17 weeks ago when this training cycle started Boston seemed like it was a long, long way off in the distance.
Between me and Hopkinton stood 1,295 training and racing miles spread over 125 runs. A 5K race benefitting the local Ronald McDonald House, A 24-hour ultra-marathon relay from Miami to Key West, 3 Half Marathons and the Cap 10K were on the schedule.
Not to mention the 10 different 20-22 mile long runs, miles of hill repeats and 8 Tuesday “doubles” to cross off the list.
Boston was something that was still very “abstract”. Just a small dot of light on the horizon. Something that I knew one day I would look at my training calendar on the magic refrigerator and realize was a whole lot closer than we realized.
Yesterday was that day.
There are still 391.10 miles left to go before we cross the finish line on Boylston Street, but at the rate we have been ticking them off, that is not a lot of time left on the clock.
Yesterday I was trading e-mails with a runner friend of mine and I made the comment that Boston was going to be my “last” marathon. The race where I want to once and for all settle the score with Lady Marathon and especially payback some of what that race took from me in 2010.
He was surprised to hear that I was going to be stepping back from the marathon and asked more or less “what gives?”.
The honest answer is that I feel like I have given a lot to the sport of marathoning, crossed quite a few finish lines and I have my sights set on some new goals as I leave the 40-44 year-old age group and move on to the 45-49 competitve group.
I would like to focus on the Triathlon and find out just what kind of triathlete we can become over the next 4 years. Running will of course remain a key component in that pursuit, as frankly it is my strongest area of the TRI, one where I have a competitive advantage over most other athletes in my age group. Some by a wide margin.
Swimming and Cycling can be “lifetime” sports. As I get older I know that the pounding of 75 mile weeks, tempo runs and hill repeats are eventually going to start taking their toll. But swimming and cycling, while not “injury proof” sports – they do come with a much gentler impact on the joints, hips, knees and ankles.
There is also something exciting about starting something new. Not being one of “the better” athletes in the field any longer at local events. I am going to have to do what we do best. Outwork people to fight our way to the podium.
I will have to become a better swimmer. Much better.
I will need to improve as a cyclist. Improve my endurance. Hold my speed over longer distances.
I will need to maintain my speed and endurance as a runner. Continue to race events to keep that sword sharp and maintain my “edge” on race day.
Of course one of the bigger reasons is little Landry. I want to be around more, not so tired from marathon training all the time. Chase her around the yard not worried about straining something or tripping over one of her toys constantly.
I just want to be a Dad.
Maybe a little skinnier Dad than some. Probably a lot faster than most. But just a Dad. Her Dad.
Will I run another Marathon? I’m sure that I will. I’d like to return to the Pittsburgh Marathon on the 5-year anniversary of Dom’s cancer diagnosis and “Run for Dom” one more time. Make a difference in the lives of Nico, Sierra and Val to help add to their 529 College Plans. I would also like them to get to know me a bit better and understand how important their Dad was to so many of us and how much we all loved him.
I started to put together the shell of our next training plan (below).
The first thing I do when I am putting together a new training cycle is I identify “THE” event. The “A” race. The ultimate goal at the end of the journey.
In this case it is the Longhorn 70.3 Half-Ironman on October 28, 2012.
Everything else will build toward that race.
I then look at local race schedules and other key events that I would like to participate in. Some of them we will make it to the starting line of. Others will not make the cut due to family commitments or what the training cycle for Longhorn demands.
I know right now that TRI Rock over Labor Day weekend is a longshot. That is the weekend after Dawn and Landry’s Birthday’s and more than likely when we will have out-of-town guests coming in for Dawn’s 40th birthday celebration.
The Prefontaine Memorial 10K in Coos Bay, Oregon is a race that I have wanted to run for close to 4 years now. I hope that travel and commitments will allow me to make it out there in September this year – but again, it is a longshot.
Wednesday night’s will remain part of our speed training as we compete in the local Sunstroke Summer Stampede 5K series from May to the middle of July. I hope to make 8 of the 12 races to qualify for a possible award at the end of the series.
There is the Holland, 5K that I race every year – hoping for a “four-pete” as an Age Group winner this year, although a local triathlon is the following day. Something might need to give that week.
I will be heading back to Jack’s Triathlon this year around my birthday – back to the scene of my first ever triathlon to compare our performance on the same race course one year later. A good gauge to see where we are and how much further we still need to go.
A couple other Triathlons dot the schedule, and I am contemplating on racing at the Cap TX Tri on May 28th, which would be our first “wetsuit” traithlon swim and first time at the Olympic Distance (1,500 Meter Swim, 28 mile bike, 10K run). A good stepping stone to Longhorn 70.3.
The rest of the squares will be entered over the next couple of weeks when I finalize my race calendar and look at all of the personal commitments that I have, vacations, travel, birthday parties and those all important rest days.
In the end by the time we cross the finish line in Boston our summer and fall plan will be in place, tacked to the magic refrigerator, ready to go.
There will be some great moments over those 27 weeks. There will be some tough moments as well.
Some failures, some victories, good days and bad. There will be hot days to train through, rain storms to run through, and mornings where staying in bed sounds a whole heckuva lot better than getting out there and giving it our best.
We won’t stay in bed though. We’ll get out there and do what we need to do so that on October 28, 2012 we will get ready to enter Decker Lake a nervous first-timer at the 70.3 mile distance. A little over 5 hours later hopefully, we will be a Half-Ironman.
That journey doesn’t happen by accident. It all starts with a blank page, hope, determination and desire.