At Jack and Jill last year, I ran a 3:39:36. 4:36 off of official qualifying time. So close. But I honestly didn't have an ounce of disappointment and I walked (okay, limped) away from that trail knowing that I, Sprenkel (the girl who had to be bribed into running 11 years ago) could qualify for the Boston Marathon.
For the first time on the other side of the marathon finish line, I knew immediately I wanted to do it again. I didn't call my dad, or anyone for that matter, and make them promise to not ever let me sign up for another 26.2 again. Instead, I told everyone I would be back next (now this) year and I would get it.
I almost can't believe it's already time again, but life has been a whirlwind since the last race. I came home and almost immediately flew to Atlanta for my Nan Oat's memorial service. August saw a surprise family trip in Colorado, and a farewell to my 20s. In September I crawled back to my running shoes and signed up for some local races. In October I went back to Boston to run a half marathon and trot around town. I raced the Tulsa Run as SuperGirl with a course PR. November and December flew by with the holidays front and center. January kicked off 5k season and I struggled to PR. In February we raced the Sweetheart double and my legs earned me a 10k PR. In March our StudiOne turned two, and I went on the least beachy spring break ever. And now it's April - and the 16 week countdown to Jack and Jill round two is on.
I'm following the same basic skeleton plan as last year but there are a few key differences:
- Mindset: This year I'm not in it to just see if I can qualify. I know that I can if I do exactly what I need to do. And luckily for me, I know what I need to do.
- Runs: I'll still follow my 3 runs per week plan - track, tempo and long. But this year because of my coaching, I'll have some bonus non-training miles, and since I'm really in this training to win it, I won't skip runs like I tended to do here and there last year. 48 key training runs to hit - and I'm aiming for 90%.
- Travel - Last year during training season I went to Austin, Texas for a concert, on a seven-day Alaskan cruise, and to Chicago for a wedding. This year, I only have travel planned for races during the next 16 weeks.
- I'm all in - Massages. Supplements. Nutrition. Yoga. Circuits. Some of these I know will help me, and some I'm just indulging in. But, if there's a chance it will help me get that 3:30, I will take it.
And I truly mean that. I want nothing more in 2018 than to cross that finish line on July 28 in under 3:30. More than I want to be engaged to Chap or meet Sam Hunt or for donuts to count as a vegetable. All of those can happen in 2019 and beyond.
So, with 16 weeks, 110 days, 48 training runs, 400ish miles and tons of time for ups and downs, mimosas and spinach smoothies, epsom salt baths and 80 degree runs, I'm inviting you to follow along. Sit back and watch, stand up and cheer. Check in every day, or come and go as you please. Let's do this thing!