Two years ago, I had never run in any sort of organized race. I pumped myself up, and over 12 weeks, I was able to train for my first half-marathon. And what was my longest run during that 12 weeks of careful, well-structured, baby steps toward my 13.1 mile day?
And where has my training taken me in the first four weeks of marathon training?
10 miles, folks.
In four weeks, my “long run” has gone from 5 miles (yeah, that was nice) to 10. I literally checked my training schedule three times in order to believe it – I looked at the calendar once, then my print-out, and then re-googled “Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon Training” just in case he had changed his mind and updated it recently.
Not only am I taking these “Andre the Giant steps” in my running schedule, but I am also training during Vermont winter (spring? summer?) for the first time.
I would argue that race-training in Vermont is comparable to learning how to ski or snowboard in Vermont. I’ve met a number of West-Coast riders who tell me that riding in Vermont is often the most challenging they’ve encountered, and my fellow Vermonters have told me how they head out West and are suddenly viewed as the best riders on the hill. The extreme ice conditions, tighter glades, and wild weather work us into the best skier and riders in the world.
My dog used to get excited about joining me for a run, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she begins hiding under the bed after our most recent adventures. In a one week span, I have run under bluebird sky in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, in snow falling at 1-2 inches per hour, in pouring rain, and in sunny 40 degree weather (thank god that was the “long run” day).
In winter rain, like we saw on Friday, Burlington sidewalks transform into temporary riverbeds. You might think that you are about to bound through only an inch or less of water and then plunge into ankle deep snow, salt and slush.
I’d like to think I could win a marathon or take on a Spartan Race if it were anywhere but in Vermont. I hope I still look like a person after this, and not some sort of Middle Earth creature…
These past two weeks have inspired me to begin a Rookie Marathoner 10 Commandments/Rule Book (it will probably end up being more like 20 or 30, in the end; I mean, I do still have 14 weeks left):
Rookie Commandment #1
There must always be room in my schedule for “cake, cross-country adventures, and cocktails” (see week #3 entry for an explanation; cocktails might be disputed and incorporated into a new commandment in a later entry).
Rookie Commandment #2
Thou shalt not run in weather labeled “winter advisory” “wintery mix” or __________ (TBD).
Rookie Commandment #3
Thou shalt not run Spear Street, between Swift and Main, ever.
Seriously, there should be signs for runners, written in blood, that says “Turn back now, or else” in either direction of this hill: