Boston Training Week #6 – Unicorns and Rainbows

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Training
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At the end of this week we will be 1/3 of the way to the starting line of the 116th Boston Marathon.

Sometimes I forget just what an amazingly exciting prospect that is.  How hard I worked to get their the first time back in 2010 and how much harder I worked to get there for 2012, dropping my qualifying time from 3:17:43 to 3:08:09.  It is easy to get so wrapped up in the training for the race, that you forget to celebrate the event for what it is.  Life after all is a series of experiences.

Some good, some bad, some memorable, some forgettable – but they are all woven together into the fabric of our lives.  We need to remember as many of those fibers as we can, because in the end, that’s all we have.  Those life experiences.

Last night I decided that it was time to spin Landry’s car seat around and give her a different view of the world on the way to school this morning. 

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the pleasure, but jacking around with car seats has to be right up there with some of the most enjoyable activities a new parent can experience.  Unwieldy straps.  Buckles that don’t want to open, close, stay open or stay closed – depending on the situation, and of course the best part, locating those safety hooks in between the seats of your car or truck.  Good times all.

"Landry" Basket

But this morning, little Miss Landry was able to sit in her car seat, look straight ahead from the rear of Dad’s truck and see the world as it is meant to be seen.  Looking forward.

I told her when we got to the corner of our block that we wave every morning to the crossing guard who helps kids cross the street to the Elementary School she will attend in a few more years. 

I glanced back in the rear-view mirror and Landry was waving to the crossing guard with her friends Jo-Jo, Hot-Dog, Zebra and Kissy Bear all in her lap.

Pretty great stuff.

As I dropped Landry off at school and made the quiet ride in to the office I thought a lot about how things after 16 months are still ever-changing for Landry.  Every day is a new opportunity to learn something, try something, experience success, experience failure – but all the while continue to get bigger, stronger, faster, gain knowledge, grow and learn.

Sure there are going to be some rocky roads ahead for Landry – that is all part of the deal growing up as a kid.  It’s not all Unicorns and Rainbows.

But if you pay attention, there should be enough of them out there – you just have to know where to look.

This week is our third 65+ mile week out of six to this point.  Our “low-mileage” weeks thus far have been 58.17, 58.95 and 58.63.  On the road to New York we only topped those levels  three times over the 18-week training cycle. 

Our mileage will be much higher during this training cycle, dropping down to the 50-mile per week range only during our three half-marathon race weekends, the first of which will be one week from Saturday at The Texas Half on January 28th.  The hope is that the increased mileage and 10 20-22 mile long runs will give us the stamina and endurance we need to hold pace over the final 5 miles from Chestnut Hill to Boyleston Street.

As we crest Heartbreak Hill at Boston College, it looks like we will only have 36:30 to cover the final 5.2 miles to the finish line if our race plan is executed the way we are setting it up.  The speed to get there is not going to be the problem, it is the endurance piece we will need to draw on to keep fighting all the way to the finish line.

This week’s workouts:

Tuesday a.m.       7 Miles – 7:10 pace

Tuesday p.m.       8.3 Miles – Tempo

Wednesday a.m. 10 Miles – Elephant Pace

Thursday a.m.      10X Hill Repeats (Down) 10.2 Miles

Saturday a.m.       10 Miles Moderate Pace

Sunday a.m.          20 Miles – Marathon Goal Pace +:60

After our run on Sunday there will be just 12 weeks to Boston.  3 Months until we board one of the busses to the most watched single day sporting event in the world outside of the Superbowl.  We’ll be there, surrounded by tremendous runners literally from all over the world.

Eyes forward – and in the end, there actually will be a Unicorn waiting for me at the finish.

  1. Rob Savarese says:

    Ah yes, car seat memories…Unless there has been some significant technology breakthroughs in the past 10 years you need a Mensa IQ and the patience of Job to futz with those right? Another great post btw, I really enjoy your writing. Do you have a completely custom training plan or are you using a published one as a shell and tweaking it?

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Rob – I’m starting to get pretty proficient at those types of things – but only after I stopped trying to read the directions – they were no help whatsoever.

      I used to say that my training plan was a Higdon/Pfitz plan that I doctored – but by now, it really doesn’t even resemble those earlier plans any longer – It’s pretty much an original, as much as a training plan can be an original – as a lot of the fundamentals remain the same. Speed work once a week, hills repeats once a week, medium-long run once a week, long run once a week and then I’ve added a day of “doubles” on Tuesday to help further endurance and lastly some racing. It is the structured half-marathon races that I think really make my cycle pop out from a lot of training plans, where I just would never be able to run a 13 mile workout between 6:25-6:35 pace without a race to do it in.

      Those become key workouts for me – and I build my final three months of training around those three race weekends. It has given me a lot of great confidence just when I need it the most as the rest of the marathon cycle really wears you down physically and mentally, making you wonder how you could EVER run at marathon goal pace for 26.2 miles when you can hardly hold it for 10 on tired legs.

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