Saturday, August 2, 2008

Where Have I Been.....

First, I want to apologize because as I am conceiving the words of this entry in my mind I have about three different threads of thought working. As someone who is extremely susceptible to going off on separate tangents I will do my best to keep everything in line. So as Stephen King might say: "Bear with me, constant reader".

Plans for the Fall...
So this trail runner has had some fun these last few weeks running a couple longer trail races. Blue Hills was the toughest thing I have ever done, and the Greenbelt was one of those races of which I am not particularly proud, but I got to meet other trail runners, which is inspiring on its own. To be honest, since the greenbelt race I have been entirely running on the roads. No particular reason, but for someone who wants to be considered a trail runner, this is sort of embarrassing. Nonetheless, one subconscious reason has been because my short term and Fall goals are centered around running two road oriented races.

First, I have a score to even with the "Run to the Rock" Half Marathon. Last year I entered a week before the race, foolishly thinking I could run the race. It was a "I have the guts" moment, and Plymouth my hometown, and the course following some of my old training routes, and finishing a quarter mile from my parents house, made the allure too much to resist. Plus, there was that matter of never officially racing at a distance more than 10 miles. Back in my swifter days I was relegated to the track and cross country paths, but never raced anything longer than 10 miles (South Mountain 10 Miler, 65:07, Lehigh Valley, PA 1997 and Yankee Homecoming 10 miler, 61:57, Newburyport 1999) and the Great Stew Chase 15k (Lynn, MA 1999 - perhaps my finest hour running roads - 55:39 - 5:59 pace). Basically, between a nagging knee injury, and temps on the morning of the race ranging from 85 to 90, I punked out. It was probably a good move as hindsight would have it. I ran three miles that morning and completely flopped. So alas, I stand awaiting the challenge of the gun on the morning of September 6th, MUCH more prepared to deal with running in the heat and humidity.

Run to the Rock Half Marathon

Basically I am using the Run to the Rock as a tune-up for my first marathon. One more interesting point is that two weeks ago I laid out my plans looking at the half marathon as a good tune-up, and a "can I do it?" moment, since most of 'long runs' in the last six months have been 10-12 miles, and not much fun. Sure, it is 1.1 miles from 12, but I have been unable to really keep a weekly long run in my training as it usually aggravates an overuse injury, which has been the end result of two other attempts to run that illusive marathon. In any event, my plan is to run the Bay State Marathon. The hard part is that most training plans are set on an 18 week schedule and I jumped in with about 13 weeks to go until Bay State. Part of the idea was to run Bay State to help out my running club in the USATF-NE Grand Prix standings, as last year our club only had three guys in the Cape Cod Marathon for the GP race. I guess the latter part of the challenge is sort of a moot point, as running my first marathon really is the goal, and frankly, if I am going to compete in any 'series' I'd rather have it be the Grand Tree series or the eastern NE trail series.

So far my training has gone well. Two weeks in an two long runs completed - 12 and 14 miles respectively, and the good news is that after completing the long runs, I am sure the first piece of the puzzle - the Run to the Rock - will not be a problem, or will leave me with doubts about running Bay State. But more on that to come.

There is an outside chance I am waiting too long to enter Bay State, as the race is capped at 1500 this year, and at this point in time there are less than 500 spots left. The good news is that this is New England, and there is always a place to run a marathon in the Fall. The Cape Cod Marathon would be one very attractive option as I am basically someone born and raised near the Cape, and, of course, I have the option of running Stone Cat, but with the growing popularity, and a smaller field allowance, I might miss out there, too.

Either way, I feel blessed that I am able to once again think about training plans and setting somewhat more challenging goals. A couple years ago it was running a 5k without having to stop and walk, and this past weekend I ran 14 miles without walking. Great times.

I think I am just going to publish this one and begin another post.

Happy trails!

1 comment:

Dan said...

Hi Rob

Bay State is a good choice. I know a few people who have run it and they say it's a pretty fast course, fairly flat. It may be too late to change your plan but check out Benji Durden's 15 week marathon training schedule. It may give you some ideas.

I followed it in 2007 for the Sugarloaf Marathon and it worked very well for me. I estimate I was in 3:12 shape about 9 weeks into it but "stuff" happpened and I wasn't able to run the race. Best of luck with your training.