"His daily toil was arduous; satisfying on the whole, but not the bounding, joyous nature romp described in the magazines. Other runners, real runners, understood it quite well."
- John L. Parker, Jr. 'Once a Runner'
Following the successful completion of yesterday's tough 34k long run in the East-end with many of the BLT crew, there are now only 3 weeks left to the Chicago Marathon on 13 October.
Needless to say, the past weeks have been busy. According to Garmin Connect, following the run yesterday, I ran 737k in the last 30 days and my (now complete) but still continuing Summer Run Streak stands at 118 days (as of this morning)! My weekly mileage for the past 5 weeks has been 169, 127 (a 'down' week for the Milton Half), 210!!!, 174 and 166 (kilometres).
Most of those miles have either been easy or at aerobic pace and are nothing special or worth mentioning (the quote above perfectly captures my sentiment on the subject). The workouts and long runs have been reasonably hard but also entirely manageable and don't leave us too bagged or broken down for the next days effort. In fact, many of us have come to eagerly anticipate the long intervals and mid run pick-ups and often tend to go a bit harder than we should which is a huge psychological boost. In short, the Fall program has put us through our paces and yet we've survived, thrived, and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As part of the build-up, a large BLT contingent travelled to Milton for a tune-up Half-marathon on the 15th. Our 12 runners finished the race in places 1 through 12 including 1st overall (myself), 1st master (Davey) and first female (new 'Lady Lung' Lyndsay). About half the crew also set impressive PBs. I personally ran a 30sec PB and finished in an official time of 1:12:58, which involved a slight negative split. I was thrilled.
With only 3 weeks left until the marathon, the mileage will start to come down and technically, it's taper time. There is still some work to be done including some mile repeats on the track, a final 33k long run, and a tempo run at marathon pace but is again, nothing we can't handle at this point. I've got to say that I've been extremely fortunate to avoid almost any kind of injury during this cycle and in fact have felt pretty damn good through-out the build. I've posted impressive times in my tune-up races and in workouts which has me feeling very confident and indeed excited about what I can do in Chicago in 3 weeks time. So just as I did before Boston, I will again state my goal of running a 2:32 (and yes, 2:32:59 would count). The flat course means I can go for an equal or slight negative split which means my plan will be to hit the half (21.1k) mark between 1:16:00 and 1:16:30, and hope to hold on for dear life when times get tough. I've improved my in-race nutrition strategy which I hope in conjunction with a successful carbo-load as well as ideal/optimal race day conditions will pay off on the 13th.
And if it doesn't... there's always this:
"What I mean is that someone sees a race, and they think that's what you do. They sort of know you had to train, but they weren't watching then, so they don't understand how incredibly much of it there is. But to us, it's almost the whole thing. Racing is just the little tiny ritual we go through after everything else has been done. It's a hood ornament."
- John L. Parker Jr. 'Again to Carthage'