Sunday, February 23, 2014

Boston Training Week 10, Change

When I charted out my Boston training plan back in December, I knew this would be the toughest period.  Weeks 8 through 15.  The midpoint - the build up of several weeks on weary legs but yet several weeks left before taper begins.  Over 200 miles in February.  Over 250 in March.

Late February is always a trying time of year, but change is just around the corner - and change is what keeps us living.  It was sunny and in the 70s today.  The ATT Bridge is finally open - opening a new menu of runs to do from my front door.

This February, we had the "snow week" in the Triangle.  Cars stranded (or on fire!) on the side of the ice coated roads.  The Triangle is now officially tied with Atlanta for the dubious distinction of metro area most unable to deal with winter weather.  I lost two days in the office, but managed not to lose a day of training thanks to the wise purchase of a Nordic Track T6.3 treadmill for Christmas.

Then I had a few days soaking up the sun in Las Vegas, flight and 2 hotel nights courtesy of the companies sponsoring the conference I was presenting at.  Few people I know want to admit Vegas is a place they would actively seek to travel to, but after the winter we have had, I was more than glad to take the "free trip" knowing there is no such thing as a free trip to Vegas.  In the end I would still offer my wallet as a sacrifice to MGM to fund another ostentatious casino down the line.  In short, I needed to get away, I needed a change.

Vegas is no mecca for running, but I have been to worse places.  It amuses me to wake up early and walk the mostly empty but still noisy casino floor with the end of the third shift casino workers, the late night crowd turning in intermingling with the other type-A personalities (likely other East Coasters there on business) and running out on the strip... running by a fake pyramid (Luxor), a fake Statue of Liberty (New York New York), a fake Eiffel Tower (Paris), a fake Doge's Palace (Venetian).  Running on a sidewalk better designed to funnel pedestrians in and out of casinos is not ideal, but again, I was glad to not be on my treadmill, the ATT, at Duke, or Umstead.  Again, I needed a change.

Not in New York
Not in Paris

I wanted to get off the strip, but all I saw was McCarran Airport

Deceptively hilly


I mentioned this word a few times.  

Running can be a terribly redundant sport, even in a place with as many trails as the Triangle, it is easy to get in a rut at this high of a volume - crossing the same paths, listening to the same playlists, trying to find the motivation to either wake up early or get out after a day in the office, often in the dark and cold.  Variety is essential - finding new places to run, new music to run to, things to think about.  Sometimes I solve my biggest dilemmas at work on my runs, just to occupy my mind.  I have made some big decisions to make any other changes in my life while running.

Without proper planning and foresight, running can also be isolating.  Later this past week, I was feeling a bit flat and unmotivated, I reached out to a few folks I had not run with in months.  With 60 miles on the docket for the week, having someone to talk to was the only way I was going to get through the last several.  In the end, that was my saving grace.

Regardless of whether I (or you) are training to run a marathon, an ultra, or just a first 5K - having an "accountability partner" is the key to success.  Would I have run 10 on my own Saturday morning?  Maybe, but it would have been much harder, so I texted my friend Neil to join me out there.  Whether I am with Bull City Track Club or Godiva, having the support system has helped make this easier.  If I run well in Boston, it will be my own effort, my own doing - but I will owe a ton to anyone and everyone who helped me out along the way.

Monday:  ~6 miles, running to an empty UNLV campus off the strip.  Yes, there is a track there, but by the time I got there it was time to turn around.

Tuesday:  ~4 miles, up and down the strip, dodging street cleaners and navigating closed stairways and a surprising crowd of other runners in the early AM

Wednesday:  ~8 miles, Duke-Wallace Wade track workout, warmup through the hovels of K-Ville evoking bad memories of freshman year, 3x2000m in 7:40, 7:35, 7:30 with 90 second recovery.

Thursday:  ~8 miles, with Godiva Group, and I RAN ACROSS THE I-40 BRIDGE (finally)

Friday:  ~3 miles at WaDuke, having one of those "why I am doing this?" runs

Saturday:  10 miles on the ATT @ 7:06 pace, feeling much better than Thursday/Friday

Sunday:  21 miles at Umstead, part of the way with music enjoying the sunshine, turned around on Turkey Creek and caught Bart on the way back and ran back with him, talking about some new training approaches and his Boston training, which seems to be going well.  The conversation reminded me that I really am looking forward to race day two months from now.  Ended up averaging about 7:34 pace over the run, which while not fast, was steady and comfortable - a good sign for my first 20+.

A hilly 21 miler

Total:  60 miles.  Ten weeks in I am already at my high point from my last training cycle.

Song of Week:  Phantogram, Fall in Love from their new album, Voices.

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