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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Almost Normal

I've had quite the week.

Completing the marathon on Sunday made me feel quite strong and confident. The agony that followed in my legs caused me to lose some of that good feeling, but as the stiffness has cleared up, so has my vision of the next few months, and I've got some good times ahead of me.

I registered for two races this week. The first, as I mentioned before, is the Seattle Rock 'N' Roll Marathon at the end of June. I'm excited to see a new city - really a new part of the country for me - and to experience the Rock 'N' Roll Marathon brand. My other registration was for the Marine Corps Marathon, or as it's often called, the "People's Marathon."

They call it this because it is the largest marathon in the country that does not award prize money. This is not a race for professionals. It's for the people who want to challenge themselves to do something great. I lived in the DC area for a bit after college, and this was the one that everyone talked about. In one of my many spurts of "going to be a runner again" ambition, I'd planned to register for the race many times, but I'd never gotten around to it.

I'm only partly to blame for that, since the thing sells out incredibly fast. This year it was sold out in 28 hours. That's like Super Bowl sellout speed, but with a lot more tickets. I'm even more excited about that one because my wife is going to run the accompanying 10K that day! Her training starts Friday as well.

For the purpose of my goal, I'm counting the Marine Corps as a Virginia marathon, as that's where it starts and ends. A heavy portion of it actually occurs in Washington, DC, but I think for my own personal records, I'll use finish line location as the determining factor in where the marathon actually occured.

Now, what all of this means is that I've got 17 weeks to train, then a marathon to run, then 17 weeks to train, and then another marathon. I've got my eye on a race at the end of November, but I'm going to get back into my training a bit to see how my legs respond to running after the marathon before I make the decision as to whether or not I can run marathons 4 weeks apart. Overall, I've been happy with my recovery, but I want to make sure that my performance doesn't suffer too much.

Speaking of recovery, I'm pretty much there. I got on the bike at the gym yesterday and went for 35 minutes on the cross country course, making it over 8 miles. I was pretty pleased with this, and it really helped break up the remaining crap in my legs, too. This morning was the first day all week that I got out of bed without any pain in my legs. There's some lingering stiffness, but I'm taking today off (as Thursday is my new rest day, according to the new training program that I've found), so hopefully that last resistance will be gone by morning when I hit the roads again.

The only thing that still really bothers me from the race is a toenail on my left foot that is really sensitive. I've found that letting my socks be slightly more loose in the toe helps a lot, but we'll see how I handle it tomorrow.

In the next couple weeks, I'm going to take all the bad things that happened at this last marathon, write them down, and then head down to one of the many running stores in Austin to get some answers as to how I can avoid all of them in the future. Here's the list:
  • Toenails
  • Hip and knee pain on the left side
  • Stomach cramps in miles 5-12
  • Slight chest chafing
  • Irritating carrying case
That's what stands out to me as the things that held me back. Also, I didn't have a very good race plan in my head, which is something that I think my new training program will help as well. "Run smarter, not faster" is going to be a new slogan of mine. If I build my physical and mental strength, and I approach each workout intellectually rather than just going as hard as I can, I know it will go a long way toward getting me to my performance goals.

After all, I've just signed up for two Boston qualifying races, and the qualifying time just got harder.

Today's Workout:
8.26 Miles
35 Minutes

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