Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Here We Go Again . . . Primed for Boston 2011

In what seems like both a blink of an eye and a geological epoch, we are just a few days away from the 115th running of the Boston Marathon.  Almost a year ago, I wilted on the historic course, crumbling under the weight of my father's death, pre-race illness and an inability to manage emotions and expectations.  I had wandered somewhat aimlessly through my training, logging the miles but not the quality; creating fitness, but not peaking when it mattered most.  About 3000 running miles - and a few serious life trials - later, I get a second chance.

Interestingly, I have been so focused and consumed by non-running life this year, that my race prep has been relegated to a serious back burner.  I have not stalked the weather, obsessed about what to wear, made a pace band or otherwise fretted about how I will execute next Monday.  Knowing that I averaged 75.6 miles per week during my pre-taper training, with more quality than ever before, ran my first official ultra race and a managed a new half-marathon PR seems to have liberated me from needing to micro-obsess over the details.

At this point, I need to try to rest, eat well and stay emotionally/psychologically strong and even-keeled.  Am I declaring a public goal? Yes, sub-3:05, but I hope to do even better than that by running smart early, and running with heart late.  The way I described it recently is that I'll take 3 miles to get to pace, cruise along for the next 17-18, and then hammer away with a big smile on my face for the final 5-6 miles, running tall, strong and happy through the streets of Boston, en route to a very different experience from a year ago.

Having a second chance at Boston has been an unexpected blessing, as I managed to re-qualify and to get myself registered despite the mad rush which caused the race to fill in an unprecedented 8 hours!  Of course, to get to the point where I expect to improve considerably on my prior effort has taken a ton of hard work, self-reflection and sacrifice.  One might be able to extract a life lesson from that, but I'll leave it to the reader to draw his or her own conclusions. ;-)

So, with this brief update, I'll likely be "off" the blogosphere until after the race.  As always, I'll post an unvarnished (and probably tragically under-edited) report shortly after the race.

Best of luck to all of my Boston running friends, and a special word of gratitude to those of you who have been there for me during this challenging period of my life.

Cheers, ESG