So I’m two years into the grand experiment: Let’s run some marathons, eat some kale, and see if we can keep up with the five-year-olds.
So far, so good. I’ve trained smarter, and run more miles than ever. I’ve been eating stuff I never imagined I’d love so much, and regularly see good news on the scale, and on the mile splits.
The kids still wear me out, but breathing is easier, sleeping is easier, and most importantly, waking up is easier than it’s ever been. I don’t get up with the sun; I get up, run several miles, then watch the sun rise, thinking “What kept ya?”
I’ve been on the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. I even hiked it. It’s just over four miles up and back.
I’ve also been to Washington, DC, and did plenty of walking around. Probably 3 whole miles.
What I’ve never done is run the 700+ miles between these two places. If I were to try, I’d give myself a few months, maybe a year.
Gary Allen will run that whole distance in two weeks. Starting on January 7, he will leave the summit of Cadillac Mountain at 6AM. He will cover 50 miles a day, until reaching Washington, DC just in time for the Presidential inauguration on the 21st.
I learned that during the Maine Marathon, where I actually had a ‘strategy’, but having a poor one is really no strategy at all. My strategy? Just go as fast as I can until the wheels fall off, or I hit the finish line, whichever comes first.
Did I mention that when doing that in a marathon the ‘wheels falling off’ comes first, for pretty much everybody?
Unless they have a smart strategy. And a lot of marathoners do (and I guess I’m a marathoner now, btw, I think, I kinda feel comfortable saying that, at least for this year). The human body is science, and the science is way more true than most people think. If you move this way, muscles will respond that way. If you eat this, that will happen. That means a smart strategy is similar for most people running 26.2 miles.
Actually, it’s a big three weeks. First, I completed New Hampshire’s list of 4,000 foot mountains on Saturday. Mts Lincoln and Lafayette were number 47 and 48, all done while carrying a small child most of the way, and there will be a trip report on that later.
The weird part is there was no single reason. No job change, family milestone, or graduation caused it. The kids have been around for a few years now, so it’s not that. This just kind of crept up on me, where I’ve become this person who wakes up at the crack of dawn to go running. And lifting, and whatever else it takes to get rid of the extra 50 lbs I’ve picked up.
But I’m not part of the fitness community or anything like that.
Here we are high up on the Durand Ridge of Mt. Adams in New Hampshire, heading along what they call the Knife Edge (I’ve been on Katahdin’s Knife Edge, and there is no comparison – I’d never take one of my kids on Katahdin’s, while Rye is hiking the Durand Ridge on her own). Except for the hour we spent on that ridge, I cruised to the junction of the Airline and Chemin de Dames trails in a little over two hours, where I let Rye hike (which is kinda the point), then powered up the rest of the way in a half hour after Rye got back in the pack. That’s 65 lbs total on my back, and I didn’t just beat the guidebook time, I crushed it.
So… the 2012 Boston Marathon was epic. I heard that more than 4,000 runners took the BAA up on their offer to defer until next year. These are probably fast runners who wanted to go for PRs (personal records). Smart folks. Another 2,000 or so did require medical help of some kind, and they included elite and expert runners.
The BAA warning before the race was pointed: If you had never run a marathon or had not run in these conditions, they recommended you bag. I realized if I ran in the 88 degree heat, next time that warning wouldn’t mean me!
To many people, that means nothing. It looks like some kind of running stat, like that annoying cousin, the triathlete or something, is always talking about. Normal people talk about Final Fours, Yards per carry, and RBIs. You can stuff your 42 minute 10Ks.
Real runners don’t care much for numbers like that either. They run a 5-minute mile, not a pokey 8. A 42 minute 10K is the mark of a piker.
Well, this piker is pretty darn proud of the number. I turned it in this morning, one week before my first Boston Marathon. I’m in ‘taper’ mode, which means I’m not supposed to be running very much during the 2 to 3 weeks before race day. After 5 months of training at distances of more than 20 miles, the heart, lungs, legs, stomach and mind are ready.