I feel like all my posts have been full of dread and woe for months as I complained about aches and pains and slowness. Yet here I am in the midst of Monster Month, with four weeks to race day, and somehow I'm feeling energized and optimistic! Go figure. Shouldn't I be exhausted and sore and negative about now? Well, not so much.
Just finished my two biggest weeks, with 54 and 51 miles. And my gimpy ankle has healed up. My balky knee still aches sometimes, but less and less. It seems the prescription for healing was More Miles. Sure I'm sore and achey after my long runs, and getting up off the couch can be difficult. But by the next day I'm able to get back out there relatively unscathed. I guess this training thing works.
It helps running in perfect weather conditions. Winter training sure beats summer training. I never overheat, and don't need to worry about hydration. Enjoying the beauty around here is good for the mojo as well. I've had several great runs along the Pacific coast cliffs nearby. There are some great trails there. I got to see a whale as I went by a whale-watching spot. I also enjoyed running with hundreds of butterflies as we are in the middle of a huge butterfly migration at the moment. I can see for hundreds of miles all across the LA basin and to the snow-capped local mountains as I climb over our local hills. It's pretty great.
A week ago I did my first 20-miler for this cycle, to close out a 54 mile week. I expected to be tired and just go at whatever pace worked. I ran along the flat coast virtually the whole way and just enjoyed myself. The pace gradually dropped to about 8:10-8:15 for miles 8-19, which was about as good as I had hoped for. I didn't fade until the last mile when I started to wear out. My pace is still slower than a year ago, as it has been on all my runs, but I've accepted that. Just glad to get the miles in.
Last Wednesday I repeated my 4x1 mile workout, and I was able to find more speed than a few weeks ago. I managed 7:00, 7:02, 7:00 and 7:16, which beat the 7:20s I ran before. That was encouraging, although still slower than last year. And I had nothing left on the last one. But still, encouraging. Saturday I ran a very hilly 13 with a friend and the pace was decent. Then when I got back to the car I realized I had lost my key somewhere along the way. Phone was locked in the car, and friend was running home. I had little choice but to run the extra 3.8 miles home. But I still felt pretty strong after 13, and it was another beautiful day, and it was all downhill or flat...so I trotted on home and was happy to do it and log more miles.
So this week is not too tough, but it finishes with a 21-miler over a huge hill that is my usual pre- marathon litmus test. If I can do that without dying too bad, then I will feel ready. Right now I feel pretty good about it. All systems are go. My Boston goal is just to have fun and break 4, but I'd like to do about 3:45 if all goes well. I know I can run about 8 minute pace for 20 miles. It's all about that last six.
Long term, I'm thinking Chicago 2020 may be my next one. So to qualify to skip the lottery I need sub 3:40...
So many of my friends are fighting injuries, so I'm just happy to be healthy, and getting another decent marathon done. At my age, I never know when it might be my last.
Enjoy your runs. Life is good.