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Even for a marathon veteran, every year a new set of circumstances

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  March 5, 2013 07:00 AM

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100chrisgarges.jpg Chris Garges is one of six Boston Marathon entrants testing Polar personal training gear and blogging about it for Boston.com
Iím 38 years old and from Bethlehem, Penn., and Iím excited to be a part of the Boston.com Marathon Blog in 2013, to share my experience as well as to be a part of the other marathon bloggers' training and race day experiences!

The 2013 Boston Marathon will be my ninth time toeing the start line in Hopkinton and my 26th marathon dating back to 2002 when my wife and I ran our first marathon, together, to celebrate our second anniversary.

The marathon weekend including travel, race expo, sightseeing, the spectators, and, oh yeah, the marathon itself, has come to be an annual tradition for myself, my family and my friends. In any given year there may be 15-25 friends and family members running, including my wife who has run two Boston Marathons.

Each year brings a new set of circumstances, in life, in training, and during the race itself. Injury, weather, illness and family obligations are just a few of the variables that you have to navigate on your way to that glorious finish line on Boylston Street each year.

After coming off a back injury last Fall, I started my training buildup to Patriots Day on January 1, 2013, which gave me 14 weeks of training.

My No. 1 goal for 2013 is to get to the finish line healthy, my second goal is to get back under the 2:50 mark. I am self-coached and I do most of my training in the cold, pre-dawn winter mornings with just my head lamp and GPS watch. Not very glorious, and often the biggest challenge of the day is to beat the snooze button and get out of bed!

Having an engineering background, I love the planning and the data that guide you through the marathon training process. Meeting target paces in workouts, comparing training from year to year, sharing data with friends and the dream of seeing a personal best time on the finish clock (my best was 2:47:01 in 2010) are my motivators.

In the days of GPS watches, social training websites such as STRAVA and training applications on cellular phones even running alone doesnít have to mean that youíre training solo.

There are six weeks of training left before Marathon Monday in Boston, and thus far I am pleased with my training. To date Iíve executed my plan to complete Goal 1 (staying healthy) very well. That plan includes: limiting the number of days per week I run to four, five maximum on rare occasions; not running more than two consecutive days in a row; spending my off days spinning on a bicycle; core strength training and running less total mileage, albeit at a faster pace.

Will success in Goal 1 lead to success in Goal 2? Hereís hoping!


Here's a shot of the group I traveled with to Boston via tour bus for the 2012 Boston Marathon.

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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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