Road to Boston SLR 11

I woke up on time, but the world had moved on to Standard Time. And I was running late!

The road to Boston continues with SLR 11, a sixteen mile run out to Lake Quannapowitt and a loop inside of Breakheart Reservation. A few hills in the park but a mostly flat course with a few rises in the road.

Due to the time change over night, I woke up at 7:30. Our run begins at 8AM. I had stayed up a bit later than usual but I usually wake up around 6AM and had set my alarm for 6:30. When I checked my phone, the alarm was not set.

I quickly got dressed, slammed 160z of cold brew, and had a banana for breakfast. Fortunately I lay out me running clothes the night before every run, so I didn’t have to search the house for any thing.

I drove a little faster than normal and pushed a few yellow lights to try and get to Melrose before everyone left. But, since we were running the course on the map below I wasn’t too worried about having to catch up.

Road to Boston, Sunday Long Run 11

When I arrived in Melrose, Bobby Taylor had already begun giving instructions for the route.

Since I knew the route, I wasn’t too worried about missing some of the details.

As I approached the group I could hear Bobby giving all of these instructions which didn’t make sense to me.

Then I realized we were running the bike trail route that we had to abandon a few weeks earlier because it was icy in a lot of places. I guess a lot of people wanted a shot at running this route, and so we were.

I saw Bobby’s email earlier in the week and he did mention something about this. But I have been totally slammed at work and never looked at the map he provided. I never gave this alternative course a second thought.

Well, I missed the first minutes of his instructions and wasn’t even sure how we were going to start. I correctly guessed that we were headed north on Main Street, but had no idea what the first turn was!

Oh, the morning was getting off to a great start!

Because I had to accelerate my morning routine I barely stretched at all and didn’t get in my pre-run constitutional. I was just in the finest running shape I possibly could be! Not!

Road to Boston SLR 11, Boston Marathon Training

Running SLR 11

We had about 30 runners and probably 10 of us were running long. This concerned me a bit because I had very little idea of where I was going and this made it crucial that I run with someone who was running long AND knew where the hell we were going.

As usual, I started out with the lead group and before everyone else was ready to go. As the faster people take off, I still have more runners catching up to me.

I spent a few minutes running with Bobby and the pack. After several asks I was told that we were turning onto Franklin Street. So I was good for the next mile!

Franklin Street ran us through Stoneham and headed towards the bike path. I ended up following a guy running the short course and followed him up Maple Street in Stoneham. And I do mean up. We gained 130 feet on mile 5 and I think most of it was on that hill.

I kept telling him that I thought we needed to stay on the bike trail longer. At the top of the hill we met Rowena Hakkaoui who told us this was the course for the short run!

I wasn’t really pissed at him since it was my fault that I didn’t know where I was supposed to go.

I ran down the hill and gave my left knee a slamming that it did not need, but added about 0.2 miles to my run. Everyone told me that was my bonus distance! I run with a very positive and encouraging group, for sure!

The Road to Boston goes through many towns

My little detour turned out to be my good fortune. When I got back onto the bike path I caught up with four other runners who were going the distance and at my pace. I was happy to have the company.

After running about five miles by myself, I was getting deep into my own head. Paying attention to my wonky knee, my breathing and overall energy level. I only ran 4.2 miles since my 20 miler nine days prior. So there were a lot of things that could go wrong.

Now that I was running with people, I had to respond to questions! And have a conversation that made sense to someone besides me. And this was still early in the run!

Just after mile six in Woburn, we had our second water stop with Paul Locke. I had a large Snickers bar in my pocket and took a bite around mile three. At this stop I finished what was left of the first piece and had a cup of Gatorade.

We thanked Paul and headed off to weave our way through Woburn to Winchester and to loop Horn Pond. About half a mile before the pond we hit mile 8, or I hit mile 8 since I had about an extra quarter mile on everyone.

The parking lot at the pond was a construction zone and the restrooms were boarded up and fenced off. No water fountains either.

But there was a porta-potty for the construction crew, so I decided to make a pit stop. It was remarkably clean and didn’t reek.

Everyone else kept on going on, so I had to catch up. Fortunately, when you are going around a pond, it’s difficult to get lost. After mile nine I caught up with the gang.

