Friday, April 13, 2012

Looking back and looking ahead

Well, its finally here.... Marathon weekend! This has been such an incredible journey, and to be honest, a journey I never thought I could ever be a part of. I always thought training for a marathon was out of my reach, but i challenged (and surprised) myself and got through the 4.5 months of training. i remember receiving my packet of training back in October, and was very overwhelmed with the training ahead. I took it week by week, and rarely looked ahead so I would focus on the week at hand. Training went relatively smooth, all things considered. I had the best winter to train, with little to no snow and above average temperatures. Granted, I still ran in 30 degree weather for 4 months, but at least it wasn't 15 degrees! I had your normal "runner aches" (knee, IT band, hip, calf etc), but luckily no sidelining injuries. Even though things went smooth, it was tough, don't get me wrong. Waking up at 6am on a cold winter day to run for 2+ hours wasn't always the best feeling. Leaving a bar early on a Friday night (after sipping water) with your friends because you have to run 20 miles the next day.. not fun. Being someone who loves heels, and not being able to wear them often... awful. However, this all proved my commitment to the marathon and showed that I can be a very disciplined person! Here is a glimpse of a typical week of marathon training (for me) looked like:

Monday: Run 5-7 miles
Tuesday: 1 hour spin
Wednesday: 1 hour swim, strength training (Legs)
Thursday: Run 5-9 miles
Friday: 45 mins Arc trainer, Strength training (upper body)
Saturday: Long run (anywhere from 9-20 miles, depending on the training week)
Sunday: Rest
(Also, teaching yoga 5 days a week and an average of 3 times a day)

I really liked this schedule, and my body adapted well to it. I enjoyed only running 3x a week and cross training 3 days because it is less impact on your body. For someone like me who is running their first marathon with a goal to finish, I found this training to be perfect.

Two and a half weeks ago, I ran my last long run, which was 20 miles. I met up with the Dana-Farber team at BC and we ran the course. It was awesome! There were thousands of runners completing their last long run and it was so encouraging having so many people run alongside you. I even ran past Tedy Bruschi and his wife, who are training for their first marathon! In addition to the runners, there were so many people watching us train. They had tents, horns, cowbells, name it, they had it! I couldn't believe the amount of people watching us train, it literally gave me the chills hearing them cheer for us. If that gave me the chills, I can only imagine how I will feel on Monday. After the 20 miles were over, I felt really good! Later that night, Pat and I met up with John and Susan Hayes (Jeff Hayes' parents) and it was the perfect way to celebrate my last run. We had the chance to catch up on life, and also to talk about Jeff. I let them know how even though he is not physically around, he has inspired me so much through training. When I first met them, they let me borrow DVD's of Jeff that showed him playing hockey, receiving awards at school, attending the prom, etc. Whenever I was feeling nervous about my long runs, I would watch one of the DVD's the night before the run and that was the push I needed to get through. It always put things into perspective for me and reminds me of why I am running.

So... here I am now. The Friday of marathon weekend. So many thoughts are going through my mind, but the one that is at the forefront is...yup, you've guessed it... THE WEATHER FORECAST. Not looking so good for us runners. Not good at all. They have been changing the forecast all week, but it looks like they have pinned it down to a record breaking 85 degrees and sunny. Seriously, New England?! I had a plan to finish around 4 hours and 30 mins, give or take, but now I just want to finish standing up. The reality of the matter is my body is not used to running in this kind of heat. I have been training in weather anywhere from 25 degrees to 60 degrees, NOT 85 degrees. When it is hot, your body works extra hard to keep you cool while working extra hard to get you through a marathon. What I have come to realize is that just because my goal of 4:30 is out the window, finishing the marathon slower than that is still a win. If I finish even an hour past my original goal time given the crazy weather conditions, it is equivalent to finishing in 4:30 with ideal conditions (Hope that makes sense... its hard to explain). I am taking it slow and steady, and I want to take in all that the Boston Marathon has to offer. I can't change the forecast, but I can be prepared for it, mentally and physically.

Today, Pat and I are heading into Boston to pick up my number! We are going to spend some time at the expo, then head over to meet up with Dana-Farber and drop off all my paperwork and get some last minute encouragement! Our last stop.. Maggiano's for some carbo-loading fun. Looking forward to this weekend (Dana-Farber pasta dinner on Sunday!) and looking forward to Monday. I have worked WAY too hard to let the hot weather get in my way! My new mantra... slow and steady!

Happy Running!