11 October 2013
Tomorrow I'll run a marathon. A full 26.2 mile marathon. I'm not really sure how I got here, but there's
no backing out now.
Actually, I do know how I got here. I've been training for tomorrow's race for 18 weeks, since the middle of June. That was so long ago! Since then I've run 429 miles and spent just under 70 hours on my feet. Almost 200 of those miles were logged with bleary eyes and bedhead between 6 and 8am. I learned to love the satisfaction of having put in those miles before work, early enough that my brain didn't really comprehend what I was doing. By the time I left the office to go home at night I sometimes forgot that I even ran that day. Morning running is great when you can make it work for you. In the summertime it helped me avoid the heat and take advantage of those long days. Now that's it fall, it's a little tougher. But there was nothing like sitting down at my desk at 8:30am, knowing that I had already put away a solid eight miles in my sneakers. I switched a few runs around, but mostly stayed right on track.
(Middle: Day 1 of my training plan. Top left: Final training run before the race. All of the others: the days in between.)
Then there were the long runs. Those were intimidating. After running the Camp Chingachgook Half Marathon in August, my training plan called for increasingly higher-mileage long runs each weekend. Soon I was out the door for 15, 16, 18 and even 20 mile runs. It seems surreal! To be out running for hours, many hours, seems impossible, even as I write this. What did I think about? Was I bored? How did I pass the time? Truth is, I'm not sure. Sometimes I remember being bored. Sometimes it was pretty uncomfortable. I thought about a lot of things but really and straight-up zoned out for a lot of it. When Chris and I ran together we would occasionally ask what each other was thinking, and usually we couldn't come up with an answer. We were just running. Cruising around town with my hydration fanny pack on.
I've run in the morning, at night, in the rain and heat and even on vacation. If you look closely above, you can see the modifications I made to accommodate life. Tomorrow morning, I'm lacing up my sneaks and tackling the ING Hartford Marathon. I feel pretty good about it. The nerves are there, sure, but I'm shoving them aside for now in favor of feeling like a bad-ass zen running warrior, ready to soak in the sights at an autumn New England marathon.
If you have absolutely nothing else at all going on this Saturday, you can watch live coverage of the race here. You should also be able to track my progress on the course here. I expect to be crossing that finish line sometime around 12:30pm EST, but who really knows? Then I will be drinking chocolate milk while eating grilled cheeses and apple crisp, as is promised to me in the finisher's tent.