Harder Better Faster Stronger

It’s been at least 4 months since I have run more than more than 12 miles.  Fighting with a strained hamstring this fall, I decided to ease back on running and focus on getting that hammie feeling better.  As a result, as I began my training for the 2013 Boston Marathon, I have been determined to build back up slowly.

I have started to come to terms with the idea after I remembered my best Boston marathon came after my slowest start training for that race.  I was recovering from a stress fracture in my right foot the previous fall.  I went for my first 3 mile run Thanksgiving weekend that year and added miles cautiously.  Still feeling the disappointment of missing the New York City Marathon that year, I was determined to be healthy when I arrived at the starting line for Boston that spring.

Different injury, same plan.  I have been gradually building both my weekly mileage and long runs.  I’ve also been less concerned with pace than with how I (and specifically my hamstring) feel during a run.  I have been often running watchless, (which as a numbers geek basically feels like I’m naked) when running a familiar route, only concerned with enjoying my run.

Last week’s 11 mile run was a blast.  I felt good before, during an after and had fun running with my pal Dale. Our pace was nothing special, but comfortable.  This weekend I planned for 13, my largest jump in mileage by far the last 6 weeks.  But the plan was fun and easy again, so the 2 mile increase seemed reasonable.

Again I ran with Dale.  He and I seem to have a good thing going.  He tells lots of stories and I laugh at his jokes.  Win-win.  We started out feeling pretty good, and as the first 2 miles are downhill, not surprisingly a bit fast.  But we never really slowed down.

“I think we’re a bit faster than last week.”

How fast was that last mile?”

“We’re on pace for a negative split.”

“Are we done yet?”

Thirteen miles at a pace 19 seconds faster per mile than the week before.  And while it felt like a tougher run, it certainly was not bad.  Perhaps we were really coasting the week before.  Or really pushing it this week.  Or maybe a bit of each.  But I can’t argue there was some improvement that occurred.

While my competitive side struggles to be patient and not run as far as everyone else in our group, seeing my own progress helps make it a little easier to swallow.  The miles will add up quickly, and in a few weeks I’ll be wishing I was running “only” 13 miles. I’m keeping my eye on the prize – a healthy training season and successful race day.

In addition to training, I’m still fundraising as well.  If you’d like to donate, please visit http://alz.kintera.org/boston2013/runchrissyrun