Monday, October 27, 2008

Run. Race. Recover. Repeat.


It was a busy week in both my running and non-running life. No sooner had I put up my last post about having written off my own participation in the 113th Boston Marathon than a colleague asked me if I was interested in accepting an invitation to run Boston without need for qualifying. I hoped not to have sounded too ungrateful when I said, "Thanks, but no thanks," since I would feel like a fraud if I were to line up in Boston without having met the 3:20 qualifying standard for men aged 40-44.

Facing such a deep philosophical quandary, I posted a poll in the Runner's World forums. While the poll results were along the lines of what I had expected, I was surprised at the compelling content in some of the narrative answers. A few folks made strong arguments for accepting the bid, and using it as motivation to train to run the qualifying time in Boston. As former philosophy student who enjoyed logical theory, it's a strange tautology: to qualify for Boston in Boston. Certainly, it's been done, but I simply wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. I felt like a poser when I went to the Expo before the Boston Marathon this year.

So, I am toying with the following plan. I train for and run the Hyannis Marathon in February 2009 (yes, it could be nasty, but will it be worse marathoning weather than Chicago has been the last two years?). If I run a qualifying time, and Boston registration is full, then I use the invitation. If I don't make it, then I re-group and decide whether to run a Spring marathon or a later fall marathon such as Bay State in Lowell, MA or the Philadelphia Marathon.

We'll see how the BQQ (Boston Qualifying Quest) plays out. Stay tuned . . . .


Well, I've set the date and have worked out most of the logistics for the "Forty at 40" birthday run. Other than celebrating the fact that I've managed four decades on this planet, I'll be raising money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston in memory of a cousin of mine who dies from brain cancer (glioblastoma) at age 35. He would have been 40 next year, so it's sort of a joint birthday celebration.

The run will start at my house on December 7th (yes, I know it's Pearl Harbor Day, but there's no connection) at 8:00 a.m. and will likely involve two hilly 20-mile loops through three towns. Friends and family have committed to providing support via donations, encouragement and/or - best of all - running a few (or many) miles with me.

If you want to support this run in any way, please post a comment with the first word "PRIVATE" and your e-mail address and I'll send you more detailed information.


Last week was Week #2 of my post-Chicago Recovery. I let myself run as I felt - mostly - which resulted in only 4 running days. I may have erred on Tuesday by going a bit hard on nearly 7 miles on the half-marathon course where I'll run on November 2nd. My left hip has been a bit sore (not bad) since, so I skipped Wednesday, did an easy 5 on Thursday (in my new Saucony Grid Tangent 3's - nice!) and took Friday off.

On Saturday, I ran into a friend of mine downtown at a local bagel shop. He's in his early 50's now, but he was a hard-core college runner in his day, and ran a 2:42 marathon in the early 1980's. He's still fit, an avid adult league baseball player, who still lifts and runs 3-4 times a week, usually on the treadmill for about 30 minutes. He said he'd love to join me for an easy 5 miles on the trails. We set out a little before noon, and he looked smooth. We chatted a bit for the first mile or two, and then I noticed that he got quiet. Having run with plenty of people who are much faster than I, I knew he was getting winded, so stopped asking him questions and just pointed out highlights of the trails. He stayed about 50 feet or so behind me, and at about 3.5 miles I heard a thud. He'd taken a face-plant thanks to a well-concealed root, but picked himself up and kept plugging along. I slowed down in the last mile, and when we came out of the woods with about 0.4 miles to go, he asked me if we could stop. I told him that we were almost there, but that we could run any pace he wanted. He told me to go ahead, so I did, but he rallied and finished less than 30 seconds behind me. He said it was painful, but now he's motivated to get back in shape. I enjoyed the company, and it's not the worse feeling after a disappointing goal race to know that you're faster than somebody (especially somebody who used to be smokin' fast).

We had a major rainstorm blow through on Saturday night, but it cleared out as quickly as it had moved in. On Sunday, I had a glorious 11-miler in perfect weather, where I opened it for a mile-and-a-half towards the end just to see how I felt in advance of the half-marathon next Sunday. After running almost 9 miles at an 8:35/mile pace (though I was trying to run closer to 9:00/mile), I settled into a comfortably hard pace, running the first mile in 6:58 and the next half-mile at 6:43 pace. My HR held steady (there were some downhill stretches), and it felt good to move fast. Since I'm hoping to average under 7:20/mile on Sunday, it was a nice little test.

This week, I plan to take it easy. Monday was a cross-training day. I'll likely run Tuesday (7-8 miles), Thursday (5-6 miles on the trails at a non-profit board retreat at a luxury mountain resort) and Saturday (3-4 super-easy miles) before letting it all hang out at the half-marathon on Sunday.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Bimibatoo said...

I just stubbled across your blog and see that you need 3:19:59 to qualify for Boston. Your 5k PR shows that you can do it. But if this is really your goal you need to focus your training to run 7:35 pace for 26 miles.

Everyone is different of course but you need to get your weekly miles up to 40-50 quality miles. One week should be tempo run work and a medium-lon to long run. The other should be speed work and a long run. You can even build those workouts into your long run. In your long runs you need to build up to doing 1/2 to 3/4 of the long run distance at your M race pace target of 7:35.

Not that you asked for advice, but if you really want to B Qualify then you at least need to think along these lines.