Monday, 24 March 2014

#122 Four more...

There are now just four weeks (28 days) to go before I and 36,000 others line up in Hopkinton on the morning of Monday 21 April to run the 118th Boston Marathon

My last update came following the Chilly Half in Burlington where I ran an ever so slight PB of 1:12:55. Since then, it's been nothing but hard training with plenty of high mileage (510K's in the past three weeks), a few tough and timely workouts, and even a 5K race just "for fun."

The week following Chilly saw my mileage increase from 108 to 168K (yup, that definitely violates the 10% rule) including a tough Thursday interval workout (10K worth of long repeats at slightly faster than 10K pace), followed by a triple on Friday (10K to work, 10K at lunch, 14K on the way home) and a Sunday long run of the usual 33K and which included some long pick-ups.

Leading a line of Lungs at the Achilles 5K (and blocking all the wind). Photo credit: John MacMillan
A week later, I hit what I expected to be my peak mileage for the cycle when I ran 170K and which concluded with a 5K race sandwiched in the 'long run' on Sunday. Not surprisingly, it wasn't very fast (I ran 16:45 for 9th place) but that might have had something to do with the extreme cold (it felt like -20), the gusty winds (up to 40Kph) and the fact that the course was (at least) 150m too long! The Black Lungs also entered a team of 12 strong and were hoping to take top honours in the team challenge, but came up just short and finished second behind our buddy Matt Leduc and his all-star team "Cocky Swagger." Still, not a bad week overall.

Then this past week, I managed to run just slightly more than the previous by capping off a hectic week with a 37.7K run in 2:32 (4:01/K) and which included over 23K of rolling hills (ideal prep for Beantown) and then 5K at around goal marathon pace right at the end. Overall, my mileage for the week totaled 172K (definitely the peak for this cycle) and included four very hilly runs and workouts. Best of all, I'm feeling really good with little more than occasional aches and pains (entirely expected) and no major issues (knock on wood).

This coming week is set to be a much anticipated 'easy/down' week to provide a mini-taper for the Around the Bay 30K on Sunday. I'll aim to run no more than 110K including a day off on Saturday and plan to give the race an honest go if the weather cooperates and things don't get too crazy the night before (I'll be at a wedding all night). What this means in terms of a time is that I'm hoping to come within a minute of my time from last year (1:45:43), preferably under, even if by a few seconds. Last year I took some flak for choosing to race ATB, rather than (marathon) pace it. I then got plenty of "I told you so's" after my sub-par performance in Beantown. Some people say it's just too hard on the body with only three weeks to Boston, but I'm still not convinced. Once again, only time will tell...

Another bit of exciting news came late last week when official bib number, wave and corral information for Boston was released. Bib numbers are assigned based on qualifying times with the fastest runners assigned the lowest numbers (and who also start the earliest in the first wave and corrals). Last year I was bib #263 and my qualifying time was 2:36:24. This year my bib is #254 (just nine 'places' better/lower than 2013) despite my qualifying time being 2:34:13 (over two minutes faster). This suggests that there are plenty of fast guys and gals in this year's event and it's likely to be a competitive field. I'm still not 100% what my plan/goal for the race will be, but judging by my training and tune-up races, I may well aim to go for an outright PB, in addition to a BB (Boston Best) which would mean running faster than both the 2:37:43 I ran last year in Boston and the 2:34:13 I ran in Chicago. I'll likely make an "official" announcement a few days before the event so stay tuned for that.

Good luck to all those who are also training and getting ready for their goal races in the spring. I'm certainly looking forward to another great year at ATB and will then start to get really geared up for Boston. Happy running everyone!

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