For those of you who are fans of "Game Of Thrones" on HBO, you know how frustrating it is to have to wait THIS LONG for the 2nd season of this terrific show........particularly when you consider that it won't even be back on until April 2012.....so "Winter" won't even be here until SPRING! LOL
But the title is referring to what I see when I look outside through the big picture window in our living room. While I was out on my run this morning, I watched the sky change from partly cloudy to that kind of overall grey that just looks like snow. Add to that the sort of damp heavy feeling in the air and it just seems to be inevitable. Even if it isn't in the forecast, it's one of those days when you're glad you got out early and are content to spend the rest of the day under a cozy blanket, feet up, reading books (or, in my case, watching the Bruins absolutely DISMANTLE the Flyers!) and just simply enjoying being together with nothing really important to do.
My "training" for the 2012 Boston Marathon officially began this week. I put the quotation marks around "training" because it's not as if I haven't been running all along, but now I'm actually following an 18-week plan to get my body ready for the pounding it will take on April 16, 2012. I'm using a hybrid of 2 different plans from the Hal Higdon website (www.halhigdon.com), putting together "Novice 2" and "Intermediate". Novice 2 has 4 running days, 2 rest days, and 1 cross-training day, while "Intermediate" has 5 running days, 1 rest day, and 1 cross-training day with higher mileage numbers. Based on what I've put together, my plan looks like an "Intermediate" schedule with "Novice 2" mileage numbers, from a "low" week of 20 miles (week 3 - Dec) up to a 40-mile week (week 11 - Feb). Based on my previous marathon training experience, it looks like a reasonable plan which I should be able to manage.......providing I stay healthy this time!
And that's the wild card........the last time I was prepping for a marathon, I had the luxury of training through the late summer and early fall......probably my favorite time of year to be running. I had some truly memorable training runs that summer, particularly while on vacation in California. Running through the morning fog and hills of Palos Verdes, a run through the early morning heat near Disneyland, a beautiful run through Cannery Row and along the Monterey coastline......I tried to remember those runs when I was suffering through the actual marathon itself. I had injured my left achilles tendon a few weeks earlier and had to dramatically cut back on my training weeks before I should have been tapering. I ran that marathon in 4:58, but truly believed I was capable of a faster time (probably somewhere in the 4:20 - 4:30 neighborhood), so was it the injury or the conditions, or simply the fact that it was my first marathon? Who knows........but as I begin the process of preparing for my next marathon, I'm hopeful that I can run to my potential. Then again, it IS Boston........so who knows?
I went out this morning for an 8-mile run........that's what the schedule said, so that's what I was going to do. It's a nice hilly route that I've run many times before, so I knew that I'd have an opportunity to get some good work in! With temps in the mid-30's, I'm still trying to figure out my layering on top, but my Insport tights continue to be perfect. At around the 2-mile mark, I spotted a gaggle (gang? group? squad? pod? pride?) of wild turkeys gathered on the front lawn of a little house on the left....as soon as they saw me coming, they scattered, but I always love seeing evidence that in spite of Franklin being a suburb, there's still wildlife all around us. Just so long as it's not chasing me!!!!
This route has it's own version of the Newton hills......Lincoln Street is about 2 miles of net uphill, nothing too steep, but a fairly consistent grind. In the past, I would've stopped and walked several times, but I just took my speed down a notch and made a point of NOT stopping at all. It wasn't easy, but I felt great looking back over my shoulder at the end and seeing just how far I'd climbed. After some false flats, I ran around the Franklin Town Common and turned for home. Chugged past Ben's future schools (Horace Mann Middle School, Franklin High School) and continued up Oak Street into the wind. At about that point, the sky started to darken and the cold crept in......needless to say, I was glad that my run was nearly over! Turned right on Pond Street and steamed downhill before turning right onto the slight hill that is Southgate Road, then left onto Coronation, cresting that last little hill before cruising down to the "finish line" (our driveway!). Just like that, I was done.......while I know I'd gotten some work in, I didn't feel crushed......that would kick in a bit later! LOL
Went inside and found Ben playing with his Lego's on the floor, Phineas and Ferb on the TV........he smiled at me and we said "hello" to each other. When I asked "where's Mommy", he just pointed towards the bedroom. As Barb hadn't been feeling so great, I was thinking she might have gone back to bed, but when I got to the bedroom, I found her on the phone with her father. She looked shocked to see me back so soon, but her warm greeting was just what I needed!
So Week 1 is in the books........cross-training tomorrow, and then on to Week 2!