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My own March madness

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  April 3, 2013 12:46 PM

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100chrissyhoran.jpg Chrissy Horan is one of six Boston Marathon entrants testing Polar personal training gear and blogging about it for Boston.com
Iím a pretty big sports fan and basketball is no exception. The last two weekends' college basketball has been on my television quite a bit, and not just because several of the games coincided with some post-long run couch time.

The games have been exciting, filled with upsets and buzzer beaters, keeping spectatorsí eyes glued to the TV and messing up brackets everywhere. The young athletes on these teams have trained all year for the opportunity to get into the tournament and advance to each next round. And on April 8, one team will be named the 2013 champion.

I feel like Iím wrapping up my own March madness this week as well. Itís been a busy month, increasing my training, making final pushes to meet my fundraising goal and maintaining all the other parts of my life that are not directly related to running a marathon on April 15th. They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb; Iíd argue it has left me feeling a bit more like I had been spun around a few times by the Tasmanian devil.

Like those kids on the basketball court, I have spent the last several months preparing for the big dance. Although I have taken a slightly different approach with my training this season, I have not taken it any less seriously than in the past. Twenty-six point two miles is a long run and my training still reflects my respect for the distance.

To aid in the recovery of a hamstring strain from last summer, my doctor, who is also a runner, encouraged me to modify my training plan, based on effective hamstring rehab research, to include more agility and core strengthening.

At least two days a week, I cross-train. While I initially really wanted the Polar RC3 GPS for the GPS function while running, Iíve been able to benefit from using the heart rate monitor during my cross training. I may have passed on speed work this season, and Iím certainly not the fastest I have been in previous years, but last week when it was only after a nine-mile run that I realized my hamstring wasnít bothering me, I felt reassured that I had made the right decision.

When Iím not training, planning my training, analyzing data from my Polar RC3 GPS, working, blogging, doing laundry and occasionally sleeping, Iím fundraising! After all, thatís how I was given the opportunity to run this race in the first place.

This will be the seventh time I fundraise to run the Boston Marathon, the fifth time for the Alzheimerís Association. I run in memory of my grandfather and this year, the eighth anniversary of his passing, I have pledged to raise $8000.

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Each week I send out emails to friends and family to update them on my training and ask for their support. With the help of a friend, in early March I held a spin-a-thon, a three-hour spin class to raise money. And I am currently hosting a NCAA pool where the entry fees go toward my fundraising goal.

Which takes me back to basketball.

Like the teams getting ready for the Final Four, I have done the best I can through this point to prepare me for the elements of this event I can control. (Iíll start checking the weather forecast for April 15th in a few days and start figuring out how I will adapt to what I canít control.) In the next two weeks my training will taper to help me recover from a tough March and rest up before race day.

And while the last-second 3 pointers and underdog victories make the NCAA tournament great, Iím doing all I can to make my marathon day as boring and predictable as possible. The hard work has been done and now itís time to rest up and get ready to play my heart out.

To support me as I run the Boston Marathon to benefit the Alzheimer's Association, please visit my charity donation page.

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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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