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February 15, 2010

Napa Valley Marathon (3/7/10) Jeff Reichbach’s third entry on his way to a Boston Marathon Qualifier

Written by Dena Evans

The weather’s improved significantly in the past week or so and my fitness seems to be improving with it. I’ve been able to run my last several workouts from the pace chart dictated by my last race performance, which was before the hamstring injury that derailed my last training cycle. The marathon pace from that chart indicates that I’m on track to be ready for the race in Napa in three weeks. My heart rate has been dropping as well, which is always a confidence booster for me. I still have my longest training run (just 19 miles) to get through next weekend, but otherwise it seems like it’s going to be all about staying healthy through my shorter-than-normal taper to get to the starting line.

While my hip flexor tightness and soreness seems to be improving somewhat with increased focus on massage and stretching, I had a bit of scare yesterday with my right hamstring (not the one injured last time around). It started feeling tight, sore and generally uncomfortable. With that warning signal, I managed to get a same-day massage to help keep serious damage at bay. Toward the end of my 16-miler yesterday I felt a little bit of tightness there, which was worrisome, but it luckily didn’t develop into anything worse. In the next few weeks, it looks like I’ll need to continue to focus on hamstring and gluteus stretching, as well as getting in a couple more massage sessions.

As far as the frequent trips to LA for work, so far they’ve turned out to be flexible enough that I haven’t had to skip any runs. I even had a really pleasant 7-mile run on a woodchip-covered trail in Manhattan Beach before heading to the office one day. I think it was actually the first sign that I’d broken through to a higher level of fitness. This past week, I managed to stay in the bay area because of some critical meetings, for which I had to be here. I haven’t had to try to find a track down there to do interval or tempo workouts on and I hope that doesn’t change. So, at least for now, I’m calling this challenge another one that I’m on the road to overcoming.

As I work through these peak mileage weeks, anticipation and anxiousness about the race begin turning my attention to the small details of preparation for race day itself. Questions begin to swirl in my mind: Which pair of shorts is my favorite? What shoes will I wear for the race; the very lightweight shoes I’ve had success with in three previous races (2 half marathons and a 5k), but am not sure if they’re sufficiently cushioned for the marathon? Or, do I choose the lightweight trainers that I’ve been running my track workouts in for several months, but which are untested in a race? How many GUs of what flavors should I plan to take during the race, and how many do I need to carry with me? Should I prepare special drinks for the aid stations, or just drink the standard sport drink that’s provided? The Napa Valley Marathon allows anyone to have special drinks placed at the aid stations, not just elites, which seems like a rare perk, of which it might be nice to take advantage.

The list of questions goes on and on. Does everyone go through this process? Is it my idiosyncratic way of dealing with the nerves that come with the approach of a big goal race?
Last modified on October 10, 2010
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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