Whoops…

Try this trick and spin it, yeah. ~ The Pixies

Forgot to post, apparently. Time does fly when one is having fun.

The last couple of weeks have been interesting. I seem to be in a bit of a plateau and was fending off a cold which I managed to avoid. Whacked down some extra Zinc for a few days and paid special attention to rest and diet. So far, this week has been a lot better with strong, easy runs on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and a killer hill repeat workout on Tuesday. I am all teed up for a half marathon on Sunday and am hoping to do well. Given the timing of this race in my training cycle and my lack of taper, I am certainly not expecting earth-shattering results but if I can put in a good, steady effort, I’ll be super happy.

Two weeks ago I raced in the final event of the Winter Distance Series, the Snowman Stampede 10-miler, and it was an interesting event. I felt really rushed getting down to the race so my pre-race preparation was abbreviated then I just never really felt super well during the event. There was a fairly steady headwind on the outbound portion of the race so I battled that solo for the first half then just couldn’t get into the zone on the way back. Ended up a minute off my previous race time but still managed 3rd in my age group. All in all, a decent effort and a fun day racing.

I followed that up the next day with a big, 22-miler that was equally interesting. I started feeling pretty bonky about 2 hours into the run (depleted from the race) then battled fierce winds the second half of the run. Ended up finishing the last two miles at a decent clip (downhill… good sign) and ended up with 3:15 for the day. So again, not a bad effort. Good to see what I can do when fatigued and fun to do a course that approximates Boston in some ways.

I think that teed up my flat performance the following week so overall, not too concerned. We are about 6 weeks out now from Boston so I should be feeling a bit on the tired/crappy side on occasion. I know this hard work will pay off come race day.

~stubert.

Line up the ones…

You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming. ~ Frank Shorter

Time for a recap. Somehow I managed to end January 2011 just 5 miles shy of my digits for January 2010 (190+ miles for the month). That, was a bit of a surprise actually given that I didn’t log any marathon-ish distance running during the month. Kinda cool. I have definitely started working on quality and it seems to have paid off in relative speed out there. Good stuff.

Overall, this was a decent month of training and my one race went very well and gave me a lot of confidence going into the season (Frosty’s Frozen 10-mile: 1:04:48, 17th OA, 1st in AG). I have been working with the Gijima running group the past few months and have benefitted greatly from Mark Plaatjes’┬átutelage and marathon-distance-focused training. Mixing up my standard routine has kept me from burning out (though there were a couple weeks in December that were a bit on the weak side). All in all, I have managed to stay consistent, relatively injury-free and have challenged myself with solid (yet attainable) racing goals. All of this has made me a better runner and we are only 1/12th of the way through the year!

The proverbial icing on the equally proverbial cake this month was getting a surprise invite to the Boston Marathon this Spring. I had just qualified for Boston last fall when they opened up registration for the event and I wanted to let my Denver finish (3:10:48) soak in a bit before signing up. Based on previous years’ patterns, I thought I would have at least a month to figure out my plan and I was amazed to see later that evening that the event had already sold out. Wow. Shortly thereafter, I started training with Mark and Gijima and discovered that they were going to Boston as a group. Needless to say, my initial slight disappointment for having missed the sign-up window turned to a bit more sour.

Then, a week or so into the new year, I was talking with Mark about Boston and he said he thought he could get me in. He placed 6th and was the first American to cross the line in 1993 on his way to a win at the World Championships later that year. So needless to say, he was able to pull a few strings and secure me an invite entry. I haven’t gotten official word back yet but sent it in that very day and am all teed up for the big race in April.

Boston certainly poses some challenges. Qualifying is the first hurdle and men my age need to run a sub-3:20 to get the opportunity to run. I managed to knock this out at Denver last October. The second challenge is training through an unpredictable Colorado winter to be ready to run in mid-April. So far, we have had conditions that haven’t posed too much in the way of problems on this front but one never really knows what will happen in the weeks leading up to the big event. In late 2006, for example, Denver had two massive snow storms in one week that made running (especially at pace) VERY difficult for a number of weeks. I know the Gijima group did Boston that year as well and found themselves training in a parking garage for several weeks leading up to the race. There are race-day hurdles as well: Navigating the crowds and long waits for start times, the 6-mile downhill to start the event, the Newton hills and a fast, downhill finish all combine to keep one on ones toes.

I’ve booked travel and lodging for the weekend and will keep you posted throughout the next 10-weeks as I prepare for the race. Should be a good challenge and a lot of fun.

~stubert.