This week, I'm preparing to run the Boston Marathon. It's an exciting day as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts takes the day as a holiday and the Red Sox have their 11:05 AM start of a game. I'm optimistic that it can be my fastest Boston to date based on some solid winter training and two recent personal bests in other distances. I have raced well lately, in my opinion. In March, five weeks before Boston, I ran the Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon in DC in 1:25:47 - 15 seconds better than my previous PR. The course was hilly so I think I had a faster time in me on a flatter course. In early April, two weeks before Boston, I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in 63:11, blowing away my previous PR of 64:00 (on a course that was likely short). I also had a good race at the Club Challenge, which is a notoriously difficult course with lots of challenging and long hills.
I didn't work with my coach this winter since I had too much on my plate (see thesis) so I trained myself. Since it was a snowy winter, I relied on hill repeats instead of track which was likely icy. The good part about hill repeats is that if there is a little ice or snow, you can still finish the workout. I would run a longer warm up, like 6 miles, then do the hill repeats to practice for the hills of Boston that hit between miles 19-21. I also did a long run of 16 miles around 7:30 miles then the following day raced a 10K so that I would practice racing while tired - again, preparing for the final miles of Boston. In the two weekends between the half marathon and Cherry Blossom, I ran 22 miles as my long run and 21 miles the following weekend, each averaging a bit faster than 7:30 pace. Physically, I am ready for this race.
Mentally, I think I am ready as well. I have a lot on my mind. Last year's Boston Marathon still echoes in my thoughts. I truthfully have no idea how I will feel; my family and I were out of the city by the time the bombing occurred. I know it will be emotional. The recent passing of my mentor, Arnie Thomas, is weighing on my mind. Last year, I ran in memory of two of my uncles that passed away in 2012. I'm sick of running this race in memory of people I care about deeply - please let's not have anymore losses, okay?
I will try to use all this motivation in a goal of doing my best. My A goal for the day is sub 3 hours; my B goal is sub 3:04 (which would be a PR); my C goal is sub 3:08 (to qualify for next year); and finally, if all else fails, I want to beat my time from last year of 3:19. I have read and re-read the Sports Guy's article on the Boston Marathon, which I enjoy reading each year. I'm looking forward to seeing my family. I have been tapering while observing Passover, and it should be interesting to carbo-load without eating pasta or bread (I'm relying on potatoes, bananas, apples, and yogurt).
The 2014 Boston Marathon is only days away - I can't wait!!