Have you been running outside?

No, haven’t run outside in weeks, at least around our house.  Way too scary on the roads of Plainville with giant snow banks and blind turns. There have been too many reports of pedestrians stuck by plows even in parking lots never mind on country back roads.

Don’t you have a race at the end of the month?  How on earth are you training?

Here’s how: The magic of the treadmill in tandem with the iFit website!  This is Rick on his way to Attleboro. 8 miles.

Is it boring? No, surprisingly. I put on some Spotify and time goes pretty quickly. I also have water and quick access to a bathroom, which is a benefit that cannot be understated.

We are able to do all the workouts according to our <a href=”https://dianeruns.com/mr-dooleys-10-k-plan/”>plan.</a>.

Here is the map from the iFit site for the 10 I did Friday. Another nice thing is that it pulls in all the hills so no need to mess with the incline.

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We will see how well we are prepared next month!

The Narrow Road

It has been a challenge to get around Boston this week, regardless of your mode of transportation – foot, car, train.
One observation traveling by foot, as is my customary way to get to Cambridge:
Varying levels of courtesy on the very narrow footpaths along the way. (I won’t call it “sidewalk” just yet. )  For example, I need to wait for the traffic to pass on Binney street and time my sprint into that tiny corridor in the snowbank across the street.

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Really?

And today, there was a person on the other side!  We had to trade places swiftly and accurately, like Cirque Du Soleil acrobats (sort of…), lest one of us get run over.

In general, people have been kind to one another,  yielding the single track passage to their fellow human being. 

Even the boats have had to be on a singular path:

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Breaking up the ice on the Charles

Through these daily examples of narrow passages, I have also been thinking about Matthew 7:13-14 , where Jesus tells us to enter through the narrow gate. There is no resistance walking down the open highway; it is quite the opposite walking through the narrow gate (or snowbank)  Much more diligence is required and it is a conscious choice to enter. Narrow is the road that leads to life.

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The narrow road in Boston Common

Disney Race Pix

In a land far, far away, where there are no 12 foot high snow banks and only palm trees and a yellow Mustang convertible,  we ran a race. The weather was warm, and the grass was green. Was it a dream? I don’t know. I only have these photographs as a vague memory of a yesterday when there were bloody man parts, sore legs and a Magic Kingdom.

5:30 am start. Diane looks drunk.
5:30 am start. Diane looks drunk.
Rick runs through the Animal Kingdom
Rick runs through the Animal Kingdom
Diane finishes, wondering what happened to her husband.
Diane finishes, wondering what happened to her husband.
Rick and Diane, together again, bloody man parts and all.
Rick and Diane, together again, bloody man parts and all.
2015 Plans

Plans for 2015

With a little bit of down time after Disney, it’s time to start thinking about racing plans for the coming year. Here’s what is swirling around in my head, in no particular order:

  • For the spring and early summer, focus on getting some speed back. I haven’t run anything faster than 7 min/mi for the past several weeks, with the exception of the one day a little before Christmas Rick and I ran down Walnut St in Plainville, which is a nice long hill, at a breakneck 6:50 pace. (I’m sure Rick was going a good 20 seconds faster than me).
  • We’re hoping Dooley’s in Wrentham puts on their 10K in March. The Wrentham State School course is my favorite, and it’s a good litmus test for the upcoming spring season. If not, there are a slew of local 5Ks in April.
  • The JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. No date yet, but it’s usually in June some time. Very crowded (12K+ people), yet very fun if you can bear traversing the throngs of people on the sidewalks of Comm Ave. I ran 23-something for 3.5 miles a couple years ago. Don’t know if my aging body has much room for improvement on that one, but I will try.
  • I’d love to do a road mile. There is the High Street Mile Newburyport in early August, and the Manchester Mile in July. I’m leaning towards the Manchester race because it’s downhill and would love to be under 6 before I get too old and decrepit to even entertain the thought. I don’t care if it’s kind of not really an “official” time – I just want to see 5:5-something (or better) on my watch!  There are lots of track events during the summer, but I think racing a mile on the track would bring back all kinds of unpleasant memories from high school and I can guarantee there would be barfing all over the track when it’s done. Not that vomiting should be any sort of barrier to competing, mind you!
  • Break 35 minutes for 5 miles. I’ve done it in the middle of multiple races (half marathon, 10 miler, 10K), but just don’t have an official sub-35 minute result “on the books”. Still looking around for a race.
  • Remember the negative splitting takeaway? A good place to do that might be the Bay State Marathon in Lowell in October. It’s a double loop and relatively flat. It is a favorite local Boston Qualifier course, not that I want to run Boston again. Once was enough! J
  • We are on the hook for Reach the Beach in September with our Sole Survivor teammates as an Ultra team, which translates to 30-35 miles a piece over the hills (read: mountains) of between Cannon Mountain and Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. Always a great time with our crazy team, although anticipating some pain.

