Boston Marathon Training Week 14: It’s Getting Real

Boston Marathon Training (1)The 2015 Boston Marathon is now less than a month away. When I was accepted to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team way back in September, race day felt very far away. The time has flown. Perhaps the thing that’s made the marathon feel most real in the last week or so was our coach’s statement that at this point in our training, we are physically capable of completing the marathon even if we don’t do any more long runs.

Of course, that doesn’t mean my training is over. Week 14 included my second-to-last really long run before the marathon as well as a full plate of other training activities. During Week 15 training will peak with my second 20 mile run, and then it’s time for my favorite part: Tapering! During tapering, I “only” have to do a 12 and an 8 mile run for my long runs.

Fundraising

Win 4 Red Sox Tickets!I’m excited to announce that I have a four-pack of Red Sox tickets available as an opportunity drawing for anyone who donates to my DFMC page before March 30! The tickets are for Sunday, July 5th (great end to a long holiday weekend) against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park.  A donation of $10 gets you one entry; $25 will get you three. I’ll use randomization software to select the winner.

Even more exciting for me, I hit a huge fundraising milestone this week thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and colleagues: I’ve now surpassed my $13,100 goal for Dana-Farber. This means that for every mile I run on April 20, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will receive more than $500 toward basic innovative cancer research. Thank you so much to my generous donors.

Congrats

Mid-Week Runs

Ice melting under the BU Bridge.
Ice melting under the BU Bridge.

Two mid-week runs this week, although it’s sort of three if you count last Sunday’s Craicfest 5k. On Monday I got in 5 miles, and on Friday I did 6.67. Fortunately the weather was cooperating. Kind of. Assuming you count cold winds and snow on the first day of spring as cooperating . . .

The first day of spring in Boston.
The first day of spring in Boston.

One of my goals for next week is to not leave a three day space between runs. It makes me feel nervous, like I might have forgotten how to run. It’s just too long. It’s happened the last few weeks because of schedule stuff but I think I can avoid it happening again before the marathon.

Cross-Training

I did all of my usual cross-training activities this week, plus one new experience:

Marathon Sports added a race countdown clock to their front window.
Marathon Sports added a race countdown clock to their front window.

I liked FlyBarre more than I expected to. I’ve tried barre-type classes in the past and in general they’re not my thing for a number of reasons. FlyBarre was definitely the best class of this type I’ve tried, although I can’t say I’m fully converted. The class focused on repeated small movements with light weights and resistance bands to tone muscles. It was definitely not easy.

Long Run with DFMC

This week’s long run was the second-to-last before my favorite part of marathon training, taper time. The schedule called for 18 miles. The weather report, no surprise given our luck this training season, called for snow. What can you do?

We ran out of the Longfellow Club in Wayland. Most of our long runs go on some portion of the marathon course, but this one did not. The route went through Wayland, Lincoln, Sudbury, and Concord through rolling country roads. I’m a city girl, so running by farms was a bit weird for me, and I learned the important lesson that snow doesn’t suppress farm smells.

My route
My route

You’ll notice my very bad tactical error on the map above, right around 14 miles. DFMC was the only team out running on this particular route, and after the halfway point I couldn’t always see other runners. We were just too scattered at that point and the roads too curvy to see far ahead. Turns in the course are marked by red DFMC traffic cones, but around mile 14 I overlooked a set and went the wrong way for almost a half mile. I figured out on my own that I was in unfamiliar territory and backtracked, but the end result was that I ran 18.78 miles instead of just 18.

Despite the error, I made good time; even factoring in my stops to talk to the volunteers at the water stops, I was under a 10 minute mile. If you only count the time I was running, I was close to a 9 minute mile. (I finished the LA Marathon with a 10:09 pace.)

The route obviously doesn’t cover the rolling Newton hills, but don’t worry, we got some elevation:

Felt uphill in both directions . . . my favorite.
Felt uphill in both directions . . . my favorite.

And, of course, it snowed the entire time we were running. In the course of about an hour, I went from this:

Not too bad! I can do this!
Not too bad! I can do this!

to this:

I *am* snow.
I *am* snow.

At least it wasn’t rain!

As usual, our fabulous volunteers set up multiple water stops for the runners so that we could fuel up mid-run. They do an incredible thing spending hours out in the cold so that we can be well-hydrated and cared for. I always look forward to the water stops to chat with the volunteers and mark progress during the run.

The furthest water stop this week was Spongebob Squarepants themed, in honor of Matty Dubuc whose “angelversary” is later this week. His mom, Sandy, always runs a themed water stop and involves Matty in the fun through photos and stories. She asked us to do something this week in honor of Matty on his angelversary:

Mine was "tease your siblings."
Mine was “tease your siblings.”

If you’re inclined to do something small to remember this little boy on Wednesday, some of his favorite things included: Spongebob, wearing blue, SweeTarts, Starburst, and Skittles, KitKats, eating cereal, blowing bubbles, and playing video games.

Speaking of remembering, another activity I did this week was prepare my “in honor” cards for our DFMC marathon celebrations. Every runner is given an opportunity to personalize decorative cards that will be displayed at our pasta party and marathon recovery zone. I completed four, in honor of my grandfathers, my uncle, and my friend from college, all of whom lost their lives to cancer:

IMG_2956

Many people have made donations to my fundraiser honoring their own loved ones with cancer. I’ll be wearing their names on my singlet on Marathon Monday.

Just one more week of hardcore training and then supposedly I’ll be ready–physically, at least–to run this marathon!