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.
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.