Thursday, February 1, 2007

Austin Marathon (aka - The Shin Splint Saga) - 17 days and counting

2 months ago today, I turned 47. I have a tradition I call the "birthday run" where I run 12.1 miles every year on my birthday (born 12-1). I did that run in a respectable 7:30 pace after having completed 200+ miles for November. I finished December with 200+ miles again, and was running as fast as I have in years. I had Austin in my sites to try to qualify for my 4th Boston Marathon, and I needed a sub-3:30 to do so. On December 31, I would have probably told you I was capable of a sub-3:20. On January 1, I woke up with a soreness in my lower left shin (shin splints) and have been fighting it every day since. I ran maybe 100 miles for the month of January. I've been doing this long enough to know that aches and pains are part of the deal. I ran 5 marathons (2 Houstons, 2 Austins and 1 Boston) with a groin pull in 2001 and 2002. So today, I decided to go for broke over the next 13 days prior to a 5 day Austin taper. If I can get in about 100 miles between now and February 13th with at least one 20 miler around February 8th or so, I might still have a shot at the 3:30. Experience and logic tell me it's a longshot at this point, but heart and guts and years and years of running tell me there's a chance. If I see it's just not doable, I'll back off, run, jog, walk, whatever, and complete my 16th marathon regardless. So today I put in 7.5 miles at an easy 8:00 pace, now just 92.5 miles to go until the 13th.

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