Saturday, October 18, 2014

Closing Chapters

The phrase "chapter of my [or anyone else's] life" is often used. Sometimes, it is not entirely clear where chapters begin and end.  My adult running journey began back in 2006 after I took off some crazy weight that I gained during the first year of my youngest son's life.  I hope to be a life long runner.  A phrase mentioned to me today by a classmate at Upper Darby High School in 1987 who now coaches cross country near where we grew up.  I'd say that my "competitive" running journey began in 2009 when I ran my first half marathon.  Maybe even when I decided to push hard to quality for Boston.  What I know now is that I am approaching the end of the chapter of my life on "competitive running" for distances long than a half marathon.  I've enjoyed my 60+ mile weeks but they take too much time away from other things.  Today, I had experience with closing one part of the competitive running chapter of my life and being just about ready to close another part.

The part that got closed?  The Boston Marathon 2013.  I qualified for it.  I ran it.  I experienced the stress of the bombing--from afar.  I felt a need to deal with the stress.  I wrote 27 healing essays.  I talked with the Baltimore Sun and the Anthony McCarthy show in 2013.  And with Doug's help and encouragement from several other runners, we made the award that I got to see in person today a reality.

The award had been in Doug's classroom all week and his students apparently were very impressed by the award.  Today, it sat in a gazebo at Rose Tree park waiting to be given.  I had a chance to take a good look at it.  It is truly amazing to see.

I had a chance to meet several near and dear to athletics back where I grew up.
The inscription on the award was read during the awards ceremony.  The girls from Upper Darby and the boys from Lower Merion got the awards.  It was so cool to see it go to my alma mater.

It was also fun to watch the boys and girls varsity and junior varisty races.  I forgot how fast some high school students can run. It was also amazing to see Conestoga dominate the meet.

All of this at the Central League Cross Country championships occurred after I had an opportunity to have lunch with my sister and have a brief visit with my godmother.

Add caption
And  all of that occurred after my very intense workout this morning.  Here is a link to where I ran, my splits, and the elevation.

The goal for my run this morning (not just the 3.1 around the horsehoe twice at Rose Tree as the high schoolers did) was 22 miles with an average pace of 7:45.  I had a great workout with a fellow runner two weeks ago.  But today I was going it alone.

So, I began with an easy mile.  Mostly flat once I was out of the neighborhood.  8:10.  Relaxing start.

Mile 2 was flat to a little down along northern parkway and headed around the Mars shopping center at Loch Raven.  Brought the pace down to 7:51.

Miles 3 and 4 were primarily flat, both run at 7:50, and brought me back to York and Belvedere.

Mile 5 was mostly down and flat along York and starting across Woodbourne to get to Charles St.  (7:47).

Mile 6 was up along Homeland and then down along Charles--7:43.

Mile 7 took me along Charles and along St. Paul to 39th St, and then back over to Charles.  Ran that in 7:48.  Just needed to get myself in gear again after that.  It did not help that I hit my first red light just as mile 7 ended and then hit another red during mile 8.  Speaking of mile 8 mostly down on 39th and San Martin: a surprising 7:29.  It didn't feel that fast.  I finished mile 8 approaching my tiny overlap with the Baltimore Marathon course that had not yet started--along Wyman Park Drive.

Mile 9 was more up than not along Remington, 33rd, Keswick, and 36th.  Back to 7:43.  Still below the goal pace.  So even thought it was slower it was not an issue.

Mile 10 was along Falls Rd.  Rolling.  From 36th to Cold Spring.  7:41.

Mile 11 then had me climbing Cold Spring and climbing Roland.  Much to my pleasant surprise the initial uphill was very steep--I've run it before.  I was at a pace slower than 8:30 for the first quarter mile.  But I brought mile 11 back down to 7:50 with some good hard work during the remainder of the mile.  That felt good.  I would have to say that running up 36th from Keswick, the rolling hills of Falls, and up Cold Spring and onto Roland had always been challenging for me.  Today it was not so challenging.  That was an initial sign that the end of this marathon training season and the end of the competitive running chapter of my life might be a very positive one.

Mile 12 took me the rest of the way to Northern and across to Charles: 7:35.  Very comfortable.  Nice to see that I regained control and was improving my overall pace.

Mile 13 up Charles St--a comfortable 7:35 again.  Then I had to turn onto and eventually climb Stevenson.  I did mile 14 that included the Stevenson uphill but not real downhill on Osler in 7:41.  That was another reassuring moment.

However, then I took my second nutrition.   I had done Gu after 8.  Now with 14, I did a Stinger.  My body liked what it got at first.  Running down that hill came as a 7:28--picking it up again.  When drinking I had Gatorade and my stomach was not sitting well.

So headed into 15 I decided to head back to my own neighborhood sooner than planned.  Mile 15 was along Osler and I slipped back to 7:34 despite going mostly downhill

Mile 16 was then along Towsontown Blvd to Bosley and then headed on York.  Mile 16 took 7:41 and I got concerned.  I focused and brought mile 17 to a 7:33.  In addition to running through the uphills earlier, having this opportunity just to keep going even after a slower mile made me feel great.

Mile 18-20 included 7:33, 7:32, and 7:32.  I could not have planned that better if I'd tried as I came down York, and then crossed back over to Charles and to Northern to head back.  In fact by the time I was done 20, I had gone down Bellona to York and wondered if I would have much for the last two miles.  I'd consumed a second Stinger after mile 19.  This time my stomach felt okay.

Mile 21 was easy enough (not really much up  but just continuing without interrupting).  I ran a surprising 7:24.  For the last mile I ended up going up the hill of my street and several others in the neighborhood and ran a respectable 7:25.

So what was the most important thing I learned as I get ready to close a chapter--believe in the workouts, trust that I have prepared, and trust that a slow down here or there does not necessarily imply that I won't regain my speed.

In short, the end of this chapter is going to be an exciting one.  All the prep has led me to a very good place.  We'll see if I can execute in 5 weeks.

Quick note on total mileage: 1789.

No comments:

Post a Comment