Posts Tagged ‘Run to Remember’

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So this Sunday I am running the Boston Run To Remember Half Marathon. It will be my second time running it and my third half marathon overall. So far, in my short racing career, every race has produced a PR. 8 races, 8 PR’s. Granted, some of those PR’s were because I was running a particular distance for the first time.

I am afraid that the streak will come to an end this Sunday. In order to keep the streak alive, I need to run a 1:33:13 or better. If you had asked me last week whether I thought that was achievable, I would have bravely answered in the affirmative, however, now that I have a few runs under my belt since taking two weeks off, I am a little more doubtful.

As wonderful as it has been to be back on the road and running, I have definitely noticed a drop in efficiency. It is taking more energy to go the same distance and despite working hard to maintain cardio health through the elliptical and swimming, the combination of  two weeks of rehab and a four week taper (see Boston and Providence) may have proven to be too much.  I have read that it takes four weeks for a well conditioned runner to lose their fitness level.  Unfortunately for me, I feel like I may be 2 weeks over.

Running this week has felt great mentally, but has been a grind physically.  Even today’s 5 miler was hard to get through.  The wife asked me earlier this week if I was still planning on running this Sunday.  I nearly scoffed at her saying, “of course I’m going to run!”

But she had a point.

Maybe it isn’t so wise to jump right back into a longer distance after taking some time off.  After a 20 mile race and 2 marathons over the course of 5 weeks, I convinced myself that a half-marathon was a short distance.

It’s not.

Bottom line for me is that I will make how I run on Sunday a race time decision, and then continue to make adjustments throughout the race.  If there is nothing else that running has taught me, it’s to do a self-check every few miles or so, no matter what kind of physical condition you’re in.

Before I went out for my run this afternoon, I told myself that instead of shooting for a PR this weekend, maybe I should be aiming for an RR (Race Record).  Last year I ran a respectable 1:40:47 (though it turned out someone took a wrong turn and the course ended up being 12.95 miles).  If I beat that, if I could keep a 1:3-:– handle, I’d be pretty happy.

But after today’s run, a tough 5 miles in what felt like tremendous heat, I’m feeling like I’ll be lucky if I finish.

It all comes down to efficiency.  How efficient is my body with the energy stores it has?

This Sunday, we’re gonna find out.

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Don’t be a spectator. Don’t let life pass you by.

-Lou Holtz

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In every race that I have run, I have always been grateful for the people who come to cheer the runners on. Whether coming for a friend or family member, these people end up cheering everybody on. It is a great energy booster for me as a runner when random strangers cheer me on and even a bigger one when it’s from my family and friends.

Last Sunday was the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. I had no plans of running it, but I had two friends who were. Had I not been nursing this knee, I probably would have shown up last-minute to run, however, I did the right thing and staked out a spot late in the race to cheer on my buddies (Josh – @bostoncardiovet and Alett – @petfxr…I’d find out later that Alett had suffered a minor injury and was not running). I got to my spot maybe 20 -30 minutes early. I asked a cop what mile marker we were at (just shy of 11) and then asked the spectators already there how many people had already gone by (maybe 10 at most). I looked at my watch. 90 minutes, shy of mile 11, 10 runners. I did the math. Damn! I wish I was running this. Given healthy conditions, I could have had a shot at being one of those top 10. As the runners began to trickle by, I cheered each and every one of them on. Some said thank you, others were in a zone and kept on running. I envied each and every one of them.

This was the first race I had been to where I wasn’t a participant, and I’ve got to tell you, it was hard. I’m not talking “oh geez, I wish I were running too” hard.  No, I’m talking “pang in my heart, itch in my legs, must resist the urge” kind of hard!   I was never a huge racing fan before I started running, and even after I started running, I didn’t get into races until I ran my first one. As great as it was to cheer on complete strangers, all I wanted to do was run.

When Josh came running by about 20 minutes later I kicked off my flip-flops, put my coffee down and began running with him. Yes, I know. I’m rehabbing and I’m not supposed to be running! But I promise I was forced to run lightly since I was completely barefoot. It felt great.   Just being out there with the other runners felt absolutely awesome.  After taking Josh up a particularly steep hill, I bid him good luck and jogged back to my spot, cheering each runner I passed.

So, what did I learn?

I learned that running a mile barefoot isn’t so bad. It actually got me thinking that maybe one of these days I’ll try a 10K or half-marathon completely bare.

But the biggest thing I learned on Sunday was that I don’t like being a spectator.  I will continue to support friends who run local races, but I have a feeling that if I’m healthy, I’m a lot more likely to be joining them at the starting line instead of cheering them on.  I think that I can apply this to other parts of my life as well.  How many of us have spent a good chunk of our adult years as a spectators or watchers?  While I try to figure out what that means, I’ll just have to start with a half marathon next week (anybody else running the Boston Run to Remember?) and some 5K’s over the summer.

I can’t wait to get back on the road.

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