Monday, January 26, 2009

It's Fate - Sue

I am really excited about the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon. I live in Auburndale and have watched the race at mile 17 for years always with the thought in the back of my head of one day running it. I also use Commonwealth Ave., or Heartbreak Hill, as part of my regular running route.

When I saw the poster in the Hospital, I thought I would let fate take over, and sure enough I got picked! Now comes the anxiety about training properly while trying to remain injury free. I have been running for a number of years. While I have not run a marathon before (making the chance to run Boston as a first more unbelievable), I did run a half marathon (Boston’s Run to Remember) in May 2007. I also am part of a running “team” that has run the Reach the Beach Relay the last four years. It is a 200-mile run in NH from Cannon Mountain to Portsmouth Beach with each runner running three legs of the race with varying lengths. If it weren't for this team, I wouldn't have pushed myself in my running to even consider taking on the challenge of the marathon. I have run the Tufts 10K for several years each October as well.

As for my training, I am following an outline from Runner's World and have looked at plans online by Hal Higdon. So far I have done three 10 milers, and a 12-mile run, but the weather has not made it easy!! One of the 10-mile runs was on a treadmill - ugh! I am hoping to do at least a 12 or maybe 14-mile run this weekend. It will get harder to take the time from my family on weekends for longer runs. My kids are 12 and 10 and they, along with my husband, are supportive!

An Unconventional Approach - Cody

I have never been someone who runs just for the sake of running, I have generally done it in order to get in shape for some other sport, probably since high school. I've kept it up somewhat since I don't participate in organized sports anymore, but I've never done it all that consistently. The furthest I had run since beginning my training was seven miles. So I suppose I really started an organized running program in November when I learned I would be running the Marathon.

As a physical therapist, I have worked with many people who have run marathons and the idea of doing it at least once in my life has been something I've been thinking about for a while. I guess I want to prove to myself that I can do it. When I was in physical therapy school, I worked at Marathon Sports (the shoe store), and there was always lots of talk about training for and finishing marathons, especially Boston. I've worked with many people who have been training for a marathon, but have been interrupted by injury. I also volunteered at last year’s Boston, working with the wheelchair athletes and I worked at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Post-Marathon Injury Clinic. Despite being around it so much, I hadn't experienced it myself. Now I have that opportunity.

I am taking a slightly less conventional approach to marathon training. Most programs prescribe variable lengths of long, slow distances as the primary form of training. My experience as a PT working with people who are training for marathons along with my time at the shoe store tells me this is not the approach for me. I've seen far too many people with training-related injuries that are made worse on race day. I've had ex-professional runners tell me that conventional programs have a lot of “junk miles.” I also think that I would go crazy if my only training was running, so I'm taking a different approach. Whether this is smart or not, I'm not sure yet, but we'll see. The program consists of five days per week of workouts I'm taking from a website ( consisting of high-intensity, often circuit training using body weight, dumbbells, barbells, and Olympic lifts, combined with running. One to two of these days will be supplemented with an additional workout of short-distance interval running. Additionally, I will have one medium distance run per week (six to 10 miles) at my fastest possible pace. Long, slow runs will be every two to four weeks with distances approaching 20 miles. So, that's the plan at this point, but if I feel that my long distance runs are not progressing as I'd like, I'll switch to a more conventional program. So far it’s working though, because after three weeks of a less involved version of this program, I ran eight miles (the furthest I'd ever run) easily.

To get in two workouts a day, two days per week, I have to wake up earlier to get the first one in. That means up at 4:30 am for me. I will also have to switch to driving to work rather than taking the T because the T does not run early enough. Training has also made me become much more efficient with my time (which really means I watch less TV) because I have quite a few other things swirling around my life and I need to make sure I have time for everything while still enjoying the journey!

My 32nd Marathon - Steve

I started running over thirty years ago with short three to five mile runs. I lived up in New Hampshire at the time and a friend of ours had a husband that ran marathons and that inspired both my wife and I to start running, but never a marathon. I moved to Massachusetts to study anesthesia at Carney Hospital. We lived on the Boston Marathon course in Natick. One April in 1982 we went out shopping and tried to return to our apartment and found throngs of people blocking our way to our apartment. I asked, “What is going on?” It's “The Boston Marathon”. So I decided that I should try that. The following year, after I graduated from my anesthesia program, I planned to run my first Boston, at the back of the pack.

This will be my 32nd marathon and my 21st Boston. I ran Baystate, Maine, Vermont City, Cape Cod, San Diego, Marine Corp, New York City, Hartford, Chicago and Ocean State. The Boston Marathon is the best marathon and this may very well be my last.My plans for training are to run as often as my schedule will allow and make sure that I get my long runs in. Fortunately my family life makes my training easier now. Our children are grown and out of the house and that allows me to run after work. My concern about running the 08 Boston Marathon is the weather. We have had a lot of snow and this makes it difficult to get the long runs in. The roads are getting narrow and evening running can be dangerous. The running surface is not too bad just the room to run.