In 48 hours (or less) I will at the start (or running) the 10th Annual Lehigh Valley Marathon.
The “Hay is in the Barn” as they say, and no amount of running will improve my speed or fitness.
I am deep into my Lehigh Valley Marathon taper, which 1) gives my body a chance to rest and 2) gives my mind a chance to reflect, wander and wonder. Many of my running friends have been asked how this (my 4th) marathon training cycle has progressed, and I can honestly say “Good”.
The weather has not always cooperated, there have been a lot of muggy mornings BUT day in and day out I headed out the door for whatever workout was on the plan. Looking back at some of the workouts, and remembering the weather conditions associated with them, I’m pretty damn proud of myself and my ability (which I sometimes question) to hit my paces and “do the work”.
This training cycle has also had a lot of “firsts” for me –
- First marathon training cycle where I trained in the dead of summer;
- First marathon training cycle where I did not have any 20 mile runs;
- First marathon training cycle where I shed my shirt more times than I care to court; AND
- First marathon training cycle where I was not injured;
That last statement is clutch and I have to give a big shout out to Coach James for developing (and sometimes modifying) my plan to make sure I head to the start Sunday well prepared and ready to race.
I remember meeting with him at Starbucks during a cold Saturday in February – I was pretty bummed about not running BUT knew that eventually my injury would heal. After having some not so good experiences with out of state running coaches, I knew I wanted to find someone local. He had no problem starting from scratch with me (aka 0.0 miles), and it was his enthusiasm and love of running that hooked me.
As the days, weeks and months have passed his support and belief in me has never wavered. He has talked me off the ledge a couple of times and reached out to me at random times to check in and see how I am doing. It’s that kind of personalized attention and concern, that helps me know that he wants me to be the best runner I can be.
At my peak weeks, during this cycle, I was running on average of 66 miles per week, which were tough but in comparison to other years – I remained healthy and injury free! Again I credit Coach James for giving me the tools I needed when I started training with him.
Some might ask how long this training cycle was and honestly my response is “Since February”. I say that because I have been working since February increase my miles and stay healthy at the same time – no small feat in my book. That is why, if you noticed I was pretty absent from the Connecticut running circuit this summer. It was a conscious decision that was made to focus on my development.
It sucked at times, I mean, I love running but sometimes you just need to be with fellow runners and get those pre-race jitters to remember what it feels like. Luckily I was able to “run” the Roller Coaster Race 10k this past weekend, which helped to get my mind focused and get rid of some of those pre-marathon jitters I had been experiencing.
So – Yes I think I am ready. Will the weather cooperate – that is the big “?” at this point. The weather is not looking cool – in fact it is looking quite toasty. With a 7:00AM start time to the Lehigh Valley Marathon and the fact that a lot of the course is shaded (or at least I have been told that), I am hoping for some relief.
BUT if that is not the case, I have a plan (of course I do).
Again – just when I needed it, Coach James messaged me yesterday morning to see how I was feeling. Honesty being the best policy I shared my concerns and together we came up with a plan. Thank god Mark is coming down with me because his presence on the course is going to be pivotal.
In the end, there is nothing I can do about the weather. I can stress out about it, and I have, but mother nature (as I have learned this summer) does what it wants. The best I can do, is do the best I can do in the conditions I am presented.
So – even with the weather, do I have goals?
HELL YES but I am going to keep them to myself. Suffice to say I will be leaving it all out on the Lehigh Valley marathon course. What happens will be a combination of the weather and how I perform in those conditions, but I know that there is nothing else I could have done to get me where I am and where I will be on Sunday.
Thanks to all who have supported me on my journey and read along with my ramblings.
Next Stop – 26.2 or Bust!