There were a few people out walking, sitting by the pond and walking their dogs. It was good to see people out and about.

Finishing up the Road to Boston SLR 11

As we rounded the north shore of the pond my watch chimed in at 10 miles! Only 10K to go. By this point my left knee had settled down to pain level 2 and I could put it out of my mind.

But I was feeling the run. My legs were getting tired and I could tell that my energy level had dropped considerably. We all mentioned how it would have been nice to have a water stop in the parking lot at the pond. But we’re big boys and girls. We can hack it.

As we ran away from the pond Jose and I consulted the map several times. No one was 100% confident in their knowledge of the route and no one wanted to run extra!

We had our 3rd water stop around 11.5 miles. This was also our 2nd water stop on the way out and we had a nice chat with Paul as we refueled.

Eventually the ladies ran ahead of us and I ran with Jose and AJ for a few miles. After we turned onto Park street and started the last 5K of our run, I found my self running alone. By this point I knew where I was going.

I was happy to know we had less than three miles to go. At the Stone Zoo I was on the wrong side of the street and missed our fourth water stop. It didn’t bother me at all. I was headed home.

As I ran down West Wyoming Street in Melrose I envisioned running down Comm. Ave in Boston. When I turned onto Main Street I envisioned Hereford Street. After Grove Street I envisioned Boylston Street.

It was great to finish a 16.26 mile run. Just three weeks before this, it was all I could do to run 13.1 miles.

The twenty-mile run last Friday was encouraging and this run enhanced my confidence. My knee seems to be stabilized with the knee brace and my stamina is building!

Run well my Friends


23 and Me February

January was a successful month for running. Through Fall I managed to run about sixty miles each month. With a slight improvement each month through December.

In January I ran just over 91 miles. It wasn’t without aches and pains, but it was run with little doubt. I was confident as I pushed the mileage higher that I was on a trajectory towards a 100 mile month in February.

Even with the aches and pains, I showed up on Sunday and ran most of the miles. And I ran 4 to 6 miles Tuesday day night and a few times managed another 5 miler on Thursday or Friday night.

But on February 5th during our SLR 6 I ran into a problem. My knee has been bothering me for a while, but this time it felt different.

My Physical Therapist, Dr. Sarah Marchionne, at Fitzgerald Physical Therapy in Melrose checked my knee thoroughly. I was relieved when she said it was probably an over-use injury. This made sense since I had been ramping up the miles.

February 23 Running

The first run in February was The Sunday Long Run 6 which was a 16.5 course.

My knee had been bothering me from pushing it a little too much the week before. I was feeling strong, so I ran that way. During a few of my runs I even tossed in a few strides and they felt pretty good.

By the time I reached mile 10 of SLR 6, I knew it was a bad idea and run all 16.5 miles. Our next water stop was only 3.5 miles away and I figured I could get there without causing any permanent damage.

I knew exactly where I was going and what the hills were like. There were a few times when I had to walk and my Garmin flaked out on me.

Sunday Long Run, 23 and Me February

When I look at the map for that run, Mile 11 is a little short, Mile 13 is missing and it looks like I ran well over 15 miles. But Garmin gives me 13.6 miles which I literally felt in my bones was the correct distance!

Not my first tough run of this training program but it felt like the toughest run. When I got to the next water stop, I got a ride from Bobby Taylor back to my car! At mile 10 I knew my PT would say, why did you keep running?

Road to Boston SLR 6, Marathon training 2023

When I got into my car I felt like I had run 15+ miles.

As I was running in from Mile 10 I was thinking about what I would tell my PT. When did the pain begin? When did it get worse?

Would I be honest? Should I be? Would she be pissed or disappointed at my foolishness?

You can read about when the pain started in my Road to Boston SLR 6 post, so I wont re-hash it here.

Marathon Training Week 7

After my tough SLR 6, I took week 7 off and manned a water stop on Saturday.

The club ran the Super Sunday 5K and 10K on Sunday so we moved the long run to Saturday. Yes, a lot of people ran 14 miles on Saturday and many ran the 10K on Sunday.

I registered to run the 10K, but Saturday afternoon when I picked up my bib I switched to the 5K. My knee was still wonky and I didn’t want to push it.

