February 25, 2016 – 53 Days to Boston – 4.3 miles 42:00 minutes 9:50 pace
I feel I’m back on track and feeling better about my health and training. I’ve been talking with Teague Hatfield at Footzone about some potential marathon coaches that could help me achieve this goal of getting ready for Boston in less than 60 days. I’ve come to realize how much information (and probably more misinformation) is available on how to successfully prepare to run a marathon and the importance of seeking help and guidance. Even a simple marathon training group at your local running store has many benefits to help you train and stick to your plan. I haven’t experimented too much with nutrition during long runs, so I need to start trying out some different products. One thing is for certain – there is not a lack of fueling options and this aspect is a little overwhelming.
At Big Sur Marathon, my role for the last seven years has been to lead and manage the military volunteers that come from the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey. We have over 250 volunteers just from DLI alone. At the Half Marathon in November, I oversee the military volunteers for the Start & Finish and then at the Full Marathon in April I am responsible for the Finish Line set-up and tear down. Big Sur Marathon in April has some tough logistical challenges with a point to point course, without the ability to access the course from any lateral side streets, and we simply could not pull off either event without the dedicated military volunteers.
Our permit with California Highway Patrol and DOT, provides us only a six hour window to close Hwy 1 for the marathon, so all runners and everything related to the finish line has to be cleaned up and off the highway before that six hour window expires. Thousands of spectators line up on the highway along the finish chute – comprised of a half mile of steel fencing with the announcer stand, inflatable finish line, medal racks, and water stations – and all that has to be cleaned up and the highway has to be ready to open again to vehicle traffic again before that six hour window expires. No marathon in the country has to manage such a feat and I have been honored to lead the team that accomplishes this task in less than 10 minutes.
Being a part of the Finish Line team at the marathon, I’m always blown away and inspired by the marathon finishers that cross the finish line in the final 30 minutes. The 5.5-6 hour marathon finishers range from the first time marathon runners to an 85 year old man that has run 20 Big Sur Marathons and they come in all shapes and sizes. After witnessing these finishers and being inspired by their determination – as a healthy young man…I have zero excuses – I can do it too.
Big Sur International Marathon produces world class events and it has been truly a joy to serve with this amazing community board of volunteers.
March 5, 2016 – 44 Days to Boston – Grin and Bear It 10K – 9:15 pace
Today was the Grin and Bear It 10K in Bend, so my friend Matt Ertle (7 year veteran and inaugural captain of CLR – Electric Dream Machine) ran with me. There are so many charity 10K/5K’s in Bend, but Grin and Bear It has been around for decades and it’s a great race in early March to kick off the race season. Today was my longest run so far and I was really glad that Matt came to pace me to the finish. I was really happy with our run, but afterwards the only thing I can think about is….”how am I going to run another 20 miles after that?” I’m going to focus instead on the fact that I just trained to get up to running six miles in two weeks and that I’m progressing…rather than dwell on how much further I have to go.
April 10, 2016 – 8 Days to Boston – My last long run – 5 miles + Salmon Run Half – 9:50 pace (18 miles)
Matt Ertle paced me today as we ran five miles from my house to the start line of the Salmon Run in Bend to begin the Half Marathon. My buddy Pat Ruiz joined me for the final five miles and I could not have done it without these two guys. It was a great day to be running in Bend with cool temps and sunny conditions. Although I was coming off a head cold that kept me from running the entire week, we got 18 miles done today and still placed third overall in my age division.
I’ve improved consistently over the past 60 days – each weekend increasing my long run from 9 to 11 to 15 to 18 miles. I’ve done as much as I could do coming off the couch two months ago, and I’m excited to head to Boston!
April 15, 2016 – 1 Day to Boston
It’s a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in Boston and Carrie and I went for a little shake-out run through Boston Commons (where we re-united 10 years ago). Nice and easy 2-3 miles, which seems like nothing at this point. It’s been a little more than 60 days since my first training run to start preparing for Boston and that was a rough 2.62 mile run at 11:05 pace. I’ve come a long way since the middle of February when I found out I received an invitational entry to run the Boston Marathon. I have been working or volunteering in the running industry for over a decade as the creator of a few relay races and on the Board of Big Sur Marathon. Although I’ve run a lot of relay races around the country and a few half marathons – I’ve always avoided the marathon. Mostly because the history of the marathon is the guy dies after running 26 miles in Ancient Greek folklore after telling everyone they were victorious. Dying doesn’t sound all that much fun.
My physical therapist at Focus PT is requiring me to remind folks that I highly recommend you don’t try my training plan at home. Training for a marathon requires a serious commitment and time for your body to adjust to the mileage and stresses on everything. To come off the couch (15 pounds heavier than normal) and train for Boston in less than 60 days (including a taper week) is an accomplishment simply that I didn’t injure myself to get to this point. My first goal was to arrive healthy to the start line and I’ve accomplished my first goal already. I also lost those 15 pounds I gained since Cora was born – running and not drinking will do that.
I could not have accomplished the goal of arriving to the start line healthy without a team of people in Bend. Most importantly – my wife – Carrie Douglass who took on the brunt of Cora duties so I could train, and encouraged me every step of the way. My in-laws Dave and Deb McPherson also traveled here to Boston and have been so wonderful and supportive along the way in helping us. I also have to send a huge thank you to the following Cascade Relays Ambassadors and friends that paced me along the way. First, Matt Ertle who paced me for several weekend long runs (with little or no training), Pat Ruiz, Melissa Gilley, Elaine Knipe, Jeremy Howell, and Jamie Rogers. Last but not least many thanks to Hannah Stendahl for the care package and Kristin Coleman for always being there with cowbell and cheers!
I learned very early on in my training that I needed a marathon coach to help tailor a plan specifically for me. Many thanks to Kraig Erikson of Athlete Wise for working with me the last two months and for getting me trained up as best as possible in a short time period… and for not thinking it was totally crazy. The team at Footzone of Bend helped outfit me with everything I needed including multiple pairs of shoes, bodyglide, socks, hydration, you name it – they had it and were able to provide a lot of great advice. The team at Focus PT of Bend (Peter Schrey in particular) provided me with a lot of advice, went on a few runs training runs, and worked on my ailments each week. The Focus PT team was also there at the end of the Salmon Run to stretch me out after the 18 mile training run – many thanks to Burke Selbst. The team at Recharge Sport in Bend sponsored me during my training for Boston and Austin and Renee Baillie were amazing and helpful in my recovery. After long training runs, I was amazed how I felt – after an hour in the compression boots and the cold/hot tubs I felt like I could have walked out of there and gone for another run. Without all of these people and resources, I would not be here – healthy and ready to run my first marathon. Over two million people will run a marathon this year in the United States and I can tell you from this experience that having knowledgeable, supportive, and professional help in your training makes a huge difference. Thanks to you all!
Some folks train for years to qualify for Boston – so it’s not lost on me that I’m blessed to be here about to experience the mecca of marathons. To experience Boston as my first marathon is even more truly unique – I assume it is very rare. One thing is for certain – I’ll set a PR at Boston 🙂
Peter Schrey at Focus PT told me early on in my training that training at Bend’s altitude of 3500’ would get me two miles, the excitement of a race would get me through two miles and the fact the entire course is lined with screaming Boston fans would get me through another two miles. My first thought was “great that’s six miles – but where’s the other twenty miles gonna come from?” I guess I’ll figure that out tomorrow!
My only goal for tomorrow is to finish and enjoy the experience. I’m Bib #29649 of 30,000 runners, so I’m curious how the B.A.A knew my overall finish place already 🙂
Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement along the way – let’s go do this!