Since my last post, I've done a number of 'taper' runs, typically at a 8:30 to 9:00 per mile pace. Tomorrow we hit the road to drive to Virginia Beach (taking 2 days to get there -- 14 hours of driving according to Google Maps), so today was my last chance to do a training run at home.
My knee has still been bugging me -- hurts like hell when I bend it a full 90 degrees -- but its generally fine when I run. I've been blasting it with ibuprofen for the last 3 days, which has definitely helped. 5 x 200 mg. evenly spaced throughout the day. 2 days of sitting in a car probably won't help!
Today, Brian wanted me to do some tempo runs -- something faster than race pace. Just to make it interesting, we headed out on William Street from our place with 1 mile of warm up and then 1.5 miles out of tempo run, turn around 1.5 more miles of tempo run, and then a mile cool down. Lots of hills on that route, and the wind was noticeable in some directions, so it was not going to be an 'easy' run by any stretch of the imagination.
Brian suggested I target 7:40 per mile, but be prepared to bail altogether if my knee starts talking to me. As we headed out for tempo speed, I had no problem exceeding 7:40. And despite the right knee, right heel, left shin, and any other part of my body that was sore when I started, by the time I was done the tempo part of the run, I definitely felt strong -- and had knocked off times of 7:24, 7:32 and 7 :18 -- with much of the last mile being uphill and into a fairly strong wind! In fact, over the 5 mile run (including warmup and cool down jogs), my pace was 7:55 -- just a bit faster than race pace for a BQ -- and right on what we want to do for the first 13 miles of the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach.
I checked the weather forecast today and they're saying between 3 and 12 degrees C (37 to 53 F) with a 10% probability of precipitation. If the wind can stay down, this will be a perfect race day!
So, we'll head out tomorrow with me feeling fairly confident. The training is there. Despite the knee issues, I'm feeling healthy enough to finish strongly. Jenny will be there for additional support (Eload, jelly beans, ibuprofen). I've got Brian pacing me, which is perfect since he knows every motivational tool in the book ("A nice cold beer just 2 miles ahead, buddy!") to keep me going strong right to the finish. And I have lots of friends and family rooting for me to hit that Boston Qualifier (BQ) time of 3:30:59 or better.
I'm looking forward to it!