My goal is to get to the starting line in some sort of running condition.

I started the Super Sunday 5K in the back and as we started out I just let people pass me. I had a compression sleeve on my knee and wanted to see how things went.

After about a half-mile I realized that me knee was fine, so I picked up my pace on First street and had a pretty good race. We had 42 club members run or volunteer at the race. And I think everyone had a good time.

I had a good 4.5 mile club run Tuesday night, had PT on Wednesday and ran a little over five miles Thursday night.

Marathon Training Week 8

Sunday Long Run for week 8 was an 18.1 mile course that I knew well. It is a long run and has plenty of hills, but the turns are easy to spot with few rotaries or 5 road intersections. I knew I wouldn’t get lost, but I was not sure how my knee would hold up.

Road to Boston, Sunday Long Run 8

On advice of Dr. Sarah I had been wearing a compression sleeve during my runs for the past few weeks. It did help my knee but I was still having that joint pain.

You can read in my blog post for week 8 that I decided to cut 18.1 miles down to 12.9. I even had to walk the last third of a mile.

That Tuesday night I ran a conservative out and back 4 miler with very few hills at an 11:10 pace. Really slow for me, but I needed to get in those miles.

We had some weather on Thursday which actually left snow and ice on the ground. I decided not to risk slipping on the ice and didn’t run Thursday night.

Marathon Training Week 9

For Sunday Long Run Number 9, we dropped down to 16 miles. In a marathon training program every two or three weeks you drop back on the miles to give your legs a bit of a break.

The week before I only ran 12.9 miles, so even 16 miles was a bump up for me. It’s like falling behind on a hike. When the group takes a break you’re still hiking up the trail. And when you finally reach them, they are ready to head out.

On Saturday I bought a Shock Doctor knee brace, Level 3. This sleeve straps to your calf and thigh and has hinges at the knee. Pretty heavy duty stuff and not something I ever dreamed I’d be wearing. Am I getting old?

Shock Doctor Knee Brace, Level 3

It was painful from the first steps and early on I knew 16 miles was not in the cards for me that day. You can read the details in my week 9 post.

That Tuesday night I ran 4.3 miles with the club at a 10:30 pace. Not too bad and the knee brace seemed to make a difference. It was the last day of February and I wanted to hit 60 miles for the month. I ran 60.39 miles in February.

About 31 fewer miles than January and not the 100 miles I was shooting for. But sometimes you need to make adjustments if you want to keep on the road to The Boston Marathon.

23 and Me February 2023, 2023 Boston Marathon Training

Run well my Friends


Road to Boston SLR 9

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost two-thirds through our training for the 2023 Boston Marathon!

The Road to Boston continues with week 9 of our Sunday Long Run Program, SLR.

We are starting to get into some serious mileage as we approach the two-thirds point of our fifteen week program. This week we ran 16 miles which is the shortest distance we will run until we start to taper during week 14.

Anyone who isn’t ready to run a full marathon is beginning to feel it on these progressively longer runs. And I count myself amongst those feeling it each week. Last week I managed 12.6 miles running and a bit of walking to get to 12.9 miles out of a run that was supposed to be 18.1 miles.

Starting the Road to Boston Week 9

Over the past week I only ran four miles on Tuesday night and that was a bit of a challenge. On Wednesday night, my PT suggested a knee brace and did a search to show me a few examples.

Shock Doctor Knee Brace, Level 3

Saturday I went to the local Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought a Shock Doctor Level 3 knee brace. Level 1 is basically a compression sleeve but level three has Velcro straps and hinges. I’ve seen people wearing things like this before, and it looked pretty serious.

I wore it around the house Saturday to get a feel for it and make sure I knew how to wear it. On Sunday morning I strapped it on and headed for Melrose.

We had a small crew on this frigid February morning. The snow that fell Saturday was still on the ground Sunday with the temperature holding around 20 degrees. This was our coldest or second coldest day for the Sunday Long Run.

Road to Boston SLR 9, Melrose Running Club, Sunday Long Run Program 2023

I started out slowly as usual, to see how the brace would feel on my knee in real world use. It didn’t feel too bulky or restraining like I thought it would. So far so good.

