Because for me, there really isn’t.  Boston will be it for me for the marathon for quite some time.  Time to spend more time with Landry and Dawn, time to tackle some new challenges with respect to the Triathlon.  More time in the pool.  More time on the bike.  Less time “marathoning”.

It is also going to be special because of the fact that it is Boston and it is my chance to redeem myself after 2010.  I showed up confident in 2010, but woefully unprepared, being able to run just 4X a week, topping out at 45 miles total as our highest mileage week with two long runs of 20 miles.

This time if we are able to execute our training plan we will be running 5 or 6X a week, topping out over 65 miles as our highest mileage week with 7 long runs between 20-22 miles and racing three half-marathons.

This year we will be more than prepared for the race, but it is the area of confidence I hope is not lacking.  I am going to be trying over these next 17 weeks to dispel the memories of 2010.  This year will not be the first time I run Boston.  That is why “first times” are so precious.  You never get a chance to do that again.

But this year I am going to run Boston as the new and improved marathoner that I am.  A 3:08 guy who went toe to toe with one of the most challenging marathons in the world in New York back in November and ran a 7 minute PR.  That is the marathoner who will be boarding the bus to Hopkinton on April 16th, exactly two years to the day after that “other” marathoner got on the same bus in 2010.

Same course, same race, different runner.

I thought a lot about making the right turn onto Hereford Street, running up to Boyleston, making the final left turn and laying on the gas to close out the race.  Passing marathoners left and right on the way to the finish.  Owning those final 5 miles and once and for all exorcising the Demons of Marathons past.

Seems to be the right time of year for that kind of thing.

Happy Holidays everyone.

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