It started in January, 2015. A friend of mine entered the lottery for the TCS New York City Marathon, and encouraged me to enter it, too. Previously, I hadn’t really thought about, or had any interest in running the huge races, especially not something like NYC. I figured, what the heck, it was $11 – previous years had around an 8.4% chance of getting in, what are the chances of me getting in?
Turns out, 2015 drawing chances were closer to 12% for 2015. Time went on, before I knew it, the drawing was being held. Social media was exploding with screen captures of congratulations images. My email was empty, somewhat saddened, I logged into the NYRR site to be sure. Well, I was one of the lucky 12%. Unfortunately, my friend was not, and she was a little jealous/mad that I was selected, but still enthusiastic for me.
My mind went full analytical mode, and so began my search for a training plan. The thought was, if I am going to spend as much to enter, travel to, participate in, and sight see around a race such as New York’s Marathon – I wanted to do it more properly than usual. New York was to be the first marathon (or any race, really) that I was anywhere near a training plan to prepare for the race.
A little fearful, as my summer and fall were already packed with races on the schedule, but becoming more and more excited with each passing day – I set one big goal for myself. New York City was to be my first sub-4 hour marathon. That meant taking 20 minutes off of my previous best marathon time.
My office wall was (and still is) plastered with the NYC Marathon map, elevation profile, and my (loosely followed) training plan. These constant reminders, along with the steady stream of emails, Instagram posts, and other reminders of the race kept the excitement building.
Once July 13th hit, I tried to say goodbye to lackadaisical training, and hello to structure, and improving my running. The second weekend had my first 10 mile long run scheduled. This was only a few weeks after getting my tortoise/hare calf tattoo – sun + fresh tattoo = sunburn like feelings. Add to that, a contact ripped in half 7 miles into the run, and stayed in my eye. Pushing through the discomfort, I ran home, got both pieces out of my eye, and called it a day.
Not even three weeks in, I had to make a slight adjustment: Calico Racing’s Once In A Blue Moon event, how could that be missed? That was a night of three 5k races, in under 4 hours, on a day where the schedule called for 4 miles worth of hill repeats. Three races would be the same, right?
The following Sunday, 12 miles were called for. Hesitant to be far from home in the event another vision correction malfunction occurred, my wife and I went to Cornerstone Park. Running laps around the 1.20 mile loop kept me never more than .55 miles away from my car, with someone to drive me home. Turns out, my paranoia was unfounded, and I was able to run through additional discomfort/leg issues to complete my full 12, despite being on the verge of calling the run in at 8 miles.
For the most part, I stuck with the plan, until August 31st. A large deviation was in the works. I wanted/needed to complete my Calico Racing Progressive Slam at the ET 51k. It was two years in the making, so calling the race off was not in the cards. Turns out, this was one of the better decisions I could have made in my training. Despite the plan calling for 16 miles, where the race was almost double that distance, I figured out a very important piece of nutritional intelligence during this race.
The ET Moonlight Madness 51k was the finishing touches on my longest mileage month ever, putting August at 150.61 miles!
September started out well, with a scheduled 250 miles for the month!!! Two weeks into the month, though, I went after my 2014 personal best half marathon time with a return to Cedar City. Figuring this was a safe time to push myself, I went after that downhill course like a madman. By the end of the day 12 minutes were shaved off my half marathon personal record!
That race took the place of my 18 mile long run, and I took a day’s rest, before running again.
Two Saturdays later, I went after another half marathon, this time, the Saints & Sinners Half Marathon. Taking off at a blistering pace, the not-quite blistering temperatures told me to slow it up, and I brought the pace back to a sustainable one. Ended that race with a non-Cedar City best half marathon time. Long run skipped this week? 20 miler.
Due to some leg issues from two quick, and close together half marathons, I missed some run days. September was meant to be a 250 mile month, I ended up with 96.19. Disappointed, and slightly worried, I pressed on.
October brought about a new month, and more opportunity to train, run, and race. This month, I tried to work some more tempo runs in, working on speed and consistency. Ten days into the month, we had the first race to enjoy, the TAPPS 10k. It wasn’t quite a PR race, but it was a good run, with positive improvements in my running.
Some other longer runs, intervals, and hill training runs helped me build up my conditioning a bit, something I would definitely need come November 1st. A week before Halloween, we had the Trick or Trot 10k, another route at Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs, just north of Las Vegas. This race had near perfect conditions, and I had a blast! This 10k worked out perfect, and I was able to set another PR for 2015. Only one distance left to PR, and I would get a clean sweep in 2015… the Marathon was up in eight days.
Taper madness was setting in, and I could hardly contain myself on the Wednesday night run, the night before we left for New York City. I may have gone a little faster than I should have, but hey, it felt great, and I needed to do a little speed work to calm the nerves.
Up next… Pre-Amble Part 2…