I did it. I submitted my application to Team in Training's Boston Marathon program.
My first thought: Holy crap. What if I get in?
As I wait to hear whether I've been accepted into the program - yes, there's actually a line of people waiting to be "chosen" to run 26.2 miles and raise $3,200, imagine that! - my emotions range from excitement to plain ol' fear.
On the one hand, I'm excited to take on another fundraising and marathon training challenge. Plus, c'mon, it's the Boston Marathon. Or maybe I should say, it's The Boston Marathon. With a capital T.
Does it get better than that for a runner?
Although training doesn't start until December, I'm already in "marathon mode" - not in a sense that I'm logging tons of miles, but I'm just mentally getting ready.
Last week, I even solicited the help and advice of Manchester's TNT coach, Lauren. I plan to train with the TNT Boston team periodically (yes, I'm already talking like I've gotten in. Dangerous!), but since the runs are about an hour away, it's unlikely I'll make all of them.
Plus, I know Lauren can really help me improve.
I've watched her coach our recent TNT team. I was honestly blown away. I was over-the-top impressed with her dedication and, more than anything, knowledge. She took the time to get to know every runner - their habits, their goals, their abilities.
She suggested custom training plans and included speed workouts and strength training. She monitored their tweaks and twinges throughout training, guiding them when it was time to back off a bit and pushing them when she knew they could handle a bit more.
The result, not surprisingly, was one of the best-trained TNT teams I've ever seen. (They also totally rocked the fundraising, too, bringing in more than $30,000 for their relatively tiny 10-person team.)
I can only hope for the same success. (That is, if I'm accepted.)
As I told Lauren, I've already done 26.2, so it's not just about finishing. I know I can do that. I just want to do it better this time.
By "better" I don't necessarily mean a time goal - although I have some internal numbers rattling around in my head. I just want to be confident in my running and feel strong. I want to be healthy and smart about it.
Lauren, it seemed, was eager to jump on board, replying to my email with some suggestions to get ready for training.
That's right, I now have training for training.
Her main suggestion was to build up my base mileage. For now, she suggested running three to four times a week at three to four miles at a time during the week. My long run will work its way up to 10 miles, with a short recovery run the following day.
Quick math: I'll be logging roughly 20-25ish miles. Then, I'll increase my mid-week runs to six to seven miles per week, plus the long run. Up to 30ish miles per week. Oh, I also need to add in a couple days of strength training.
Yes, folks, that's the plan to get ready for training.
That must be the fear part kicking in now.
It's not that the miles are overly daunting - I've certainly logged that kind of mileage before, especially in the early months of the year before my bike miles make up the lion's share of my miles.
What concerns me just a bit is that I don't know what to expect once training actually starts. Just how much am I actually going to be running? And just how cold and dark and snowy will it be?
Plenty of unknowns. Have I mentioned I'm not a huge fan of unknowns?
What I do know, however, is that I trust Lauren, her advice and her knowledge. I know she won't steer me wrong - and, in fact, probably wants me to succeed and improve just as much as I do.
I guess now I just have to wait to be accepted. In the meantime, I'll start building that mileage up. Can't hurt either way.