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Around the World—to Boston Marathon—in 80 Days

First thing that sprung into my head when I read "80 Days"--and I call myself a marathon runner

On Friday, Sara from Florida wrote on our Facebook wall, “80 more days—any other running mamas counting down, too?” Her comment piqued my interest, as I had no idea to what she was referring. The first day of spring? The start of daylight savings time? Easter? Passover? Earth Day? The release of our next book, Train Like a Mother, perhaps? Looking for any excuse to procrastinate, I whipped out my iPhone and started counting.

The answer? The Boston Marathon.

Whoops: I couldn’t believe I was so clueless, as I am running that venerable race. In fact, I just finished Week 7 of training—and I’m delighted to report it’s going really well. As I alluded to in one of our podcasts, I have an inside track on a great new training plan (or nine) that I’m following. It’s the Marathon: Own It plan from Train Like a Mother. In the book, we offer two plans for each race distance, 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon: a Finish It plan to get you through the distance with a smile on your face, and an Own It plan to propel you to a personal best (with maybe a slight exertional grimace on your mug). (Plus one for injured runners, thus nine total.) While I have yet to set a time goal for myself—right now my goal is to show up at the starting line in Hopkinton, Mass., injury-free—I’m following our Own It plan. It’s challenging and ambitious, but not overly so.

For instance, it had me running 20 miles this weekend. The long run mileage amped up quickly—I've only been training since mid-December--yet it all felt do-able and attainable. Same with the weekly workouts. On Tuesday, in the pre-dawn pouring rain before reporting to jury duty (a topic for a whole other blog post), I ran 10 miles with the second half faster than the first. (Or the first half slower than the second, if I look at it with my Dimity-glasses on.) Since it was dark and cold (thus sleeves pulled over hands), I rarely checked my Garmin, but I ended up averaging my usual marathon race pace for the final five miles.

Sportsters in the sun: 20-mile mother runner + basketball-playing kids

As on Tuesday, I’m feeling strong and refreshed for each workout, and in command of each of them. Like the 20-miler on Saturday. All week I’d planned on tackling it on Sunday, but on Friday afternoon, as I marveled at the winter sun shining down on Portland, I checked the weather forecast. Scattered clouds were predicted for Saturday; rain on Sunday. Decision made: Even though I’d have to miss 10-year-old Phoebe’s basketball game, I was running long on Saturday morning. It wasn’t until I was about seven miles into the run the next day that I remembered I’d donated blood on Thursday morning (in part to pay the system back for the pints dear Dim had gotten transfused in Houston) and maybe should have given my bod an extra day to recover. Oh, well, too late for second guessing.

The miles clicked by, and I paid close attention to fueling regularly (a GU or Roctane at miles 4, 8, 12, and 16). Stopping to switch songs on my iPhone near Mile 15, I realized I was cutting it too close, time-wise: Jack, Mr. Real Estate Agent, needed me home by 11:30 so he could show some clients a house. I switched into a higher gear. Again, I rarely checked my Garmin because I opted to keep my paw warm and covered, rather than the GPS face exposed. But the few times I gave a look-see, I was going sub-marathon pace—and feeling great.

I made it home in the nick of time, and my kids even ran me in for the final block. I felt like a rock star—with a very important gig in a little less than 80 days.

28 responses to “Around the World—to Boston Marathon—in 80 Days

  1. SBS, I’m so sorry I have not been visiting another mother runner blog frequently lately and I’m missing out on a whole lot!! The biggest being, your training…so excited for you and know that Boston will be a race to always remember. I’m itching to see the “own it plan”…I too have been playing around with about 8 different plans for Eugene. Feeling like I’m still re-building a base 12 weeks out. One of the plans I’m playing with is the old “SBS/Portland plan”…Comfy to go back to…hill training a bear though. 🙂 Thinking of you, cheering you on, and know that you will kill the rest of training with the SBS purple hat gusto, I love. PS. Will be running long for Sherry tomorrow!

  2. Vitamin S8 – allowing me to get a consistent 8 hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep (insomnia) is really messing with my training.

  3. I am training for Boston in Colorado Springs, CO. Can’t believe you are doing a 20 miler already! I did a 16 miler in horrible winds last Friday…won’t get to the 20 mile mark for a few more weeks.

    So excited to run my first Boston Marathon. I grew up in Framingham, MA watching the marathoners stream by every year and this year I get to join them!

    Take care and happy training.

  4. Will be seeing you in Boston Sarah!
    So glad you got rid of the PF. You definitely put in your recovery time and it has paid off. Great job on the 20-miler. Is it bad that I am already counting down the weeks until taper? JK. But I do need to have one of those rock star runs to get me going for this race. It is ROUGH training for Boston in Minnesota.

  5. I’m so excited for you (and never heard how your 16 in Houston went?). Congrats on 20–you will *own* that race just as your plan suggests. And you will have fun too–it’s your victory lap.

  6. YEAH, you go…rock and own that Boston race, girl! You, Robin, and Mariah – talking about your goals for your next 26.2 – are really really getting me so excited about my first 26.2 in the fall! Crossing fingers I get in first! Thank you, all, for the daily inspirations! xoxo

  7. We are all so very proud of you Sarah! Can’t wait to hear how you did! Thanks for being a great role model for all of the BAMRs out there

  8. So happy that training is going so well for you!!! My marathon is two days before Boston, so I guess I have 78 days to go – eeek!!! Can’t wait to check out the training programs in the new book!

  9. Yep, that second to last line made me cry a little!! I love that running is such an awesome positive inspiration for all the kids of all of us BAMRs!!

  10. Love the name of the plan — own it! Sounds like it’s working really well for you too. I don’t think I’ve every made it through a long run at sub marathon pace. Great work!

  11. I love that your training is going so well and that the PF is gone, baby gone. Sounds like that plan your following suits you well. 🙂

  12. Totally looking forward to the training plans! This is my “sign” #2 (the other came in the form of an unusual find on the TJ Maxx rack this weekend) that I maybe really should think about kicking up my training this year and make attempt #1 (since I turn 39 this summer) at the 40-45 BQ time in the fall. There, I said it. Next step, doing it. You are an inspiration SBS!

    1. Thank you, Robin, for your kind words. First step *is* putting it out there into the world, for sure.

      And I have to ask: WHAT did you find at TJ Maxx?!?!?!

      1. An Adidas 2011 Boston Marathon jacket. Totally not my style to buy a jacket for a race I didn’t (and may never) run, but for $13 it seemed worthwhile to buy 1) what seems to be a sign…there it was, on the rack, in my size, with my color green, on the week I designated specifically for deciding this year’s race goals…. and 2) good inspiration. If I make it, then maybe I can wear it in public!

  13. You are definitely a Rock Star!!!! And, you will be owning all 26.2 on Patriot’s Day!!! I’m totally pumped for you… giddy up 🙂

  14. I can’t wait for the new book to come out…I ran my first marathon (NYC ING this past November, with 2 of my 4 little ones cheering me on) with the hopes of just crossing the finish line alive. Which I did and really had fun the entire route. It was like a big party and I was doing a long slow run…I’m in for this year too, but I want to focus on time, now that I know I can cover the distance. Can’t wait to try out your training plan!
    BTW, the podcasts are fantastic…I am always running alone, so it feels like I am running with 2 girlfriends…

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