As we ran down Main Street I chatted with a few people but ended up running most of the distance by myself. I used to run at the end of the fast group. Now I’m running a bit ahead of the slower group.

By the time we reached our first water stop at about 3.7 miles, I knew my knee was not ready for 16 miles. I wasn’t sure how many miles I could go. But I took a Honey Stinger, some Gatorade and was on my way.

While I’m familiar with this route, we ran it three weeks ago, I also know there are lots of turns and that I always miss one when I’m on my own.

So, my goal was to keep someone in my sight as much as possible.

There’s Pain in Them Thar Hills

Running hills isn’t usually painful. It can be tough and it can be challenging, but it’s usually not painful.

When you are training with an injury, the first step of a run can be painful. Add some major incline and now you are talking pain.

After our water stop we ran down hill for about a half mile. As I’ve mentioned before, the pounding from running down hill can be more challenging than running up hill. And at the bottom of our hill was another long uphill.

I was happy to have someone in front of me so I didn’t miss any turns. He kept getting father away, but I did my best to keep him in sight.

To cut a bit off of my run I skipped a side road we always take and continued up Highland Ave in Winchester. I’m not sure that I saved my legs any as Highland is one long hill.

The map that we had for this week had two short cuts that we could use if we needed to. I printed the map, but it was wrapped up with a bunch of other stuff in a zipped up pocket. So like a real runner, I just kept on running to the next water stop.

If you look closely at the map below, you can see the dotted lines where the short cuts are.

Road to Boston SLR 9, Boston Marathon 2023

The water stop was at the bottom of the hill where Highland runs into Rt. 38 in Winchester. I had found the pain in the hills of the Winchester Highlands. And I still had miles to run before I could stop.

I had another Honey Stinger and more Gatorade. The guy I was following headed out a bit before I was ready, but I managed to keep him in sight. And then someone else came up and passed me.

Finishing the Road to Boston Week 9

As we ran through Winchester Center my knee was a constant level 5 of pain. I knew that it hurt but I was in that frame of mind where I kept pushing it out of my consciousness.

How do you ignore pain? This ability may seem magic. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?

During a long race, you have to put the pain out of your mind. It’s the only way to run through it and keep going. Even the most elite marathon runners will tell you that they feel pain when they are running a marathon race.

Races are different than training runs and the level of pain you can tolerate is different. I don’t remember who but one runner said, “it’s a matter of how much you want it”. During a race we all want “it”, what ever that means at that moment in time.

Running miles 8 and 9 through Winchester Center and climbing the hill out was challenging. It was around this point when I realized I had entered that zone. It’s not that the pain isn’t there it’s just that it’s 2nd or 3rd on the list of things the old brain is working on.

Number 1 was keeping the guy in front of my in sight. I knew we were headed back to the first water stop. But even the guy in front of me stopped at two intersections to get his bearings. My “it” was not getting lost.

At the water stop I finally looked at the map and decided to use the second short cut on the map. Instead of running 16 miles I ran 13.1 miles. I basically cut 5K off of this long run.

As I ran down West Wyoming towards Main Street in Melrose two other guys on this long run passed me. They were running at a pretty good clip and they looked strong. A quick word of encouragement kept me running even as the road turned up.

You might just as well run a Half Marathon

When I got to my car, Lee Romprey was there changing up after his run. I told him I ran 12.89 and he said I’d be crazy not to jog around the parking lot to get in a half marathon distance.

Part of me just wanted to go home. But when he said, “you’ll feel so accomplished running a half”, I knew he was right.

So like an old shot up bomber trailing smoke from both engines, I jogged an additional .21 miles with a great deal of effort. And I stuck the landing!

While I was truing up my half marathon distance Matt Kerton rolled in. He had run the full 16 miles and seemed to be in pretty good shape. He did have a few icicles in his beard and kind of looked like Jack Frost!

I hung out with the guys for a bit and celebrated my “half marathon.” Lee was right. It felt pretty good to go the distance and not settle on a random number because I was beat.

This really was a mind over reality run. My knee was at level 5 most of the run and spiked up to 7 or so a few times. But when you are miles from your car or anyone else’s car, what are you going to do? Call Uber?

Run well my Friends


Road to Boston SLR 8

Long runs don’t always go as expected, but sometimes you get what you need.

