But right on schedule I'll be wrapping up Phase One in the next few days - with a 5-miler tomorrow morning, a 13-miler with the Manchester team on Saturday and a 6-miler mini-reunion run in Portsmouth on Sunday.
The goal of this first phase was simple: build base mileage before getting into the "real" training.
By the time Sunday rolls around, I will have logged 165 or so miles during base training - including three 30+ mile weeks (and one weekend off for a quick trip to Puerto Rico for my little brother's wedding).
I had a 100-mile month in November - 103 miles, to be exact, my highest mileage month ever - and am well on my way to another 100-mile month for December. I haven't hit a triple-digit running month since February - the one and only other time I did so.
As I reflect back on the Phase One, I realize that putting the miles in has been (not surprisingly) both challenging and rewarding.
It's fun to keep hitting new targets. Setting that bar higher and higher keeps me motivated.
I reached weekly mileage highs almost every week and have watched my monthly totals climb. This morning's run put me over 800 running miles for the year, and last week I passed the 2,500 mile mark for my run/bike total. (Blew that 2,010 in 2010 challenge out of the water!)
Of course, those kind of "mile"stones (pun totally intended) don't come easily.
Fitting runs in during one of my busiest work seasons has been challenging. The schedule has forced me to set the alarm early and brave the cold and dark.
Adapting to the cold and dark has meant some "firsts" for me: running with a headlamp, donning my new balaclava (love it!) and layering up my tights and wind pants.
I think I've run in every combination of running clothes and accessories during the past six weeks - shorts and tanks to gloves and hats, and everything in between.
I've run in a ridiculous cold, windy downpour. I've run on a treadmill. (I actually preferred the downpour to the monotony of the treadmill.)
I've run by myself. I've run with teammates. I've even run a 10-miler with TC - his longest run yet.
I've become better at being self-sufficient, running some of my longest, unsupported runs yet. I adjusted my running routes to loop back for water and fuel. A few times, I sucked it up and ran with that annoyingly heavy, uncomfortable fuel belt sloshing around my waist.
I've had runs where I feel great and I feel like I can do anything. I've had runs where I seriously question why the heck I'm doing any of this.
Yep, I've come a long way already - 165 miles, literally, but much farther figuratively. But I know I'm just beginning.
Bring on Phase Two!
**REMEMBER, I'm running the Boston Marathon to help save lives!**
Please visit my fundraising page to support a good cause and learn more about a very special little boy. http://pages.teamintraining.org/ma/boston11/trobinsy2v. Thank you for your support!