Marathon day, that is. Three little days away. Fewer than 72 hours stand between me and the starting line. Wow.
It takes a long time to train for a marathon--about five months. And then, all the sudden, it's here. And, because of taper, all the long runs and workouts seem like a distant memory. I like to review my training cycle to see everything that I've done...and hopefully that makes me trust in my training. But there is always a little doubt. I didn't do as many pace runs as I wanted to due to my surgeries and the hip injury. But there is absolutely nothing I can do at this point to improve my fitness--it is totally set and is what it is. Another thing is that I haven't raced since Eugene. I wasn't able to fit a half in, and I haven't done any shorter races...so I don't have a gauge of my fitness from those, either. All I know is that I've run a ton of miles and a ton of long runs. I'm strong, but not that fast.
I get VERY nervous right before races. And I've had a steady state of anxiety this entire week. But, once I'm lining up, it will sky rocket to the point where I may just puke. But as soon as the gun fires, it all goes away. It turns into this unbelievable energy. That energy lasts about 20 miles. Then the race actually starts.
I'm a little worried about the weather. The weather is one of those wild cards of distance running/racing...when you sign up for a race, the weather is never, ever guaranteed to be conducive to good times. But I can't control the weather...and it looks like Chicago is going to be much warmer than desirable. Of course, the weather could still change...but for now it looks like it will be 60 degrees at the start. That might SOUND nice...but it's about 15 degrees warmer than ideal. The problem is not so much with the 60, but the fact that it's a long race...giving it plenty of time to warm up into the 70s.
I've never raced a warmish marathon--in Eugene the weather was perfect. I'm relying on Tim to tell me if it gets warm enough to the point that I would need to adjust my goal. The heat will affect my (an everyone's) time, but that is just part of the deal.
Now...don't get me wrong. I'm not just anxious...I'm EXCITED. I have not raced since May! Racing is so special. It hurts so much (at the end, in a marathon), but it's so, so fun. It's why I got up at 5 a.m. all summer to run. And why I spent over three hours out in Buddha almost every weekend, running the hills to make myself strong.
As for how my legs feel...better than the last time I blogged. My legs always feel horrific during taper. Seriously...they feel like they're just going to fall off. I run all these high mileage weeks and I feel, though tired, good. Cut back the mileage...and BAM it all falls apart. Quads ache, hip hurts, knees hurt, ankles twinge. I'm past all that now. No pain in my legs.
But they still feel dead. I ran 6 miles on Tuesday, with two of those at marathon pace. The marathon pace miles were fine, but the slow ones felt like a drudge. That's normal taper stuff. I'm running an easy 5 today, and I'm sure it'll feel hard. Annoying, but expected.
I haven't posted any kind of race plan yet because I don't actually have one yet. All I know is that I have two pacers...Wes and Scott. That should be interesting.