2011 has been a roller coaster year for me and my family. Turmoil in areas we least expected, and calm seas where trouble has historically emerged. Health issues, job issues, etc., we’ve been burning stress for fuel far more that ever wanted or expected. In the last couple months we’ve taken some steps to try and get back in control, and we may be at the tipping point for the better. Professionally my wife and I are both proactively working to change our situations. Health-wise, a string of bad news has been followed by relative quiet, and no health news is good health news right now. As for running, after running my first 2 marathons in 2010, the only race on my schedule for 2011 is the Marine Corps Marathon, which I’ll be running 23 short days from now. 2011 has been a long road figuratively and literally, but hopefully by the time I cross the finish line in DC at the end of the month we will have crossed the finish line in other areas of our lives as well.
After starting off the year bonding with my orthopedist and therapist again, and spending most of January and February on the sidelines trying to get healthy enough for training, I got started on 36 week plan to build a solid base back up, and then train hard to try and cut another 20 minutes off my marathon time. I’m in the 33rd week of that journey, and although you never know what race day is going to have in store for you, I’ve done everything I intended to do in that plan to get me ready to race. There have been pains and setbacks along the way, but I’ve managed them with as much common sense as I can muster, and kept them all from forcing me to shut things down. Unfortunately I lost my training partner along the way – he’s still alive, and I didn’t actually lose him … I know where he is – but he developed a calf issue and had to defer his entry. After adding tempo/speed work to my training for marathon 2, I’ve embraced hills and trails for this one, and actually enjoy the hilly long runs now more than the flat ones. Go figure.
July, August, and September were strong training months. Hot …. but strong. 21 runs in July for 143.38 miles, 19 runs in August for 146.11 miles, and 19 runs in September for 131.79 miles. Not as much speed work as I would have liked, but more hill work than I had planned. I’m hoping the hills are building more quad strength for me, which in turn will stabilize my knees more so I’m not running this race with any braces. So far so good.
I’m starting to get excited for the MCM. I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so this should be a pretty wild experience, as I’ll be surrounded by a crowd for hours and hours, all heading for the same place. This is one of a very short list of marathons that have specific meaning for me and are ones I want to do before I find another pursuit to rob me of sleep and beat my body into submission. Just need to stay healthy for 3 more weeks. The end is near …