Sunday, April 19, 2009

Twenty, twenty, twenty four hours to go to the Boston Marathon

And yes, I wanna be sedated, before I go loco. The last weeks before a marathon are maddening. After 4 months in heavy training; you downshift, rest 2x a week and cut workouts back in intensity and duration. This is my 5th marathon, so I understand why, and yet I fret that the inactivity will haunt me in the race, even though my experience says it won't. Part of the anxiety stems from the fact that heavy training puts you in a steady zen state, and as you cut back, you come down off a high. And I want to start the race NOW, prove to myself I'm still fit enough, and get back that high. I feel good about my training and am hopeful for a good race, perhaps breaking four hours. This won't put me on any "top 100 finishers" list but would be a feat for me. As I wrote earlier this year, I ran around 5 hours in my first three marathons between 2004-07, and then decided to get more serious about my training. I added a boxing class to my routine, lost a lot of weight, and improved 35 minutes in the Philadelphia Marathon last November. I have continued to lose weight, add muscle, and run faster during my training runs, and any meaningful further improvement will be enough for me. Surprisingly, after training for two marathons 5 months apart, I am not broken down at all - physically I feel great, and mentally I'm even better - I'm actually thinking as much about future races as tomorrow's, and I know I can continue to improve a lot from here. I've benefited from participating on a charity fundraising team for Habitat for Humanity, one of my favorite causes, for which we are raising funds to buy foreclosed homes, rehabilitate them, and sell them on an affordable basis to first time buyers, thereby turning around entire neighborhoods. Though most of my teammates are from the Boston area, we've been emailing each other for four months and I met about half of them during a 21-mile practice run on the course last month, and we've supported each other quite a bit. Having a support network like this is crucial to the success of any ambitious training program.

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