Time flies when you’re having fun…and training for a marathon. It doesn’t feel that long ago that I had begun preparing for my next marathon and now it’s less than two weeks away. Training for a spring marathon is very special in respect that you start in the cold of winter, and then when the race is approaching the warmth of spring in a new year has emerged. My life has taken some new turns in the several months since I began training so I look back at what seems like such a short time and can’t help but see that I’ve come quite a long way.
Here I am in the taper again. A couple of Saturdays ago I tackled my longest run of 22+ miles focusing most of it on the Boston Marathon course in Newton and Wellesley. It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine but not too warm so I had the opportunity to make it a dress rehearsal wearing something similar to what I plan to run in on race day. I was a little bit lonely out there for so long solo but I had an opportunity to focus on the pace and how my body was feeling for the duration of the run.
The longest long run is a mental exercise as well as physical. It acts as preparation for the length of time I’ll be on the course, not just distance. By this time, the physical training is done and this long run is for confidence so I really wanted to feel good about the work out. Unfortunately, there was a watch error that messed with my mental preparation. Around two and half miles from my finish I ran into a Dunkin’ Donuts only to realize it didn’t have a bathroom so I ran right back out again and apparently forgot to start my watch. It took me about a half mile to realize my mistake and when I finally reached home I was short some mileage. I planned to just stop when I reached home but the missing mileage robbed me of the satisfied feeling I should have felt after completing a run of that length and challenge… so I kept going and ran around the block until my watch read 22 miles. I know what you are thinking, that was completely unnecessary since I knew I had completed the distance, but I know myself and my borderline OCD tendencies. I knew I would feel better if my watch said 22 and the goal of this run was to feel complete in my training. We all have a little crazy in us, if mine takes me an extra half mile I’m okay with that.
The following week all of my training runs were slower as my legs recovered from (over) 22 miles of hills and I was still tired for my last long run of 14 miles this past Saturday. I’m definitely ready to run this race and take a break from training. I’m looking forward to concentrating on some other exercise for a few weeks before fall race training begins again but I have a full race schedule for the summer so I won’t be wandering too far.
Since we celebrated Mother’s Day this past weekend I want to give a shout out to my biggest running fan, my Mom, Priscilla Dempsey. For the past 10 years no one has been more supportive of my training then my Mom. She and my father have been to most of my marathons including my first in 2003 when they had no idea what to expect. When tragedy struck the Boston Marathon this year her friends and co-workers contacted her to make sure I was okay. It was clear that many of them associate the race with me which made her very proud and she recently announced on Facebook that I’ll be running Boston 2014 and she will be there to cheer me on (I’m going to get through this year before committing to Boston, but I usually do what my mother tells me). Thanks Mom, I love you.