The 2013 Boston Marathon is twelve days away, and for the 16th time I will toe the starting line in the village of Hopkinton, for the beginning of the world's oldest continuous marathon.
Since my first Boston Marathon appearance in 1978, Boston Marathon training has become somewhat of a rite of winter for me. Back in the days when I could record times in the 2:20s, I would turn in 100-mile weeks, sprinkling 8 or 9 20-milers in the mix, from the beginning of my training period in January.
These days I'm logging 50 miles a week, and 20-miles are less frequent, but, with less than two weeks until race day, it is always time to assess and to hope that the "money's in the bank."
Fortunately, my speaking schedule and book tour promotion, www.runningshortsbook.com, has enabled me to run good quality half marathons at Louisiana and Miami, and a full, training pace marathon at the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon.
On January 5, I ran a 15-miler, followed by a 16-miler a month later. On March 3, I logged my first 20-miler, on a nasty, windy day. I managed a 7:25 pace. Then, planning to run only 20 miles of the Yuengling Shamrock race, I maintained pace, running the entire 26.2 in 3:10:18, a 7:15 pace. Last Saturday, I ran my third and final 20-miler in 2:28:00, another 7:25 pace.
Speedwork during the marathon training period has consisted of mainly mile intervals. I hope to do a 4x1 mile interval workout tomorrow.
A ten mile run over the weekend, and the money will be in the bank. Next week the goal is to remain healthy and relaxed, and pray for good weather.
48 of my 54 lifetime marathons have fallen under the 3-hour mark, and I sure would like to add number 49 to that on April 15. My only two DNF's have been at Boston, however, and last year, a sinus infection, coupled with searing temperatures in the high 80s, cut me down at the 18-mile aid station.
Needless to say, I feel the need to avenge last year's disappointment at this year's race.
I love the Boston Marathon.
The tradition, the city, the spectators, are simply spectacular. Every runner in the race is a superstar. From the time you arrive until the moment you depart, you are as revered as the Sox or the Bruins.
Ice, snow, darkness, and incessant winds have been present since late November. The sun seems to appear, on average, about once a week. Nuisance snows, complete with rivers of slush, have added to the unpleasantness of training here in the northeast.
If conditions are right. If the aches and pains are gone. If the flu germs have found another host, and if all the ingredients have been mixed properly in the training recipe, there is nothing in the running world like crossing the finish line in Coplay Square on Patriot's Day.