My 2013 running season was so unbelievably successful that I am already worried that this year will be a let down. It is certainly going to be hard to repeat last year’s achievements. So if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’m going to bask in last year’s glory and let the numbers tell the story:
3/24 Syracuse 1/2 Marathon 2:06:35 (PR -4:03)
5/5 New Jersey Marathon 4:21:31 (PR -34:46)
7/14 Utica Boilermaker 15K 1:27:25 (PR -2:47)
9/7 ARC of Onondaga 1/2 Marathon 1:53:11 (PR -13:14)
9/22 Rochester Marathon 3:57:03 (PR -24:28)
Five races. Five PRs. Almost a full hour (-59:14) shaved off my first marathon time in less than a year. Really, the only disappointment was the slight gain on my Boilermaker time, though that was hardly cause for concern given the conditions. Besides, any gain is a good gain, right?
So where do I go from here? After Rochester, I decided that in 2014 I would build on my success and try to push things even more by trying for my first marquee marathon and attempting to qualify for Boston in 2015. So here’s my tentative race schedule for this year.
The first three races are definite. I wanted to do the Mountain Goat last year, but sadly it was the same weekend as New Jersey. It’s a challenging ten-miler, with two major hills to negotiate, making it a great warm up for Burlington. The Burlington Marathon is a BQ–for my age group, the qualifying time is a very ambitious 3:30, so I definitely have my work cut out for me this spring. And the Boilermaker? Well, it wouldn’t be summer without it, now would it?
Then everything rests on whether I get into New York via the lottery. But it sets up the enticing possibility that I may be able to run New York this fall and Boston next spring. Two years ago, I could only dream of that.
In the meantime, I am doing everything I can to continue training during this cold and seemingly endless Northeast winter. In the absence of a Hanson’s intermediate training program, I decided to invent one myself, halving the difference between the weekly mileages in their beginning and advanced programs and tweaking the long, interval and tempo workouts to hopefully give me the strength and speed to shave another 27 minutes off my marathon PR.
So far, 6 weeks in, I have met all the mileage goals. I am running a comfortable 9-minute mile pace on my easy runs–a full minute faster than this time last year. The only problem I have encountered so far is the weather. I have been lucky with my long runs, managing to find just enough breaks in the frigid temperatures to get outdoors for long enough to bring them up to 12 miles. But of the 39 workouts I have completed since the beginning of the year, 17 of them were on the treadmill. And the forecast is calling for more.
So. Time to freshen up the playlists, charge up the phone and keep the momentum going. Burlington, the BQ and warmth still seem a long, long way away.