TITLE: Marathon On-Deck
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: September 30, 2005 5:16 PM
DESC: Nothing ever seems to go as planned when preparing for a marathon...
My third marathon is a little over 36 hours away. As I
have come to expect from this big, complicated world, my
last week before the race did not go as planned.
I did my last last 10-mile run last Sunday. I did the
middle four to six miles at marathon goal pace (8:00
miles) with some slower miles to start and finish.
That part was just as I had planned.
Somewhere along the route, though, I took a pit stop and
came into contact with some poison ivy. You may recall
that I came down with an
extreme case of poison ivy
last year, which cost me nine days of training. Well,
after poison ivy exposure, the body remains highly
sensitized for up to several years, and inadvertent
contact this year led to another bad case -- one week
to the day before my race.
This case hasn't been as bad as last year, but that's
not much comfort. Almost no case could be that bad.
This case is bad enough to have kept me from running
all week long and has kept me in various stages of
itchiness and pain throughout. It peaked on Wednesday
but has been so in recovery.
Now, a marathon runner usually trims his mileage back
severely in the week before a race, but 0 miles is
extreme. With no running, I haven't had much appetite
and so haven't carbo-loaded very well.
The good news is that I'm getting better, and at a rate
fast enough that I hope to be able to run my race. At
this point, I hope only to get better enough that I can
run it, regardless of my fitness or ability to achieve
my big goals. I realize now that I have been looking
forward to the marathon for its own sake, as a pleasurable
challenge. It's good to know that I have a purer motive
than to PR or achieve a particular time.
If I get to run, I will be well-rested. But will I be
rusty? A little out of condition? I don't know. I am
prepared to adjust my goals so that I can enjoy the run,
so if I find that I'm rusty, I'll just run as I can.
Then again, maybe the rest is just what I needed, and
I'll be able to shake off the rust and pursue my goal
of a 3:30 finish. A small part of me still hopes...
It's good to know that I also have some drive to excel.
The forecast calls for an overnight low on Sunday morning
of 63 degrees Fahrenheit, on it sway to 81 degrees. That
is warm for a marathon! Many folks will enjoy their runs
less at those temps, but I don't mind running on warm days.
This will be the opposite of last year, when the race started
in the mid-30s and only reached 50 or by race end.
Every year seems to bring new conditions. Whether it's
weather or illness, that makes for different challenges.
I won't be the only interesting fellow in the race. This
marathon doubles as the US national marathon championship,
so several elite American runners, such as 2004 Olympian
Dan Browne, will be on the course. And I just learned
Governor of Minnesota and the First Lady will run,
too. (Both have complete TCM in the past.)
If you find yourself on-line Sunday and feel the urge to
know just where old Eugene finished, check out the
race results on-line.
Wish me luck!