As I sit here at my keyboard, I keep having to stop typing because my left hand impulsively returns to my mouth so I can bite on my left pointer-finger nail. Type-type, bite-bite, type-bite-type. Then my right middle finger nail finds itself between my teeth. Tap-tap, bite, tap-tap-bite-bite-bite. I know myself well enough that I only chew on my nails when I'm nervous.
So I'm trying to pinpoint the source of my anxiety. It's not writing a blog post--I "pen" about three of these badboys a week. No, it's the topic that's tying my stomach in knots: the start of more than four months of intense marathon training. With a coach. In the hopes of re-qualifying for the, gulp, Boston Marathon.
Tap-tap, bite-bite, tap, bite-bite-bite.
And now that I've merely typed those sentences, I've adding in picking my cuticles. Now my pattern is more like type-bite-pick-bite-type-type-pick-pick-bite-type. Oh, good gracious, this is going to be slow going!
In an attempt to finish up in time for this post to go live in the six hours, I'm going to be as succinct as possible as I lay out my running-future between now and mid-October.
- I'm signed up to run the Victoria Marathon in British Columbia. Once again, I'll be venturing north of the border with my running partner, Molly, to run a marathon.
- I want to run fast enough to re-qualify for the 2016 Boston Marathon, which means I'll have to cover the 26.2-mile distance in less than four hours.
- I've run 2 of my 10 marathons in sub-4:00, the last time being in October 2010. (Here, let me do the math with you: when I was four years younger than I will be on race day of Victoria Marathon.)
- I've hired Briana, the same talented, savvy, big-hearted coach that Dimity used for her Ironman and a few other races.
- I haven't done any speedwork--other than a handful of hill repeat workouts--since early January. Bite-pick-pick-bite-bite-type-type-pick-bite-pick. Yet there on Training Peaks, the online training tool Coach Briana uses for communication with her athletes, is my week-at-a-glance workouts today through Sunday. Wednesday's workout goes like this: "2 miles gradual warm up to 8:30ish pace/2 miles build to 8:00 pace in the first 1/2 mile and hold/1 mile ease off by feel/1 mile build your effort each 1/4 mile BY FEEL...don't look at pace and go by effort shifts (slight) every 1/4 mile/2 miles steady aiming for around 8:30 pace." type-bite-pick-bite-type-type-pick-pick-bite-type.
- I clued Briana in to the fact I'll be delighted if I can nail those kinds of numbers in a few months, but ain't no way I can jam like that in a few days. Bite-bite-pick-type-pick-type. Thankfully, Bri replied, " This is why the first few weeks are learning...Don't worry...won't take long to learn where you are at."
And, with that reassuring email, my hand can move away from my mouth; the clench in my stomach is starting to ease. Time to stop typing, stop biting, stop picking...and start training.