Sunday, April 27, 2014

From Boston to Dayton to Boston

After landing on the Sun a racing break was on order. And a racing break unintentionally paired with a blog break.

The break was also paired with the company of my beautiful daughter who came from overseas to visit and the best summer we’ve had in Seattle: sunny, warm, and dry. Paddleboarding, sleeping in, preparing fresh meals, and just enjoying the weather were the activities that filled up our calendar.

After living the dolce vita, a new marathon training program was followed to prepare me for my 10th state: Ohio. This training coached by Migs was centered on specific paces for each of the workouts, and mandatory “no-racing” unless they were purposely included in the plan. I followed the plan to the T. The mileage was reduced by about 25% but I still felt strong and very good throughout the season. 2-mile and mile intervals, 400m  repetitions, and long runs accompanied me for 8 weeks. The scheduled races were Seafair 8K, and Over The Narrows Gig Harbor 10 miles. I did well in these races though they were just a tad slower than the year before.

I clocked in Seafair (07/27/13) 42:08 (8:29) and placed 1st in the division, compared to 41:24 (8:19) and 4th place in 2012.

In Over the Narrows 10-miler (08/31/13), race I love, I clocked 1:22:08 (8:13) and 1st place in the division compared to 1:21:15 (8:08) and 1st place in 2012. I think I still was within my range on both races.

I ran also a First Call Half Marathon on 8/3 as part of an 18-miler long run.

The tapering for Dayton was new. It was a 2-week tapering with a 24 mile run just two weeks before the race. I trusted blindly and followed suit. This has been one of the best, if not the best long runs I’ve ever done. I ran it with my friend Ginger who helped me to stay focused. The last miles were strong and I felt very comfortable with the marathon ahead of me. My only goal in Ohio was to run a great marathon. I was not expecting a PR, I just wanted to run down Boston’s emotions still carved in my heart, and feel good along 26.2 miles.

The trip was fantastic in the company of Steve B. and Jimmy D. Other than a major delay and problems with the connection through O’Hare I made it to Dayton at 11 pm (planned to be there at 3pm) and changing my trip via Dallas. The weather was a threat, mid-80's, sunny, and horrendously humid the day before the race, so I was clear that regardless a good training, the marathon could go south due to these conditions; but… on marathon day the weather was perfect: The start was hot and muggy, but after 45 minutes the humidity dropped dramatically and the rest of the race felt cool and nice for an overall 63F, overcast and a wind that helped more than damaged. 

The run started uneventful and Jim and I were running at the same pace. At mile 2 I saw my dear Maria Jose, which made my day. No talk or conversations were allowed but being together provided some sort of welcome help for me. At mile 12 there was a heavy headwind and I deliberately left Maria Jose to move to the right and draft behind 3 tall guys. It worked pretty well. At the half mark the wind was not bothering as much and I moved back to the left side of the course where I normally run. I have lost MJ at that point so I just said to myself: Let’s do this sh#t all over again.

Jimmy continued being close to me, when at mile 20 I started to feel tired. My pace dropped a lot but curiously I still was running with good form. The last 10K, though slower, were good. I never felt that I needed to drag my feet. I conquered my 10th state OH clocking 4:01:18, for a 9:13 min/mile and 2nd place in my division. The time was good enough for a 2015 BQ with 9 minutes to spare. The trophy, which I received later in the mail, was gorgeous, to say the least.

I felt so good after Dayton that I wanted to run a marathon right away, but resources were an issue. I focused then on speed and didn’t run anything longer than 6 miles for week totals of 30 miles. Asthma was very present during this season, and racing a couple of 5Ks proved that asthma can limit me a lot. My doctor mentioned that air stagnation could be the culprit. I just hope so.

I started my build up for Boston with Seattle Half Marathon in November and I went from there. After much thought, I concluded that racing is my passion and that I can’t be on a leash. I need to feel the freedom to race when I feel is right, and enjoy very much the social and competitive environment that races offer. Nothing wrong with any other type of training but they are not for me. Racing is my thing. From Boston to Dayton to Boston, a year will go by.

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