After running a water stop for SLR 7, I jumped back into running the Road to Boston SLR 8.

The Road to Boston goes through Injuryville

Many runners get some sort of an injury while training for a marathon.

Running a marathon is a big under-taking and if you don’t prepare properly there is usually hell to pay on Marathon day. Once committed to running 26.2 miles there isn’t much that will stop most runners. Even pain.

I can’t say that I’ve ever run a marathon that didn’t involve pain at some point. Even the elite runners will tell you that.

The idea behind training and putting in those grueling training miles is to push the pain point out as many miles as you can into the race.

Over the years I’ve solved most of the things that can go wrong during the actual marathon, but I have not found a fool-proof way to avoid injuries.

Running Road to Boston SLR 8

The pain in my knee changed recently, so I cut back all running last week and only ran the Super Sunday 5K with the running club. My knee felt fine the entire race.

But I know that long distances and down-hills will beat the shit out of my left knee. And this week’s run was both hilly and 18.1 miles! 

Since this is my twentieth rodeo, I know what to do when the bull throws me into the dirt.

So I went into today’s run with caution and low expectations.

I didn’t know if I’d make it out of the parking lot, to the first water stop or by some miracle, the entire route.

Starting the Road to Boston SLR 8

Sunday Long Run 8 with the Melrose Running Club. Road to Boston SLR 8

Kneeling for this photo was a little painful for all of us. Not too many youngsters in this group.

As we ran out of the parking lot I took it really slow, around a 12 minute pace.

Even after stretching, my knee was tight. But I was pretty sure that it would loosen up after a bit of running. And that’s what happened.

I didn’t feel like sprinting, but I was pretty sure I would make it to our first water stop.

The segment to Breakheart Reservation I ran mostly with Bobby Taylor and Joe Winslow. They were looking to run 10+ minute miles which was fine with me. But, we had to intentionally do that. We’d get talking, I’d check my watch and we would be running 9:20.

2023 SLR 8 Course Map, 2023 Boston Marathon training

Just before mile three we reached the road into Breakheart. It seemed to come up quickly and I was grateful for that.

After the water stop most people went left to get the hills over with. A bunch of us went right to run them old school.

As we went around the loop we got to see everyone else coming from the other direction.

I was able to maintain my speed pretty well going up the hills. But going down had to be controlled.

People think running down hill is easy, or easier. But it involves a lot of pounding and that usually gets your quads or knees.

On a steep decline you can kind of get out of control, go to fast and really slam your legs. It’s not good.

I found my self extending my right leg and holding my left leg back so as to minimize the impact on my left knee. It’s generally not a good idea to alter your stride like that, but I was only doing it on the downhills.

Finishing the Road to Boston SLR 8

We finished the loop in the parking lot back at Water Stop 1.

I knew that the longer I staid the tighter my knee would get. So I took a cup of Gatorade and cut the conversation short.

Joe Winslow and I made our way down the park road and turned right onto the Fellsway. He was doing okay and was nice enough to hang back and keep me company.

At the next corner, at mile seven, we took a right onto Main Street in Saugus.

This is a long, mostly uphill, slog to Wakefield High and our next water stop.

Joe and I have daughters in their twenties, so we always have plenty to talk about. It was fun.

In the parking lot of Wakefield High I decided to cut the run short. We were just short of mile nine and I knew that 18 miles was not in the cards.

Joe was going to run long so I headed out to my short cut. Dan Slattery was also going to cut it short and headed out a minute or so after I did.

All the way up Farm Road in Wakefield I expected Dan to catch up to me, but he didn’t catch me until Water Stop 4 at Nick’s Pizza.

My knee was aching at level 2-3 now and I knew that hanging around was not going to help.

Just like the previous water stop, the first 10-20 steps were painful. The promise of less pain was the only way to keep going, and we were headed for another freaking hill!

Dan and I ran in the last three miles or so pretty much together. When he picked up the pace at times, I just let him go. As he said, it was really about getting in the time on my feet.

As we got into down town Melrose he went ahead and at 12.6 miles I decided to walk. Even that hurt!

We chatted a bit in the parking lot and headed our separate ways. A run well done.

