30-Mile Week

The 2021 NYC Marathon is 17 weeks, plus one day away.

This week, two weeks before my real “training” begins (aren’t we, as runners, always in training?), I took a GIANT leap forward.

Enjoying my first week of vacation since before the pandemic hit, and for the first time in a very long time, not spending hours and hours on plans, schedules, procedures, ideas, solutions, and such for my school, I just relaxed, took some time, hung out, enjoyed spending time at the NJ Shore with my wife Laurie (and our adult kids, for part of the time) and ran. I ran a lot. I always run a lot, but especially at the beach.

The whole family was all here for the Fourth of July weekend. That was awesome and special. As my children are now in their 20’s, getting the time for us all to be together is very special. I cherish those times.

To begin the week, on Sunday, July 4, Ryan, Tiffany (his wife), and I did a 10-miler. It’s one of my favorite beach routes. We begin in Chadwick Beach, on the island, run to the Lavalette Boardwalk, and then down to the Seaside Boardwalk before returning home. That 10-mile run was the longest I have done outside in years. (Coming back from Achilles surgery and not having run a marathon since 2018, there will be a lot of “for the first time in years”… over the next few months.)

I followed that up with three miles on Monday and then (surprising even myself) six miles on Tuesday. I was doing great!

I love spending time at the beach at my in-law’s beach house, but there’s one thing I don’t love.

Our bed makes my back hurt.

Sometimes tremendously.

And on Wednesday, after I woke, I found myself in great pain. I took a long walk with Laurie (I exercise in some capacity every single day, often twice a day, but the best I could do on that day was walk three and a half miles). I had wanted to lift my dumbbells, but my back screamed at me when I picked up the 25 pounders so that was a non-starter. Weights were out.

On Thursday I visited a great chiropractor down here (Dr. Enright in Lavalette) who provided some necessary relief through a great adjustment. I knew, though, that the pain would linger for a few days. (I have lived this many times before.) Still, I knew, or hoped, that I was on the right track. Later that day, I ran an easy three miles.

On Friday, I pushed it to four miles. I still had back pain, but I pushed through.

I woke up today at 26 miles for the week. I knew what I had to do.

My back felt a little better, still not 100%, but a TON better, I went out for a four-miler. I have been running all my runs, even the 10-miler with Ryan and Tiff, in under 10-minute miles. That’s not very fast, but it’s where my almost 53-year-old body is right now. Today I pushed it a little more.

I ran Mile 1 in 9:52.

Mile 2 came in at 9:32.

Negative splits are great things. I pushed a little harder.

Mile 3 was run at 9:06.

Now we were talking, but I wanted to dig even deeper.

I polished off the fourth mile, and my thirtieth mile of the week at 8:37.

Yeah. On fire.

I’m not fast like I used to be.

My back is still very sore. (I’m not playing baseball tomorrow as I was asked to preach at our home church. That’s a good thing. I don’t think I’m at all ready to pitch a baseball for multiple innings.) But I feel great.

I think runners understand the strange feeling. My back hurts, but I feel great.

17 weeks (and a day) until the race.

One week (and a day) until my 16-week training begins.

But I’m always training.

And always running.

I can’t wait for the big race!


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