10 Weeks to Houston

Posted: November 7, 2012 in Training
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So, here we are 10 weeks away from our date with the Chevron Houston Marathon on January 13, 2013.  After running two marathons in 2012, we will be crossing our only marathon this year off of our race list only two-weeks into the new year.  For the first time in I can’t even remember how long I have no race plans after Houston.

Usually at this point, 10-weeks away from an “A” race, I already have an inkling as to where we will be headed next.  Heading into Pittsburgh in 2009 it was Boston in 2010.  After running Boston and Pittsburgh back to back for Dom in 2010, it was Austin in 2011.  Austin became New York, New York became Boston again and Boston of course became Houston.

But now, after a few tune-up races over the next two months – The Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, the Lights of Love 5K December 7 and the Shiner Half Marathon on December 16th – there really is only one race remaining and one goal.

Houston.

Sub 3.

Nothing else is remotely on my mind.  No distractions, no fallback plans, no place to go after we pick up the pieces if we don’t make it.

For the first-time when it comes to the marathon I have pushed all my chips to the center, stood up and stepped back from the table.

All in.

As of today there are only 56 runs remaining and a little more than 560 miles of roads, trails and race courses between us and the starting line in Houston.  A lot of the heavy lifting was done this summer as we were training for our first half-ironman.  When I look ahead at the workouts, mileage and balance of the training plan that remains I feel confused at times.

I am running more mileage than I ever have before preparing for a marathon.  I am running more individual miles at race pace (6:52) or faster, a little more than 22% of my miles so far, and I continue to hit my pace marks time after time after time.  I have five 20-23 mile training runs spread out over the next 8 weeks of Sundays and none of them have me the least bit nervous or concerned.

I am running my hard days hard, my easy days easy and maintaining my body the best way that I know how.

Beginning next week I will have a nice 3-week break from work to finish out November as I will be transitioning to a new job – another rather fortuitous circumstance as I will be pushing hard these next three weeks breaking things down to build them back up in December, then taper into race day down in Houston looking to run the race of our life.  Those next three weeks are a blessing.

My race shoes, a gift from my Mother and Father-in Law hit the front step of the house Tuesday morning.  Aside from determining what clothes are going to match the weather on race day the best, our plans for race weekend are finalized.  Hotel, transportation, pre-race dinner – all boxes that have been checked off.

My race strategy is locked in to memory and I am fully committed.

First mile no faster than 6:58.

Half-way point in 1:28:30.

Run with your head through 20 miles.

Run with your heart to the finish.

I can’t remember a race where I was more calm and confident this far out from the starting line.  Usually I spend a lot of time analyzing every run, how I felt, how my pace was, am I getting faster, getting slower, is my goal the right one, am I good enough, do I want it badly enough.

This time around, all of those questions have answers and those answers tell me that I am ready.

56 more times between now and January 13th I need to concentrate, keep my focus and do the work.  That is all that is left to do which is a pretty great spot to be in right now during the meat of our training progam.

New York City served a great reminder to me this past weekend when the race was cancelled for the very first time since it began in 1970.  Things happen when it comes to the marathon.  Most of them out of your control, and most of them not in your favor.  Obsessing about them, including the weather, the course, other runners – it is all just wasted energy.  I’ve done it in the past and I am steadfastly refusing to do so this time.

I am going to focus on the things that I can control and do my very best to prepare for every challenge I am going to face on the race course.

The things I cannot control, I am going to leave up to the other 13,000 marathoners on race day to worry about.  They can do the worrying for me.

10,800 seconds are all I have to work with down in Houston.  Each one of them as precious as any other.  Sounds like a lot of time when you think about it that way.  I hope it is enough because at the end of the day, I’m pretty sure we’re going to need just about every one of them.

On to Houston.

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Comments
  1. Joe–your training is inspiring. With the work you’ve put in, hopefully race day is nothing more than a formality. Great work and thanks for inspiring us all.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Thanks Ty for the kind words! Visualizing it, I’m really hoping that mile 26 becomes a victory lap. It only happened for me that way at the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2009 when I had a goal time in my pocket that I couldn’t miss unless I fell down or quit. I cruised that mile and it felt like my feet never even touched the ground – probably my favorite memory finishing any marathon – and in hindsight it was only my third fastest race or something like that …. but knowing that you put in the work, executed the plan, ran a perfect race …. there is no better feeling running that last mile. I’ve been searching for it for over 4 years.

  2. Mark says:

    You continue to get stronger every month, and to be so comfortable at MP at this point is a great sign. It’s also very encouraging for me to be training “alongside” you for the same race. Your consistency helps me to do the same.

    • joerunfordom says:

      Thank you Mark! I feel the exact same way, with every workout I see you crush I get excited for my next quality day. Going to be two happy marathoners in that finishing chute on the 13th I belive 🙂 Keep killing it down there in Houston!

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