I am excited, intimidated, and anxious all at once. I feel very different about marathon training than I do about ultratraining and trail running.
The trails are like home. I feel like I can run them forever, like Forrest Gump. I want to run them all day for my 37th birthday. I want to just get up and start running. Come home by dinner. This sounds fun. Marathons don’t sound fun.
I can run 26.2, of course, but can I run it “fast”? For me, fast is 3:45. That’s Boston. I want to qualify for Boston, mainly to have an answer when people ask, “How many times have you run Boston?” People react dramatically when they learn I have not yet qualified. “What?! You haven’t been to Boston yet?! But you run soooo much.” It gets embarassing.
I have my race
So I am at it again. I have 7 minutes to cut off my PR. I want to do it at my first marathon of the year, Top of Utah, September 19th. The course drops approximately 1045 ft. over the 26 miles but is only a 1% to 2% grade. According to the website, “it is a perfect downhill course.
“Fourteen miles of the course is in Blacksmith Fork Canyon and follows the Blacksmith Fork River into Cache Valley. Run past river banks, marshes, limestone outcroppings and through the cool canyon vistas. Moose, elk, deer, and many other species of wildlife make the Canyon their home. The fall leaves will be at their most spectacular! After leaving Blacksmith Fork canyon, the course runs nine miles through Cache Valley, which is flanked on the east side by the Bear River Range of the Wasatch Mountains and on the west side by the Wellsville Mountains. The height of the Wellsvilles in relation to the narrow width of their base makes them the steepest mountains in the world.”
I have my plan
Considering my current base and my speed goals, I have selected Bart Yasso‘s Hard-Core, 7-Day Cycle marathon plan from his book, “My Life on the Run.” He emphasizes hill training, intervals, Yasso 800s, and race-pace tempos (not all in one week, of course). He also has a nice mix of easy days before hard days. I need to recover or I get injured. The long run is of course in there, but I do those every weekend already. I will need to cut down my long runs to keep up with the speed work.
In addition to Bart, I am turining to my newest inspiration, Dara Torres. I recently read the 5-time Olympian’s book, “Age is Just a Number.” When Dara picks a coach she fully submits to his or her training. She does everything that coach asks, without fail. I am following her advice and I am following Bart’s plan to the letter.
I am in a good place to train
This is my down-time at work and the kids are out of school. It is possible for me to run six days a week. I am fully rested and not burned out.
And, frankly, I like to win. I don’t like that I haven’t gone to Boston yet. I am wired to believe, “If he/she can do it. I can too.” In fact, I recently had a conversation with a runner friend of mine. I asked him if he thought I could simultaneously achieve two goals I had. He said no, he didn’t think it was smart for me. This was fine, but then he added that he thought another runner probably could, but not me. What?! This made me mad. File my reaction under, “If he/she can do it, I can too.” It’s who I am, for better or worse.
So between my schedule, my rested legs, my Dara Torres book, my Bart Yasso plan, and my desire to join the top 10% who make it to Boston — I am in a great place to train.
So here we go again
Marathon season has begun. I will try for Boston in 13 weeks. That 50-miler I hope to do in November is looking pretty easy right about now.