Other longer range and/or tangential goals include a 50K (Rick is not on board with this one), maybe the Dopey Challenge at Disney next year, being more careful with nutrition and doing regular strength training.  All of subject to change, as the Lord wills. In the meantime, we are in maintenance mode, which means don’t lose too much fitness and don’t get too squishy!

Disney Marathon Race Report

Race Recap

Rick and I ran the 2015 Disney Marathon last week.  We ran most of the race together, staying under 8 minute pace for most of it. It is a fun course, and even though it’s flat, it’s challenging because of the quick turns in some of the parks so it’s kind of tough to maintain the pace. For example, at mile 19-ish, you’re running around a baseball diamond and have to go in and out of the narrow gate onto the field. Kind of tricky after 2+ hours of running. You’re also running over on ramps and long sections of highway, so there’s some opportunity to make up time if you plan ahead. One big benefit of this race is you get to see all of the parks for free! 🙂 If you are in one of the early corrals, half of your race will be in the dark, so if you are a “night runner”, this might work to your advantage.

Rick took off around mile 21 as I started to have a little pity party in the guise of “gathering myself for the final push”. Rick finished in 3:29 and I finished in 3:31. I think I was closing well in the final 2 miles after my little, um, episode, but still kind of bummed I wasn’t under 3:30.  We purposely ran with watch-less because we thought we had the pace groups but the way the corrals were broken up, the 3:30 pace group was in the corral ahead of us. Our strategy was to run with the 3:30 group and see what happens, but because of the 2 minute gap between the start of each corrals, that approach wasn’t going to work, unless we were having a spectacularly strong second half and managed to catch the pace group (My fault for not reading about how the pace groups worked for that race).

I was pleased to run a fairly consistent race, compared to other races like Boston where I ran the first half like an idiot and basically “survived” the second half.  I made a conscious effort to not get “uber joyous” (our term for getting overly excited early in the race and running too fast) and keep the first 13 around 1:45.

Training Plan

For this training cycle, we followed the Hanson’s Plan. I switched over to this plan for the Kiawah Island Marathon a couple of years ago for the second part of training, and I had a PR-ed by almost 10 minutes to run 3:26.

This plan was effective in terms of the physical preparation and the “running on tired legs” principle held true. I also completely agree with how the volume is distributed in this plan. However, I think the preparation that a couple of 22 milers gives your mind and body shouldn’t be neglected. But that’s just me. I would do this plan again, with some tweaks to allow a couple of 20+ milers just for mental prep. I think that’s what I did for Kiawah – suppose I should have kept a log 8-). Of course, we’d all love to find the time to get in the volume week to week that would warrant having the 22 mile long run be within the 25% of overall weekly mileage recommended in this plan.

The marathon is such an addictive distance and every time I finish one (this was our 6th), I find myself re-living the entire race figuring out what went well and what didn’t. I wave my fist at you, marathon!!! One of my goals before I die is to negative split this stupid distance. Maybe in the fall. Hope that’s not when I die, but I do want to do it soon.

Lastly: Running is a dangerous sport. Apologies for the graphic nature of the above photo. Official race photos to be published soon…