Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, I wonder where the flowers is?
That was my Dad’s variation on a rhyme known as “Spring in the Bronx.” April in Minnesota usually brings rain and strong winds. This year, we’ve had the wind, but very little rain. I’m OK with that. Our grass hasn’t ris, but it’s starting to turn green. We’ve been in that sweet spot, where I no longer have to shovel snow off the driveway, but I also haven’t needed to mow the lawn yet.
Below average snowfall meant an early thaw, so I’ve had good road conditions for running. Below average rainfall has meant more days that I can get out and enjoy running. There have been weeks that I didn’t do any speed work or long hills on the treadmill, because I didn’t want to miss out on the beautiful weather.
Besides the change of seasons, April has also marked a change in my race schedule. For the first three months of 2015, I was consistently doing one race each weekend. Now I’m entering a new phase in my race schedule. In the coming months, I’ll have some longer races, some rugged trails, and weeks with races on three or more consecutive days. Accordingly, I’ll also need more time for recovery, so I’ll have some weekends without races.
April began with a weekend off. I didn’t travel on Easter weekend. That not only gave my body a much needed break from racing, but also gave me a chance to get into a more consistent training schedule.
My first race of the month was the Vienna City Marathon on April 12. My goal was to break 3:30 -- something I’ve done every time I’ve run a marathon in Europe. I didn’t sleep well, totaling just 15 hours sleep in the last four nights before the race. Fortunately, Vienna has a fast course. After starting fast and fading late, I finished in 3:29:33.
Eight days later, I ran my fifth Boston Marathon. I had serious doubts about breaking 3:30 when I learned we would have strong headwinds the whole way. We also had a cold rain. I used the early downhill miles to get off to a fast start and then held on to finish in 3:27:39.
The following weekend was Deb’s birthday, and I stayed home again. My only restaurant meal that weekend was lunch at Cossetta’s, an Italian restaurant in St. Paul that’s always been one of our favorites.
My last two races of the month were the first two races of the Independence Series, a series of five marathons in five different states on five consecutive days that started on April 29. My goal for the series is to keep all my times under four hours. Day one was supposed to easy, since I had fresh legs. I got carried away when I saw the chance to win, and I ran it in 3:48:30. Day two, I had only minimal soreness and finished in 3:52:28, despite falling twice. So far, so good. Only time will tell how the next three races will go, but they won't get easier.
It was definitely a good month from a standpoint of race performance. I hit my time goals in all four races, and I also won one of them. It was also a good month for training. The two weekends off gave me more quality training days. The nice weather gave me opportunities to train on real hills instead of on the treadmill. My only treadmill workouts were tempo runs. I’ve been neglecting speed work for too long, but that’s starting to change.
Despite having fewer races, I increased my total mileage. I ran 287.5 miles in April, compared to 278.8 miles in March. That’s the most miles I’ve ever run in April, and it gives me a streak of 12 consecutive months with at least 200 miles.
One of my goals for 2015 is to run 3,000 total miles. After four months, I’ve run 1,025 miles, putting me right on schedule.
May will get off to a quick start. There are still three more races in the Independence Series, so I’ll start the month with marathons on the first three days.