Thought for the Day

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Training for Boston

When I came to Arizona I didn't know any local runners. I knew that it helped me run more consistently to do scheduled runs with a group, so I started going to a local running store, the Foothills Running Company, for their Wednesday night group run.

Most people there were relative beginners, slower even than I was. However, one runner, Jennifer, was running at my pace or faster. We both entered the Foothills store's training program for the 2005 Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon.

We had a lot in common, a similar pace and things to talk about on long runs. We became and remain training partners and friends. The R'N'R AZ Marathon produced similar results to those Jennifer and I have had at several marathons since. Jennifer stuck very well to the program and ran a better marathon than I did.

I tried to do too many races during training, and wore myself out. Toward the end of the training program for the 2005 Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon, I ran the Tucson Marathon on December 5, 2004 in 3:50:28, then the Desert Classic 30K on December 18, 18.6 miles in 2:27:44.

Then on January 9th, I had a lackluster race at Rock 'N' Roll Arizona in 3:52:07.
Jennifer and I both registered for Boston in 2007, and resolved to train for it together. We had a very loose plan for this training, but I had this crazy idea to do a set of races scheduled very close together in February.

You see, in 2006, I had joined a club called the Marathon Maniacs. As someone who had run three marathons in 90 days, which I've done several times, I was able to join as a bronze level maniac. That's the lowest level of mania allowed in the club. However, in the first three weeks of February of 2007, there were two marathons and an ultramarathon within driving distance of my house. Doing those races, in addition to the 2007 Rock 'N' Roll Arizona, would make me a Gold level Maniac, and I would still have the rest of February and all of March to get ready for Boston.

So Jennifer and I trained together until February, when I was supposed to do the three long races then get back on the training program.

I ran the Desert Classic Marathon on February 4 in 3:41:02, the Pemberton Trail 50K on the 10th, 31 miles in 5:00:27, then the Lost Dutchman Marathon on the 18th in 3:50:17.
I might have been okay if I had rested after the Lost Dutchman, but I wanted to get right back into training for Boston. I ran the four days after. The run two days after was a track workout, and the run after that was a very fast six miles. It hurt, but I didn't want to lose any training time. So I kept running. By the next week, my right knee was too sore to allow me to run normally.

There was no way I could do the distances and the pace that Jennifer needed to do to train for her race. I should have run about 200 miles in March, with a lot of those miles on 20 milers. I did only about 100 miles in March, with the longest run only 14 miles.

So my training for Boston was shot. By the time my right knee was starting to recover, two weeks before the Boston Marathon, my left hamstring was feeling strained. It didn't get any better as the big day approached.

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