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Twenty one and done

Posted by Rich Horgan  March 27, 2011 09:04 AM

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With a little over three weeks to go until Boston, everyone is making the final push to April 18th.

Many people ran half marathons last weekend before their last long training run. I went to NYC and had a great time running their half, which started in Central Park, ran through Times Square, and ended at the southern tip of Manhattan. After completing the hilly course feeling pretty pleased with myself, I remembered that in less than a month I would have to double that distance.

Yesterday I joined approximately 1,500 runners on a 21-mile run on the marathon course from Hopkinton to Boston College. Although I've completed the race 17 times, I still like to get out on the course and see the familiar landmarks that I'll be passing in another month.

Hopkinton is a hive of activity on Saturday morning. Nervous first-time marathoners along with "cagey veterans" like myself gather at the starting line around 8am anxious to give themselves one last test before the big day.
Yesterday may have seemed cold to many people, but 35 and sunny is a perfect day for many runners (especially those of us that are close to two hundred pounds).

I was thankful for the great volunteer support out on the course. There were dozens of water stops manned by folks from the various charity groups. Running 21 miles on a brisk day is one thing. Standing in one spot for four hours pouring Gatorade is another.
Most fellow runners seemed to be having good runs yesterday, and I felt much stronger than usual as I approached the Newton hills.

After stopping for another pretzel (need to replace the salt) and one last drink just shy of mile 18, I began thinking about the cheesburger that I would eating in about an hour. Then without warning I felt a sharp pain in my left kneecap. Two of my fellow Dana Farber runners have been dealing with Patella tendonitis for the last few months and have been unable to put in the miles that they wanted. The thought that I might have the same problem never crossed my mind. I massaged my knee a bit and began to walk up the hills. After a few minutes I started a slow shuffle and to my surpise was able to complete my run.

One of the main reasons why runners do their last long run three weeks out is to give their bodies time to recover from various aches and pains before the big day.
With my long runs in the rear view mirror I can work on getting my knee back in shape.
In addition to icing my knee this week my focus will be on my upcoming road race(Shifter's 5k for Dana Farber). This Saturday April 2nd I will be having my annual road race to race money for innovative cancer research. You can register at www.shifters5k.com

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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