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Half-marathon result bodes well for Boston

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  March 30, 2012 08:40 AM

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100dan_clayton.jpg Dan Clayton is one of five Boston Marathon entrants testing the Polar RCX5 personal training computer and blogging about it for Boston.com
My running journey starts at the early age of seven, where for one reason or another, the idea that I was a distance runner nestled into my head. I am standing at the 20-mile mark of the Boston Marathon watching the runners fly by and holding a Dixie cup of water as far out over the ropes as I can stretch.

My father would quickly emerge from the sea of runners, grab the water from my hand and continue barreling down Commonwealth Avenue. That summer I would run what would be the first of many Tuesday night 5kís in my hometown of Northampton, Mass. I would return home from that race beaming in victory with a jug of apple cider awarded to the first (albeit the only) finisher under the age of 10.

The rest, I suppose, from the laps I ran at recess in third grade training for nothing in particular, to the spikes I laced up for the gym class mile in sixth grade, is history.

Flash forward 16 years later and itís a cool Friday morning in March, my first crack at the Boston Marathon is in less than 20 days. Fridays usually mean hitting Central Park by 5:45 a.m. in order to avoid delivering the line ďsorry, I have to go runningĒ when invited to the inevitable post-work happy hour.

As a result, on these mornings I typically find myself sleep deprived, standing outside my building waiting for the brick on my wrist (Garmin Forerunner 310 XT) to make a connection with the whizzing pieces of space junk floating somewhere above Manhattan. They usually do, and Iím off to try and avoid getting flattened by over-caffeinated New York City cab drivers focusing a little too much on the sun rising over the East River.

This morning instead of my Garmin, Iím sporting a sleeker, sexier Polar RCX5 courtesy of Boston.com and Polar. The package comes complete with a stride sensor, heart rate monitor and GPS. At first, I feel a little overloaded with technology, a feeling increased by the fact that I recently reintroduced my iPod shuffle to the mix. Last weekend I liberated it from a dusty corner of my desk drawer where it had remained unused since middle school.

Rather, I am assuming it had been there since middle school based on the extremely high play rate of the Goo Goo Dolls. (Consequently, I think some feelings for my 8th grade girlfriend may have resurfaced 17 miles or so into my long run, but thatís really neither here nor there.)

Nonetheless, after a mile or so I could barely notice I had any of it on. Plus, the stats the RCX5 kicks out are really pretty amazing. This was last nightís workout.

clayton_running.jpgThe turning point in my training came a week and a half ago at the NYC Half Marathon. Ignoring for a second that I got outkicked by Stephanie Pezzulo at the line, the race truly couldnít have gone any better. I ran a personal best of 1:13:03, which bodes well for my goal of 2:37:00 at Boston.

After a brief recovery period, I was back at it to try and squeeze in one final week of quality training. This week will total about 95 miles, after which I will happily coast into a two week taper.

The race-day game plan will remain the same as when I started this training cycle; head east from Hopkinton at 5:55 pace and try not to die.

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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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