|Jacqueline Palfy Klemond is one of six Boston Marathon entrants testing Polar personal training gear and blogging about it for Boston.com|
There was no real way to gently introduce all this new gear into my wardrobe. Knowing that, I ordered my husband Philip a shirt, too, and one for our son, Jack, 4. I figured Genevieve, 2, can wear it when he outgrows it. Though if there is a pink Boston Marathon shirt at the expo, you can guarantee sheíll get it.
Still, I wonít wear any of it until Iíve officially crossed the finish line. I know the rules of the racing community. I couldnít quite explain them to Jack, though, and he ran around all day this weekend in his oversized Boston shirt. I told him after that day, he couldnít wear it again until we were at Aunt Kimís house in Williamstown, where weíre spending a few days before the race.
Iím not the only family member getting excited to head to New England.
There are just over two weeks to go until race day. Iíve kept up my cross-training, with a few technical glitches here and there. My spinning bike wonít pick up my Polar heart-rate monitor, which is troubling. The bikes pick up othersí Polar monitors, but not mine. Maybe Iím heartless. Itís the only answer.
And Iíve thrown the watch into my gym bag, but the buttons are so sensitive, it turned it on and was dead by the time I needed it. That happened twice. Beyond that, it seems to click off the miles accurately, and has measured known courses right. But it just isnít that user-friendly to me. More than once Iíve turned off a run instead of pausing it, put in random splits by accident, and gotten it stuck on a screen telling me what my heart-rate should be. Iím confident most of these are user errors, but it also tells me itís just not that intuitive. In good news, I will say the watch band is super comfortable and can be adjusted to fit my tiny wrists and the monitor strap doesnít slide around.
And it was totally fun to compare heart rates to a friend the other day on our lunch run.
Iíve been running regularly again Ė good plan, considering thereís a marathon coming up. I continue to be pain-free, to swim, bike and lift regularly, and did a 20-miler on Saturday morning. It was the first of two I hope to complete before race day.
Iím happy to say it was easy. I never had that ďkill me nowĒ moment on the run, and I credit that as much to the quality of my cross-training as to the quality of my running partners.
And, of course, our route. We decided to head out of town for the run, and pick up some gravel roads north of the city. Out here in South Dakota, getting out of town is pretty easy Ė and rural means really rural. I grew up in Ohio and Rhode Island, and when I moved to South Dakota just over 12 years ago, I couldnít believe how many stretches there are with absolutely nothing Ė no power lines, no other roads, nothing but blowing grass and blue, blue sky. Itís breathtaking, and Iíve come to love that desolation and open space.
So it always feels refreshing to spend a few hours on a weekend enjoying the countryside. And a gravel road is easy on the legs. My friend Owen and I met at 5:30 a.m., in the pitch black, at a parking lot on the edge of town. We picked up the paved bike trail that goes more than 20 miles around the city, and took a spur north to the edge of town. Then we picked up a gravel road and ran another mile, where two other friends had parked to meet up with us. With them, we did a lollipop course, for about 16 miles together.
It was so dark on the way out, all we could see was the small patch each of our headlamps illuminated. Erica and I wear reflective vests, which glowed, and my friend Chris had a reflective jacket. Owenís CamelBak lit up in the glow of the headlamps, too. And the bits of reflective strips on tights and shoes and gloves.
For several miles, it was just that patch of light, those random bits of white glowing and the sound of gravel crunching. We passed 100-year-old farmsteads, cows, horses wearing blankets, a donkey, a skunk, a couch, more than one beer can, some fake deer and one car.
At the top of the lollipop, we crossed a bridge Ė which on the aerial map looked fine. But up close, it had a locked gate on either side. It required climbing two fences in the middle of the run. But on the good side, the old bridge was the perfect spot to stop, grab some water, eat a gel, look at the ice breaking on the river and contemplate heading back toward town.
The sun came up and we finished our 20 miles. I ran the first two and the last two with Owen Ė perfect, since he was with me when I qualified in Twin Cities. In fact, I credit Owen, a long-time runner and a local legend, with helping me accomplish my goal. We ran side by side, step by step in Twin Cities for about the first 20 miles. I fell back a bit, and he picked up, but if it hadnít been for him, I never would have run those first 20 miles so quickly or had the confidence to try.
ďItís going really well, Jacqueline,Ē he said to me on the course that day, when I began to falter.
Iím going to try to remember that in Boston Ė no matter what, itís going to go well. Because the goal is to have fun. And getting that 20-miler in last week Ė and hopefully one more this week before a quick taper Ė showed me that Iím not in as bad a shape as I thought. And if it starts to go bad, I hope to remember the sunrise in rural South Dakota, the crunch of gravel beneath my feet, and to have the sense to slow down, look around, and revel in how lucky, how truly lucky, I am to be there.
Plus I really, really want to wear that blue and yellow half-zip pullover.
- 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