care package

friday

4 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering

Received this care package that I’ve been waiting for in the mail today, and just what I asked for inside!

15 miles in the park and around Buffalo this evening ahead of the Syracuse Half on Sunday.  Not sure how much time I’ll have to run tomorrow and it’s supposed to be wet, so glad to get in the miles today.  Was a little concerned about no speed work this week and not being rested, but then remembered that the half marathon will be the speed/tempo run of the week, and must remind self that this isn’t the goal race…so run it well, smart, and not be too concerned about time and placing…instead thinking of it as more of a romantic getaway…

inspire, then magic

thursday

4 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering

(12 miles relaxed in the park today)

Always before big races, I come back to this footage time and again, the last 6 miles or so of the ‘Duel in the Sun,’ and nearly always brings me to tears seeing one of my heroes, the impossibly genuine Dick Beardsley, battle it out with Goliath, both external and in.  I vaguely remember seeing this as a high school freshman, my then hero, Bill Rodgers, on the decline, and I didn’t care much about these two new guys, even though Alberto Salazar was by then gaining rock star status in the running world.

Look at the crowd on top of them, the motorcade in their way, the organizers finally had the sense to get rid of them soon after.  Look how raw the coverage is, how basic the graphics, single cameras, the play by play, the lack of sponsor signs, though they all seemed advanced at the moment.  Listen to the legendary Bill Squires talk about his pupil, Beardsley, or the legendary Boston area sportscaster, Bob Lobel, now retired, feverishly call the race up Hereford, around and down Boylston, and Katherine Switzer throw off her broadcast objectivity and scream ‘Go Dickie!’

All of them urging on the huge underdog Dick Beardsley as he does magic in that turn when he musters up something out of nothing for one last gasp to catch Salazar for one last time.  That moment isn’t magical, it IS magic, magic born out of inspiration.  Inspiration isn’t an epiphany nor whimsical, not the sudden sprouting of bright leaves, rather it is a cool deliberate thickening of the roots that fuels magic.  This sight is one of my ’must’ inspirations between now and Boston.

inversely proportional

wednesday

4 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering

10 easy paced relaxing miles in the park tonight in a suddenly winter-like temp in 20’s, it’s only temporary but I didn’t like it.  But the start of taper is going well.  Was home today with some free time, had a beer, and it knocked me out a little bit.  Been pretty good about alcohol intake during the past months of training, and looks like my ability to handle it has gone down…maybe inversely proportionally to my ability to handle mileage…

body language

tuseday

4 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering

The gradually lower mileage continued today with a random routed 12 miler through the park and neighborhoods, the warm temps had everyone and their pooches out for a little shakeout.  The slight easing of effort gave the body a chance to vent its pent up feelings about the way it’d been put through the wringers the past few months, the legs and arms pointedly expressive with soreness throughout the run.  I tried to ignore it, and instead told myself I’m going to have to think and feel like a 25 year old if I’m going to have any chance in the 50 year old category…

muse

monday

4 weeks til Boston, the taper

This first day of taper for Boston was a much needed 10 mile shake out, a shorter run than it has been, nothing intense, but much mindfulness.  Kinda look at the start of taper as shaking up the bottle, getting the fizzies going and preventing the flavors from settling to the bottom, when all the ingredients that have been fermenting are refined to a concoction.  A huge part of that process is to take stock of all that’s happened so far and is still to come.  

To that end, having just passed a physically demanding phase, today, fully reflected on how much my girlfriend, Kim, a distance runner extraordinaire and a top age group triathlete (all this when when she’s not publishing her short stories) has helped me through this grueling journey…it’s always helpful when your partner is a runner, but perhaps essential when you dream of something quixotic like competing for something at the Boston Marathon…she’s been my partner, coach, and confidante and will be with me all the way through Boston…and I’m sure I’ll be returning the favor in the very near future…

hallelujah

sunday

5 weeks til Boston, 1 day before taper

The gravity was heavy today, like running on Jupiter.  ‘Tired’ has been the theme all week and continued today, this last day of the main phase of training for Boston, and it went out with a bang, a tough 16 miler around town and the parks.  The first miles were like running in molasses without coordination, but picked up some speed in the latter half for a strong finish.  The taper begins tomorrow – Hallelujah – but will be a gradual easing of mileage with a sharpening of focus on race day.  It starts tomorrow, then a tune up Half next Sunday in Syracuse.  Halleluja!

feeling like a marathoner

saturday

5 weeks til Boston

14 miles in the park on a sweetly warm overcast day, an easy pace with no additives.  We went out last night after the tough 16 miler, had some Pho, a Vietnamese stew with veggies and lean beef, just what I needed, with a couple glasses of red wine, and that was all she wrote for me, slept through the night and then some.  Felt better but the residue of marathon training remained during today’s recovery run.

After running and a shower, sat down on the couch for a moment and realized I’m starting to feel like a marathoner, all the sweat along with any excess matter washed and trained away, and what remains are just the solids, the bones and muscles…bare like a marathoner.