Friday, September 22, 2006


Did the 18

Whew! Well, I'm getting the feeling I should give up on the hopes of an 8-minute mile marathon, as today's run averaged about 8:24/mile. Still, if I could repeat this on marathon day, then take a big 10 minutes per mile for the remaining 8.2 miles, I will still finish sub-4 hours! So that goal is still a viable one. This is the longest run I will attempt before work (actually I planned on coming in an hour later today). It was fun driving in early again, and I started the run in near darkness, an new experience. I saw the sun rise under the Leonard Zakim Bridge, as I crossed the river by the Museum of Science, a memorable experience.

It was an odd run. First, one minute into the run I realized I did not bring my gel packs, so I had to double back and restart the run. Good thing it didn't take me longer to realize I didn't have them. Overall the rest of the run went well, except that about the 10 mile mark I sensed a little trouble in the lower intestines. I hoped I could finish the run without addressing it, but it didn't get any better as time went on. Fortunately, I had planned my run to consist of a big 16 mile loop along the Charles River, followed by a short 2 mile segment by Fresh Pond, passing the office in between. So, I had to make a pit stop at the office building at mile 16. It felt weird starting again after the "break", but I did it.

I wonder how my time would have been different without the intestinal trouble and the stop. I'm guessing it would have been a bit better. The few minutes of rest probably didn't help enough to compensate for the loss of momentum. Also, when I wasn't feeling my best I probably was not running my best either.

I took two doses of the gel pack, 45 minutes apart. Is it helping? I can't say, because I have not run 18 miles witout gels. My impression from limited experience is that I prefer the Gatorade, but the gels are easier to carry and dose. I don't want to carry my fluids in the Marathon, but I could manage some gel packs.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


5k OK

I ran a 5K last Sunday, the CVS Downtown 5K that I have been doing with my brother and sister for the last 4 years. I was wondering whether all this marathon training would make much of a distance in the shorter run. Turns out it made a big difference- I hit my PR (21:49), and won the family race (last 3 times I was in third place so I think I'm entitled to brag now!).

It was hard keeping the pace, and I was definitely ready to quit at the end. But for most of the race I felt pretty good. I found myself passing quite a few people after the 2 mile mark. My memory of previous years is that at that point in the race people started to pass me more than the other way around.

They instituted a "wave start" this year, so there was much less of a problem with being boxed in at the beginning, which no doubt helped my time too.

This Friday: the big 18 miler. This will be my last big run that I attempt to do before work. I am counting on taking a little vacation (an hour or two) time since I doubt I can run 18 miles and be ready for work by 8 a.m.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Sweet Sixteen

Oops, I misspelled "sweat" in the title. Today I ran the 16 mile run, before work even. I still enjoy the novel adventure of getting up early enough, and driving the empty roads, to get this done. This requires a bit of sacrifice. Thursday nights are traditionally reserved for my other hobby, but last night I skipped that completely in order to get to bed early.

Anyway, the run went well, but I was definitely feeling beat for the last few miles. This is a fairly new development. Up to the 12 mile run (I think) I felt fine all the way through. But now I am definitely stretching myself, in a big way. I am confident that I can continue to stretch for the 18 and 20 mile runs, and then, after the taper, The Race. But it will definitely be a real challenge. I missed the sunrise again, but this time it was because it came too late! The sun did rise while I was running, but not during the eastward facing portion of the route.

There was an interesting "East meets West" dimension to today's run, in that it ranged between the eastmost bridge (Museum of Science) and the westernmost bridge that I have ever run (North Beacon Street).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Things are getting busy now

Eight miles today, on the weekly "mini-long" run. Whew. Actually, the run itself went well, but it took some effort to get out the door early enough to get it done before work. Seems like just a short time ago I was celebrating 9 miles as a breakthrough distance. This is how its going to be for some weeks ahead, as short runs go from 4 to 5, and mini-longs get longer and longer. I feel like this is really going to have an impact on daily life. Early to bed, early to rise and all that.

I was thinking of my last three runs: Friday's 15, Monday's 4 and today's 8, and I realized they add up to a marathon. Actually my 8 was more like 7.8, so that gives us 26.8 miles. My total time for the three runs puts me in the range for a 3.5 hour marathon, if I could run them all back to back. Can it happen? Add some more weeks of training, crisp weather, subtract for the hills, but add some for the cheering crowds, and it just might be possible. Actually, subtract a lot for the hills, from what I've heard. But sub-4 hours looks pretty realistic.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Fifteen miles

Today was another landmark run. Now they're coming almost every week. Call me crazy, but I did this one before work too. I actually suceeded in getting the run done, and getting to work by 8 (8:10, to be honest). As I mentioned in a previous post, it adds to the sense of adventure if you have to get up extra early.
It was a nice run. While I didn't see the complete sunrise, from no sun to full sun. I came close, though. I came round the bend in the river just in time to see the sun as it was halfway over the horizon line, squeezed between two apartment towers.
This was another run along the Charles River to the Museum of Science (the easternmost river crossing), but this time I extended the route on the western end to achieve the necessary distance. Its neat how the experience of running past the Museum of S. has changed from a feeling of crossing an exotic frontier, to something familiar. I'm sure I'll run past this a few more times before the trianing is done.
At an 8 mile pace a 15 mile run takes precisely 2 hours, a satisfying number. I came pretty close to this goal (a couple of minutes over, but, given the imprecision of my distance measuring, whose to say). The oddest thing about the run was waiting for the halfway point. The Museum of S. is a conceptual halfway point, because I cross the river and head back in the other direction. But the actual halfway point, which I considered to be the 1 hour point, seemed to take forever to reach. When I did reach 1 hour, I found it hard to believe I still had another hour to run, judging by my sense of distance. I had to think really hard to convince myself that I hadn't made a huge error in selecting this route. But as I've already said, I used up that next hour easily.
I felt tired afterwards, but not completely exhausted. During the run I felt what might have been light leg cramps, something I've never had before, so I really feel like I am pushing the limits now.
So, theoretically, if I ran this twice in a row I could do 30 hours in about 4 hours, so doing 26.2 in less than 4 should be a piece of cake. Well, not really, of course. Also, this course is very flat, and we know the C.C.M. , as we know, is not.

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