Sunday, April 10, 2005

Taper Town

10 Weeks of Aerobic miles in the dark: check
4 Weeks of Hills in blizzards & -30F temps: check
4 Weeks of Speed on ice: check
4 Weeks of Tempo in the rain: check
2 Weeks Taper: ahhhhhh.

One week of taper is officially closed. Mileage: 25 miles. I spent most of the week recovering from quick speed session that made the legs sore. That was Tuesday, now it's Sunday and I am feeling good. Legs have almost rid themselves of all the creaks and groans accumulated from months of training. The soreness from daily training seems to have masked other pains that now are speaking up. The good news: one by one they are all disappearing. Now the butterflies have arrived. Mileage this week will be very low. I will most likely limit my daily mileage to 3 miles when I run. More to be gained from rested legs than from any structured workout.

When I started this process I declared a 2:45:00 goal for Boston. During the 1st weeks of tempo, I had decided to change the goal to 2:55:00 based on times and effort. As the temperatures warmed the times got a little faster and the effort a little easier. This has built up my confidence. I will officially keep the goal at 2:55 which is a 6:40 pace but I will leave the option open for a faster race should conditions warrant. Unfortunately, nothing in my training has indicated to me that I could maintain a 6:18 pace to accomplish the 2:45. Disappointed I may be, I feel much better attempting a revised goal than blindly shoot for an arbitrary number with no supporting evidence. The unknown factor is the final miles. My long runs have capped out at 22 miles. The good news is that these runs have ended with strong speeds and no exhaustion.

My personal best recorded at the '04 MDI marathon is 3:05:19. Prior to that my PB was 3:25 at the '03 MDI marathon. My plan for Boston will be a slow 3 miles (6:45-7:00) with an increase to 6:25 - 6:40 through mile 20. After this point I will either a) hammer down, b) maintain or c) crawl. Maybe all three. I have been reading accounts of peoples' experiences with Boston trying to glean good advice from their experiences. I have learned that the beginning is downhill causing overly fast times if one isn't careful, miles 3 to 16 fairly flat with a few ups and downs, 16 - 20 is up and 20 - 26 is down. I will need to concentrate if I am to maintain a good pace without wasting energy. I was able to do this at MDI but there the crowds were few and far between. I will need to use the crowds of Boston to my advantage without being distracted. I wonder if this is possible.

Winter training wasn't as consistent as I would have liked but that was to be expected. Two 80+ mile weeks in December brought two weeks of injury recovery. This was followed by a good week then two weak training weeks: 1 for the blues, the other due to the extreme winter conditions. Finally things perked up when I went into the Hill phase. Eric & I doing hills in wind chills around -30F remains vivid. We kept the car running through the entire workout as we took a 5 minute break between each hill repeat. The speed phase was difficult but oddly fun as it was different from anything I had done before. Well, it was fun until we tried the 3/4 mile repeats. That was murder. Tempo was enlightening. Here is where I found my limitations (at first) and then broke those limitations all in the 4 weeks. What started out as a disappointment turned into confidence as all the pieces finally came together in a coherent form. All throughout the process, Marc & I hammered out the long runs of 20+ miles in the freezing cold. My last long was on 3/27 for 21.7 miles in 2:40. Felt good throughout as I ran easily (relatively) throughout. Slight fatigue at 18 miles but overcome. Each successive 5k was faster than the one before. Course = hilly. From prior experience I find I run my long runs at 45 - 90 seconds slower than race pace so.....

We shall see. This just in: race day temps to be 55 -60 degrees and overcast   Let's hope this remains the case.

Off to rest some more.

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