Run well my Friends,


Road to Boston SLR 6

Some runs are just tougher than others.
Even the best plans can get shredded.

The Road to Boston SLR 6 was a bumpy one!

I went into week 5 with expectations and a plan to try a few new things. Overall, everything worked out great and I was happy with my run.

Running SLR 6

The goal for Sunday Long Run 6 was 16.5 miles, which is quite a jump up from 12.6 miles the previous week.

My plan was to run 10 minute miles for as long as I could and look to average out at 10:10 or so per mile.

Unfortunately, my knee bothered me all week. I probably pushed it too hard on SLR 5. Then on Tuesday night a ran a pretty aggressive 10K.

My PT worked on my knee Wednesday night and I wore a compression sleeve on my knee for several hours each night and took Ibuprofen each day.

By run time on Sunday morning my left knee still had not settled down.

I did yoga on Saturday and Sunday morning before the run and did more stretching in the parking lot.

I started the run right after the group photo so I could run slow and not be at the end of the group. For the first mile or so I ran basically by my self and managed a 10:012 pace, mile 2 was 10:25 due to a small hill.

Then I started running with my old running buddy Jeff Rushton.

We used to run together all the time and took turns pushing each other.

This week Jeff pulled me along at a pace I didn’t really want to run, but it was fun talking with Jeff like we used to always do. Miles 3 and 4 were 9:46.

During mile 5 we started to get into the hills in Winchester. Running up them was tough, but the downhills hammered my left knee.

By the time we got to our second water stop just before mile 7, I told Jeff and the other guys we caught up to, to just run ahead.

As we looped back through Winchester and through the center of town, I could see that they were getting further away at each turn.

My goal was to keep them in sight as this route has a lot of turns that often mess me up.

Running in SLR 6 on my own

I had been loosing these guys from mile 7 to 10 and was essentially running on my own.

I could see them headed out of the next water stop before I even got there.

Paul Locke asked me how I was doing and I told him about my knee acting up and expressed my doubts.

I knew if I hung out too long my muscles would tighten up and my knee wouldn’t be my only problem.

Starting back up after that stop was hard. My knee was tight and ached at probably level 5. My PT would had told me to stop, but I still had over six miles to run.

By the time I turned onto Park street I couldn’t see anyone in the Peloton. I knew I was running to the next big intersection, but wasn’t 100% on what to do when I got there.

This intersection is where Park Street turns into North Border Road and there are ramps to I-93 north and south. Cars can come at you from several directions here.

I was pretty sure that I was following Park as it turned into North Border Road, but just to be sure I stopped my watch and took out my phone to check the email.

I re-started my watch and hobbled down the road.

At the intersection by Spot Pond I took the right and knew the rest of the route.

As I ran up the hill by Spot Pond I could feel my energy draining. Fighting pain can take a toll on you.

I had been nibbling on a Honey Stinger waffle and finished it on this section of road. It gave me enough energy to keep running until I got to the I-93 overpass.

I told my self to keep running until I got out from under the bridge and then started walking.

At this point of the course, there isn’t a cut off or short cut. I was on the far side of the pond and there was only one way to get home.

I decided to start running again and kept it up until I got to Elm Street and had to walk most of that street.

I knew that the last water stop was a short distance away at Flynn Rink. While I didn’t really want to stop running, my body was telling me that I needed to.

This wasn’t a marathon and no one was keeping track of my pace or if I even finished.

When I got to Nicole Jacob in the parking lot of the ice rink, I told her I was done.

Eventually Bobby Taylor drove up and I got a ride back to my car from him. I felt bad getting into his nice new truck reeking like a runner.

It felt good to take a shower and know I was done for the day. My only goal for the rest of the day was to re-hydrate and tend to that knee!

Run well my Friends!


23 and Me January

I’m going to try and write a monthly re-cap each month in 2023. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m hoping this helps me get back into the habit of writing more often than I have over the past two years.

I’m going to try something new for 2023 and write a monthly re-cap, 23 and Me. Lot’s of bloggers do it, some do a weekly re-cap. But I don’t think I’m that interesting!

I feel that between COVID-19 and loosing both of my parents over the past five years, I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump. A bit of a funk overall in life I’d say.

You have to come to terms with a lot when your parents are gone and when you reach mid life. There’s no getting around it. You just have to work your way through it.

