Friday, April 1, 2016

Respect

If there is one single thing that I have learned since I started participating in endurance sports, it is the definition of the word respect.

- Respect the distance
- Respect the race
- Respect your training

Pic Compliments of Molly
Last Saturday I ran the first 21 miles of the Boston Marathon course as part of the course training run.  This is the third year I have now participated in this run, but the first where it really counts (first year I am actually running Boston).

The Boston Marathon is a race I have always had respect for.  Whether it was watching it on TV as a kid, watching it in person as an adult, or trying to qualify for it, it has always had that mystique of something that I new that I would have to do.

On November 2nd, 2014, I qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon.  While I had nearly a year and a half before the race, I knew that once training began, I would be going all in to make sure I delivered my best performance possible.

So far in 2016, I have run 871 miles (up over 200 from the same period in 2015).  I have increased my highest week and highest month twice. I have done more runs at goal pace then ever before.

Last Saturday's run we started off at reasonable pace with a plan of dropping to 6:45's around mile 6.  The goal was to run that pace until we hit mile 21 (top of heart break hill) before an easy trot back to the school where we parked.

For the next 9 miles we bounced around between 6:45 and 6:37 pace, weaving in and out of people while chatting.  At no time during this, did we feel like we were killing ourselves or over working.  Our group consisted of 5 of us, of which I was the only rookie getting ready to take on my first Boston.   We tried to control our pace and keep that feeling to let loose at bay. There would be a time to do so.

At mile 16, I began to turn it on and dropped a 6:32 as we crossed route 9 and descended down Grossman's hill.  For mile 17 we slowed back to 6:44 as we crossed route 95, the first of the Newton hills.  We then dropped back to 6:31 as we turned onto Commonwealth ave, where the real fun began.

As we made the turn, Bradley said "Your pace doesn't matter.  What matters is how much you are willing to hurt." With that I let loose dropping a 6:09 for my next mile and followed it up with a 6:20 and 6:25 to complete the final 3 Newton hills.

As we regrouped for our jog back, we discussed how confident we were in our plans for the race. The work has been done and now it is simply time to recover and stay sharp.

Looking back at today's run and this training cycle in general, I look back with pride.  This has been my best training cycle to date.  The only time I ran faster over a 21 mile stretch was during my qualifying race at Manchester.  Did I hurt today?  Yes.  By the end my hip flexors were on fire and my back was stiff, but I knew I could continue on.

As I continue my prep for the final weeks, I am confident in my plans and believe that I have given the oldest marathon in the world the respect it deserves.

Now to just make sure I keep that fire burning for the next 17 days.

- Scot

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