One of the hardest parts for me in racing is staying mentally tough. I’ve eluded to my inability to embrace “the suck” that accompanies racing, particularly in the later stages of a marathon. I’m determined to conquer my mental obstacles at Buffalo—fighting the “good enough” attitude. The tough part is that I’ve been here before, staring race day in the face and knowing that things will hurt. I’ve prepared myself in the past for “the suck.” I wouldn’t grade the result as a failure, but retrospect is crystal clear: you could have pushed harder.
Holy tired. This past Saturday brought me to the start line of the Grand Island Half Marathon. The plan was to run comfortably hard the entire time, avoiding any red lining. I was toeing the start line with a 70 and 55 mile week in my rear view, some of which included harder speed work. I knew that I would find the GI start line with an underlying level of fatigue, but I wasn't prepared to feel awful. :)
We’re finally on the downhill slide (or should be)! Most of us have likely peaked with our long runs and weekly mileage. With that comes absurd hunger and the quiet sigh of relief that yes… I can do this. This entire training process was tough. I’m definitely not ready to hammer out a strong PR (yet), but I experienced an internal satisfaction when I hit the stop button to round out my 70 mile week, culminating with an 18 miler on Saturday.
It’s been a crazy two weeks since my last post. Between getting a tooth pulled (ow!) and running an impromptu race, my training has been forced to pivot. William has me guessing every day. Will I get Dr. Jeckel or Mr. Hyde? Only the morning will tell. So this post begins like so many other, over a cup of coffee with the clock staring back with 3:15am, fully knowing that the submit button won’t be hit until later tonight.
Today’s day started like many others, a 4am change of a poopy diaper and the slugging of 3.5 oz of milk. I’m getting pretty good with this diaper changing business. I’m fairly certain every diaper change is a PR. We are transitioning away from feedings every two hours (YAHOO!) and started to recapture some lost time sleeping. My nightly average has improved to just under six, while the Easter Holiday allowed me to snag an extra hour while William was passed around the family. For the first time since January, I'm starting to feel as if I'm treading water and not simply trying to stay afloat.
Eight weeks to go, but where is spring? I mean really, it's 17 degrees right now. If it's not cold and snowing, it's cold and raining! Spring, where are thou? This "sprinter" season that we've been exposed to has made the path to the starting line a slipper slope... literally and figuratively. For me, these final eight weeks are where I earn my PR and another trip to Boston. It just so happens that my PR is being built on the back of my treadmill.
I’m a big believer is accountability. Whether it’s at work, home, or in sport, accountability can be a huge motivator. Training for a spring race in the Northeast requires some motivation. I, like most of Buffalo, am not a stranger to winter training. For the past several years I’ve spent the colder months of the northeast bundled up, logging long snowy miles. My resume includes a handful of marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 2014, and a full Ironman at Lake Placid.
Eighty four days. That’s 12 weeks for Mother Nature to right the ship. This week rounds out at 56 miles, including a 16 mile long run. With the awful temps that have plagued the northeast I continue to run indoors. Yes, that’s 16 miles indoors. Fueled by NetFlix and coffee I’ve ran the last 126 miles without touching pavement. I’ve succumb to staying indoors and have made my peace and you should too (more to come).
Ninety nine days to go. I know we’re not supposed to complain about the weather, but what the hell? Retrospect may be a coping mechanism or an outlet for airing complaints, but I felt like prior winters allowed for an occasional 40 degree day to sneak into the mix. My training continues to remain indoors. On the off chance I decided to hit a long run on actual pavement it’s been met with 30 degrees and rain. Fun.
He’s here! The day that I was assured my running career and aspirations would come to a halt. A day that seemingly offered a mix of back handed wisdom, “the best day ever” mixed with “get your sleep now” followed by “your life is about to change.” It's suprising how many people warn you about becoming a parent. It's a shame that more people don't transform the "your life is about to change" to "it's going to be the best day of your life." The countdown began inside two weeks. Of course the countdown was accompanied with personal predictions that "There's no way he'll be early--it's your first."
I started training earlier than most. While most marathoners train through a 16-18 week program, I planned on 20-22 weeks. Training thus far has been tedious. Since running the Boston Marathon in 2014 I’ve ran, but haven’t trained. Most of us certainly know the difference. I began my training plan 22 weeks from the Buffalo Marathon, mainly to give me a few weeks to find my legs and build a little base, while banking a week or two of flex for both injury and finding my groove as a new dad.