This October, it will be three years since my mother died. And I’ll be 59 in September. So I’ve had plenty of time to think about life and mortality. Not sure I’ve come to terms with all of that, but I feel like I’m in a different place now. In many ways, a better place.

2023 is getting off to a good start and I feel a new optimism.

I got a bib for the 2023 Boston Marathon and my training has been going well.

If you follow this blog you’ve probably noticed my weekly Sunday Long Run or SLR posts each week.

We just finished week five with a 12.5 mile run with a lot of hills. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go because I went into the run with a plan and some expectations.

I’m still getting physical therapy, so ambition and goals can be dangerous.

Fortunately, this week’s run was awesome!

In addition to perfect running weather, my body felt up to the challenge.

I ran all of the hills with intention. On the long slow hills I slowed down a bit and shortened my stride. On the steep hills I increased my cadence, shortened my stride and pushed as hard as I could.

Running hills this way is a lot of work, but nothing hurt and I did pretty well.

I also ran some strides the last mile or so of the run, when my legs were most fatigued.

I wasn’t sure how they were going to go, but the went great! I didn’t run very long strides, but I did them. Since they are new to me, I didn’t really want to push it too much and risk a new injury.

Everything I tried on this run worked and I felt in control for the entire run. I felt a boost of confidence that made me feel good all week long.

23 and Me for January

I was pretty confident that I would get a Boston Marathon bib through my running club. We award bibs based on a point system where you get points for volunteering.

I started 2022 knowing I may be healthy enough to apply for a bib, so I volunteered as much as I could. More than I ever have.

So, knowing I could get a bib if I worked at volunteering and knowing that I could run if I followed my doctor’s advice and staid smart, I started ramping up my training in August.

23 and Me Year to Date Running

Through the spring and most of the summer, I had to cut way back on running. I did mostly 2-3 miles runs in the neighborhood. And sometimes it was painful.

I did manage to run a few 5K or 10K races through July. I even walked the entire BAA 10K on June 26th. I’ve never missed this race but I knew that I couldn’t run it.

In August I started my plan. I only ran 31.26 miles, but that was more running miles than any previous month in 2022.

I started running with the club each week, but only 3-4 miles, and often in some pain. I ran two 5Ks and had a good time doing it.

In September I ran 50.62 miles and ran one each of a 5K, 10K and 8 miler. I didn’t put up any crazy times, but it felt good to be out there doing it again.

In October I ran 57 miles and started running four or more miles on Tuesday nights with the club. I ran one 5K and my left knee bothered me most of the way.

In November I ran 57 miles again and in December I almost hit 63 miles. My goal at Tuesday club runs was to run the 10K route and most weeks I did.

On December 18th I ran the Somerville Jingle bell run at an 8:12 pace. Nothing really hurt and I had a good time doing it. At this point I felt like I was on my way back.

January 2023 Running

On January 1st I ran the Hang Over Classic 10K at an 8:59 pace. Not my best 10K but I was able to run the race that I wanted to.

My cardio was not where I wanted it to be, but my legs could run hard enough to max out the cardio that I had.

On January 8th I ran our 2nd Sunday Long Run of 12.53 miles at a 10:33 pace. It was a lot of work and painful at times. But the pace was about where I wanted to be.

The next week I took it easy and only ran 4.25 on Tuesday night and some very short runs around the neighborhood.

On January 14th the Saturday Long Run stepped back to 10.81 and I ran a 10.02 pace. With the shorter distance, this was about the pace I wanted to run.

The next week we ran 14.6 miles and I managed a pace of 10.11 on another hilly route. I felt pretty good on that run and the pace was on target.

The last Sunday Long Run of January was 12.54 on another hilly route, but I knew this was the week that I wanted to start pushing a little harder.

I wrote about this run at the top of this post, so I wont repeat myself here.

Over the five long runs this month, I have noticed improvements in my pace and ability to run hills.

I’ve never integrated a cross training or strength training plan into my marathon training plan.

With the results that I have seen so far, I think this is working for me.

Tomorrow we run 16 miles in some pretty cold weather. I’ll let you know how the firs long run of February goes, our Sunday Long Run Six.

Run well my Friends,