Fast Guy Problems: Boston Bound in 2016

Brian Bernier on one of the slick, muddy downhills at the 2014 ORRC Hagg Mud 25k. Credit: Paul Nelson Photography

Brian Bernier on one of the slick, muddy downhills at the 2014 ORRC Hagg Mud 25k. Credit: Paul Nelson Photography

It’s been an interesting chain of events that has given me the opportunity to toe the line at one of the most storied races in the world. I honestly never thought it was an event that I would ever be able to attend, and here I sit just a few weeks before marathon Monday with my confirmation letter on the counter and a few solid long runs under my belt that have increased my confidence in my ability to make a decent showing in Beantown.

If you read my previous blog about my plans for training, you will remember that I am not following a set plan, but had a general idea of mileposts I wanted to hit and a basic weekly schedule with certain elements to help get me ready.

One of the most surprising (to me) and important elements of my plan was to gain weight. I increased the protein in my dinners, and tried to make sure I was almost never hungry. Some help from Betty Lou’s came into play, in the form of various peanut butter balls I snack on at all times of the day, and dehydrated peanut butter that I add to my oatmeal on practically a daily basis. The last time I hopped on a scale, I was at 146 pounds which is the heaviest I have ever been. I feel great, and strong, which I notice more on the longer runs.

Speaking of longer runs, I was actually a bit nervous about my fitness up until 2 weeks ago. Back in January I pulled my right calf and was forced to take a week off. The ensuing slow ramp up to my usual routine made me wonder if I was going to be able to perform at the level I desired. My first long run made me a little happier, clocking through 17 miles at 6:30 pace without a time goal or checking my watch (two minutes faster than I did on the same route before Eugene). Seven days later I did my long run at 21 miles just a second per mile slower, taking minimal water and gel. I was able to talk to a friend that joined for 5 miles (unfortunately for him I was not running the 7 minute pace I advertised, I apologized profusely when I got home and found out), and felt great at the end. To really drive it home, 2 days later was the Shamrock Run in Portland, and I was entered in the 15K. I was running at about 80% effort to avoid injury and cruised in at 53:28, which was a 50 second personal best.

Track work has been going well, my staple workout is 4×800 followed by 4×400. A couple times I have to bump the 400s to 200s to ensure I don’t overdo it after a restless night. My rest intervals are half of the speed interval. These were an almost weekly occurrence and I run them solidly at 15:40 target pace which is close to my 5K best. I actually just discovered that recently, as I hit the track with the goal of effort, not a set time, even as my average ticks off a few seconds every couple weeks.

I’m not nervous yet, but I am sure that will change as the date gets closer. I’m confident that even if the conditions don’t work out to go after my stretch goal of sub 2:40 I can still break 3 hours and have a great time. As usual, I won’t be wearing my watch, but if I cruise through 20 miles at 2 hours with no danger of bonking, what happens in those following 6 miles is anyone’s guess. I plan on wearing a RunOregon blog singlet if the conditions allow it, to represent our great group and state.

Oh and my start location? Corral 1, wave 2. A heady moment indeed.

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