I figured something out. When I'm in good running shape, I can take a day or two off, and I come back to running feeling fresh and ready to run well. But when I'm out of shape, if I take a day off, my idiot body completely forgets what running is. I'm sick of having to suffer through that first awful run after a rest day, so instead of taking a full day off, I'm taking an easy day, 30 minutes of running, once a week. I filled in my log for the week and found that I hit 45 miles last week. Once I'm at 50-60, I'll feel like I'm marathon training again. I'll quit this low heart rate MAF stuff (I'm enjoying it, I must admit) and I will add tempo and speed and longer runs. My plan for Boston is simple: follow the same plan I did for Chicago, but actually try to complete all the tempo runs this time. I gave up far too frequently during the Chicago build. It was easy to say that the stupid coach made that workout too hard when I was the stupid coach. I'm still the stupid coach, and KN and I are still following my same plan, written into a paper calendar, pulling the bits and pieces that I like from Daniels, Hansen, and my experience. But this time we're going to follow it harder. Chicago's perfect weather and perfect course made my 5-minute PR feel like a bit of a freebie. I'm not so set on sub-3 now that I've done it once. Once was the goal. But I'd like to do it again at Boston.
So far, I don't think I've said anything positive about taking that six-week break from late November through the beginning of January. However, I have found a positive thing to say: I quit running at 5 lbs over race weight. I stayed the same size, maybe a pound or two heavier, during the break. Then I started running again, and race weight is suddenly here. It came without much effort. I don't know how or why, but I'll take it. Hello, 120s, it's so nice to see you and my hip bones again. My shins are healthier here, and my stride is lighter and bouncier here. I realize that the 120s are heavy for most distance runners - it was not lost on me that I was the largest person in the elite development tent in Chicago. But I'm amazon-tall, so it's the best I can do.
I'm not signed up for any triathlons this year. I don't currently have a bicycle or a master's swimming membership. I have no plans beyond Boston on April 15th, but I know for sure that Hawaii 70.3 just doesn't appeal to me this year. I haven't followed up with any potential teams or shoe sponsors. I've thrown enough money and hours at triathlon. I've done all I think I can do there, and I'm satisfied with what's been done. Maybe an ultra in Marin in the summer. Or maybe not. Maybe Chicago again, if I can convince my mom to run it too. Maybe NYC. Or maybe a trip to Paris and Octoberfest that doesn't involve a race at all, instead. Maybe instead of writing up training plans and blog posts about them, I'll write the book I want to write. Maybe instead of budgeting for race-travel, I'll budget for lazy-travel and use the french, spanish, and italian I studied for all those years.
I love the way a new year feels like a fresh slate. I had two resolutions for last year, one of which was my sub-3 marathon (the other was noneofyerbusiness) and I checked both off. This year's important goals aren't sport-related in any way, but I'm sure there will be lots of sports along the way.