At last year's Boston Marathon I finished 20th overall in 2:19:17. That was a small miracle considering my training had gone quite poorly. However, as you may know, that left me 17 second shy of the Olympic Trials qualifying standard (which I have yet to achieve before next years race). I have already competed in one Olympic Trials and considered it an experience of a lifetime, so competing in a second would frankly just be icing on the cake. But, this weekend, weather permitting, I'm taking one more real shot at earning a spot on the line in Houston this January. Boston obviously isn't the fastest course in the world, but for a strong, efficient (but admittedly not super fast) runner like me, it is not a bad course either. Plus, it's tough to beat the crowd support and the accommodations provided by adidas and the BAA. This race is a blast. My training, although certainly not perfect, has gone much better than last year. My total mileage is lower than it used to be, I have a chronic foot injury that bothers me as much as ever, and my workouts have been mostly alone because Art and Greg are both training for the 800 meters or something. However, a couple of my key workouts have been as good as ever.
Three weeks ago, I went to Nelson Laux's house in Arvada to do my standard marathon pace long run on the "Arthur Loop". This a a crazy, car dodging, kamikaze 3M road loop with gentle rolling hills that is perfect preparation for Boston. I started out by running 10M easy on a dirt path in 71 minutes, followed by 3 laps of the Aurther loop (9M total) taking just enough time between laps to choke down a gel and a couple swallows of Gatorade. Averaging just under 15:50 per lap with my last lap being the fastest, I can honestly say is probably my second or third best effort over that course ever. Probably my best solo effort by far. Nelson joined me for an easy cool down of 3M during which I constantly tried to convince him to get in shape a make a come back.
2 weeks ago, was my last true fitness test over any distance. I loaded up the family after work and headed to Boulder. While Char took the girls for a walk in the park, I pulled on my road flats, warmed up three miles and did 5 x 2 mile on the Fairview track with a 1 minute rest for gels and Gatorade. Averaging 10:17 while getting progressively faster throughout was a great indicator of my current strength and running economy. And although the last one at 10:13 was hard, I never felt like I really took it too the well and actually felt quite good cooling down after.
Now if only I could start feeling good during my taper, I would be supremely confident going into next weekend. For some reason, I always feel like crap the first week or two of my taper, but usually manage to put it back together by race day. Now, the only thing left is to pray for a tailwind :-)