One week ago today, I kicked off Boston Marathon training--and it was an inauspicious start. I'm hoping Day 1 of training wasn't indicative of how the next 14 weeks of it will go.
It was supposed to be the first day of school after a two-week winter break, but un-Portland-y winter weather got in the way: Freezing rain on top of snow turned the unplowed streets and sidewalks into the equivalent of a lumpy, crusty ice rink. Temps were supposed to rise above freezing by midday, but the mercury took its sweet time rising. One stroke of luck: The veterinarian clinic where my best running friend, Molly, works was closed for the day, which meant I had access to a treadmill (long story involving guest policy at her gym)...if only the roads melted enough to make driving sane. Finally at 3:00, we (cautiously) drove to her gym for a session on the treadmill.
My usual dread of the 'mill was replaced with nearly giddy relief at being able to get in the run spelled out by my coach; all morning I'd fretted Day 1 of Boston training would have to be scratched. Molly and I nabbed adjacent treadmills, and we launched into a 45-minute "gradual progression run," which entailed:
15:00 gradually warm up to rate of perceived exertion (RPE) 3/comfortable running.
10:00 @10-15 seconds per mile faster that warm-up pace.
5:00 @10-15 seconds per mile faster yet
2:00 build to 5K FEEL and hold
1:00 aim to go just a little faster
12:00 cooldown of comfortable running
The air felt too close and hot, but Molly distracted me by recounting tales of a round-the-world sailing race showcased in a documentary she'd just watched. More luck-for-me: Molly misunderstood the workout, so while I was running 8:12 for two minutes, then a minute at 7:53, she was going at a wonderful chat-able pace!
The stubborn ice kept schools closed again the next day (argh!), and I did a strength circuit in my basement instead of barre class. But Molly and I were back outside in plenty of time for Friday's "tempo/up-tempo run," which had us running on dark neighborhood roads, pushing the effort to RPE 5, then RPE 7, numerous times.
During the second two-minute, RPE-7 push, as Taylor Swift told us she'll, "never miss a beat, I'm lightning on my feet" ("1989" blared on my iPhone-cum-boombox in my Saucony Breeze Vest pocket) and my own feet fired surprisingly lightning-like, my mind flashed back to the weeks I spent in a royal blue cast as my fibula and tibia mended with the help of titanium pins and plates. I marveled at how freely my foot and ankle moved through each stride; how strong and unfettered my legs felt; how fit I felt. I'd overcome a lot to arrive at this training cycle; something as insignificant as icy-covered snow wasn't going to stand in my way.