There’s something immensely satisfying about a “last long run”. In reality there’s no real last to it at all, of course – next weekend will bring a much longer long run but for all the weeks of preparation culminate with the penultimate effort the weekend before a race. I started the 18 week training cycle for this race on Halloween of last year, the day after I couldn’t quite PR in Cape Cod, my last marathon of 2011. It might seems like an arbitrary distinction, to roll from racing on day X to training on X+1, and to some degree it is. But these are the mental tricks that have to be played to maintain motivation, to provide a structure on which to build progress. It takes 18 weeks to get ready – and today I’m done with all but the last of those, in the process having run some 662 miles.
Today’s last run was 16 miles, and though not a PR for that distance (Boston Prep 2012 was that) today was my fastest non-race time on my regular 16 mile route. This despite some pretty gnarly winds. It leaves me feeling quite optimistic about next Sunday. My stated goal is to break 4:00 hours but a part of me I don’t know whether to trust or not thinks that might be too conservative.
Whoever came up with the idea to drop coffee from his life two weeks prior to a marathon was clearly not someone with good judgment. Fact is, the coffee will, at some point, be consumed again. Dependencies broken will be reformed. I’ve played this game before and the outcome is known.
That said, a square or two of this good chocolate is good way to wean off the juice. Thanks Lucy for the Valentine’s Day gift!
Today is of course Fat Tuesday ahead of Lent tomorrow. I’ve celebrated with a ridiculously busy work day, a five mile run and a peaceful evening. I’m also celebrating with the arrive of not one not two but three different unsolicited mixes (apparently) kicking off mixcorps 2012. Cheers to mikey & yjp for putting these together – they’re going on the marathon playlist no questions asked.
Not much good to say. It hasn’t been terribly positive week, I haven’t been feeling healthy or strong, and as of yesterday morning I was pretty well convinced I was going to have to drop out of my race in New Orleans, two weeks from today. It’s also the first time year I haven’t hit 40 miles for the week. Also, I’ve stopped posting POTDs, something that has almost always given me joy.
But, tomorrow is a day off, a good thing. And some tomorrows are better than today.
Edit to add: I’ve realized from looking back this week marked 20 weeks in a row with a half-marathon length long run. A positive to build off of.
Three weeks from today I’ll be running my race down in New Orleans. I think we’re finally close enough to check in with the weather – the 10 day forecast looks like lows in the mid-50s and highs around 70, with rain as the only possible problem. This past week I’ve run 48 miles, a high for the current cycle. From here I’m supposed to start tapering down somewhat but we’ll see, I’d like to keep it above 40 for numerical consistency’s sake. My three 20+ mile runs leading up to this race had splits of 8:57, 8:39 & 8:43, so I’m thinking it’s not unrealistic to think I might bring this race in under 4 hours (a 9:00 split would be ~3:56). Breaking that barrier would be a nice validation of this winter’s work.
The highlight of the day was supposed to be the Patriot’s winning the Superbowl, but in the end, it was not to be. In retrospect, the highlight was today’s Super Sunday 5 in Kendall Square. This was my first race with a sub-7:00 split, a vast improvement from my last 5 miler in 2007. Bitter cold and tons of fun, I’d definitely like to run this guy again.
Training-wise, this marks the end of 14 of 18 weeks of prep for New Orleans. Less than a month to go.