Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Weighty Eighty & the Gym Consultation

This week will be a quick training update post, mostly free from attempts at cleverness or profound observations. I've been busy with life, along with having lost power after a terrible windstorm which ravaged much of New Hampshire, all the while existing in the dark about the news of the earthquake in my native Chile.  So, it's with a distracted and somewhat heavy heart that I continue my marathon training and summarize last week's running-related news.

Recovery from the ill-fated "GI Joe" Half-Marathon went surprisingly well.  I took a post-race bath in the miracle product (full disclosure: the company is owned by a friend and is sort of a client) known as Endurasoak.  I ran with no soreness on Monday, though I skipped hill sprints.  I then ran 8 miles on Tuesday, 12 on Thursday, did doubles on Thursday (11+ total), a weird 10-miler on the treadmill on Friday (weirdness detailed below), 8+ Saturday in a light snowfall and 22+ on Sunday with my ultra-runner friend Nate.  The total for the week was . . . drum roll . . . 80 miles.  It's my first time breaking that barrier.  Am I tired? Yes.  But no injuries or even real aches and pains.

Friday was one of those days where the To-Do List resembles the Hydra of Greek mythology (on my mind since we saw The Lightning Thief on Friday night): you slay one head by completing an item, and several more seem to crop up. So, as the day's end neared, my planned 12-miler became 10, and my planned 6x1K repeats became 6x800m.  The need to hit quality paces, along with the weather and waning daylight, led me to the Y at 4:15 p.m., a very unusual time for me to run.  So, I get on a TM, set it at 6.5 mph, and already feel like I'm working hard in the first mile.  I'd left my Garmin at home (it may have been uncharged anyway), so I was using the TM's own speed reading to register my pace, rather than using the calibrated foot pod which gives me standardized readings regardless of which dastardly machine I use.

So, I'm about 1.5 miles into my run - minding my own business - and there are only a couple of other runners. Suddenly someone prods me insistently from behind.  I turn to see a pretty bulky guy, who seems to have strayed from the heavy lifting section of the gym.  He says, with an accent and almost angrily, "I need to speak with you."  I ask if we know each other; he says no.  I ask if there's a problem; he says no.  I ask if he knows who I am; he says no.  Finally, I press pause, get off the TM and walk to the side.  I ask what he needs, and he tells me that he knows I'm a "very good immigration lawyer" and needs to discuss his situation.  I suggest an office appointment and wait while he gets a pen and paper [mental note: bring business cards to the treadmill] to write down my contact information. Anyway, I schedule him for an appointment, tell him the fee and hear him reply that he can't afford the consultation.  I tell him to call me when he can.  It definitely took the wind out of my running sails, but those winds returned when my preferred TM opened up after 6 miles, and I realized that the pace on the first one was very stingy.  The remaining repeats and cool-down were much more manageable, with the pace falling in line with my perceived effort.

Once this week (hopefully another 80 miles) is in the books, we're looking at 6 weeks until Race Day.  I think I'll cut it back for a week, hammer really hard again for two, reduce slightly for one week and then do a pretty sharp two-week taper.

Still no Boston goal, but a range of realistic possibilities is coming into focus.  It's interesting to allow the "right" goal time to come to me, rather than chasing an arbitrary number.  I suspect that doing it this way will minimize miscalculations and disappointment, though - of course - part of the insidious appeal of the marathon is that anything can happen come race day.  Months of careful preparation can yield intense glory or bitter personal defeat.  I have finally reached a place in my running life, where my relationship with the sport (and the lifestyle, really) is such that no one race will derail me or make me question my worth as a runner.  That said, if there is a single stage in the running world on which every distance runner would want to deliver a virtuosic performance, it would be in Boston. I'm no different.

Thanks for reading. -ESG

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