Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weighty concerns

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm currently in a caffeine fast as I prepare for Boston. I think I'm going to stick it out, but the fast has had one fairly significant effect -- it's not the withdrawal headaches, it's the eating. I started my fast on Monday (April 8), and this graph shows my calorie consumption for the past six days:

As you can see, I'm definitely eating more. When I'm not drinking coffee, I lose the appetite-suppressant benefit of the caffeine and I feel a near-constant urge to eat. Yesterday I had hoped to cut back but a spur-of-the-moment dinner date ended up moving my consumption in the opposite direction. I've gained three pounds in those three days, and each pound I gain means more weight I will have to carry in Boston. Today I think I will do better, but still, it's just one more thing to worry about pre-race.

Otherwise, things seem to be going all right. I think I'm pretty much completely over the flu; I'm not feeling congested at all, even with North Carolina seemingly in full bloom. I'm in full taper mode now, so my short daily runs seem very easy (as they should). The taper also seems to be doing its job in terms of regenerating my muscles; I've got almost no muscle soreness.

All that's left is just to stew about the race itself. Boston, unlike any other marathon I've run, has a ton of information about the race available online. There are websites that will calculate your optimum pace for every mile, taking into account each nuance of terrain -- like this one. You just type in your desired finishing time, and it breaks the race down mile by mile. Apparently if I want to finish in 3:15 I should run mile 11 in 7:31 but mile 12 in 7:16. That's a little too precise even for me. My plan is to shoot for a 7:30 pace (which would result in a 3:16 finish), but not stick to it religiously. I know about the downhill start, and the necessity of reining yourself in so as to save your quads. I know about the Newton Hills starting at Mile 16. I know there's some nice downhill relief after Heartbreak Hill at Mile 20, and I think that's about all I need to know.

This article seems to provide advice at just about the level of detail I like. It's actually a little more detail than I think I need, but not so much as to be overwhelming. Hopefully with advice like this, I'll be able to hit my goal of PRing and re-qualifying for Boston.

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