Okay, so this feels a bit wierd.
While the rest of the running world (at least to me) is making plans and getting excited for race day, Boston Marathon style, I'm trying to stay as far away from running and racing as possible as I prepare to enter my taper for the New Jersey Marathon coming up in 2 weeks. It's hard to believe that it was only one short year ago when I boarded that yellow school bus in the wee hours of the morning for the ride out to Hopkinton. It's even harder for me to believe that that was the last time I ran a "good" marathon with a 3:02:21 (you can re-read my race report here), 1 second off my PR from New York six months earlier.
When I compare how I'm training now (for NJ) as compared to how I trained for Boston, it's easy to see how much I've grown as a runner. For example, back then, in 16 weeks of training, I ran 4 days a week at an average of 42 miles-per-week, with one peak week of 60.4 miles and one other week with 55.7 miles. This spring, in 14 weeks of training so far, I ran 5 days a week at an average of 51.1 miles-per-week, with a peak week of 62 miles and multiple others in the high 50s. Most of my runs last spring were done pretty fast as my average training pace for all my runs was 7:04 min/mi. This spring, I've adhered to the specificity of training and slowed down my general and recovery runs significantly so that my overall average pace is only 7:25 min/mi. Although I know I still have more work to do over the summer/fall as I would like to train myself to run 6 days a week with an average of 60+ miles-per-week, I'm encouraged that I am making some progress in adjusting to higher mileage training. It is surprising to me though that despite the low mileage, I was able to run pretty well in Boston and if it hadn't for a big hamstring cramp at mile 19, I likely would have PR'd if not go sub-3 right there and then. Therefore. I'm thinking that with more training, more endurance, and a flatter course, sub-3 should be attainable for me at NJ in two weeks.
Unfortunately, with all the good that the extra mileage has given me, there is also some bad as well. Along with mental fatigue and general lack of interest to run, my right knee has also been acting up of late, making me somewhat concerned that it won't hold up for the full duration of the 26.2. I've never as yet DNF'ed a race, much less a marathon, but if it's blown up by the first half and I find myself limping or running in all kinds of pain, I might opt to drop out after the first lap. I'm hoping it won't come to be but I'm making contingency plans just in case it does. It's funny to me how injury just never came to mind while tapering and preparing for Boston last year and now it's all I can think about even though I know nothing will be settled until race day. Have I really become even more of a hypochondriac than I already was just in this one year alone?
Forget this. I really should not think about this. Instead, as I prepare to watch the race unfold online, in between patients, tomorrow, I will pretend I'm just that kid again, taking that crowded yellow school bus, embarking on a mysteriously wonderful journey, unaware yet full of hope for what the future may bring.