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Marathon On My Mind
Here’s a fun fact: Up until last week, I really wasn’t excited about running the New York City Marathon.
In fact, I wrote my “10 Reasons I’m Excited To Run The New York City Marathon” post last week in part to psych myself up.
And it worked.
Oh my God, it worked.
Because since last Tuesday, running this marathon is the only thing I can think about.
Why the lack of excitement for so long? Well, I guess that’s a little obvious. I’m not sure I ever truly, fully believed I’d make it to the start line of this thing. Thanks to that Crohn’s flare-up, my training got off to a terrible start. Even when I could get the miles in, they were repeatedly interrupted by bathroom stops. Then, eight weeks before I was set to toe the NYCM start line in Staten Island, I was admitted to the hospital.
In the days following my hospital stay, I immediately started to feel better.
I’d been there before, though.
I’d been sick, I’d been given drugs, I’d felt better — only to find myself sick again a few days, weeks or months later.
So I never really wanted to get excited about the marathon.
Time after time this year, I’ve set lofty goals for myself, only to let my health get in the way. I’ve given up on goals, I’ve missed out on things I so desperately wanted to do, and I gradually learned to be OK with it.
I remind myself all the time now that many opportunities are not, in fact, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. If you miss out on something once, you just have to put yourself in a position where it can happen again. That doesn’t seem so impossible — especially when it comes to marathon running. I’m pretty sure these races are sticking around for a while.
I made the most of the eight training weeks I got.
My speedwork wasn’t as speedy as I would have liked, and I never really got around to doing much (uh, any) hill training. But I loved every long run. I definitely loved every bathroom stop-free run.
And now, I love knowing that — barring any life-altering physical drama — I’m going to actually make it to the start of the New York City Marathon. And I’m quite confident I’ll make it through the five boroughs and across the finish line as well.
I’m one week into my taper period and I don’t have any crazy stories so far. The “I slept through my alarm and showed up late to the race and also I was naked and wearing heels” nightmares haven’t started yet, and my body seems to be responding well to my majorly scaled-down exercise schedule.
Saturday’s 14-miler went well. It’s weird to think 14 miles is “basically nothing,” but by the end of that run I really did feel like I didn’t do a whole lot.
Oh wait, I did do a whole lot.
A whole lot of stupid-grinning.
The marathon route signs are finally up in Central Park and along 1st and 5th Avenues. As soon as I turned into the park on Saturday and saw those signs, I couldn’t get that goofy grin off my face. So I went with it, and just smiled my way around the park for the next two hours.
Sunday was a perfect fall day in NYC. Cool in the shade, warm in the sun, and I finally stepped on my first crunchy leaf of the season.
The colors are changing and being in a bad mood just seems like an awful way to spend a day like that.
Brian asked what I wanted to do for the day, and I completely unselfishly responded: “I want to go to Central Park and walk the marathon route.”
Why wouldn’t he want to do that?
He obliged, because he’s nice, and I forced him to take 12,000 photos by every single sign that so much as mentioned the marathon.
Walking that 2–3 mile stretch of the route in reverse didn’t quite have the same effect as running it in the correct direction, but I was excited enough that I didn’t care.
I don’t know what the weather will be like on November 4. I’m not one who obsessively checks the weather for Race Day once it’s in the 10-day forecast because I know I’m going to run the thing — and do it optimistically — regardless of the conditions.
Instead of freaking out about every possible drop of rain or tweak in my legs, knees or back, I’m embracing the taper. I’m not sneaking in extra workouts. I’m trying to get more sleep. I’ll get Remicade on Thursday to ensure my system is good to go and ready to run. And I’m watching a lot of NYCM videos on YouTube.
And, of course, in an effort to stay relaxed and stress-free in the final days leading up to the race, I’m starting the excessive “Things To Do Before NYCM” list now.
That first thing on the list?
It was the first thing to get checked off last night.
Brian and I booked a much-needed post-marathon getaway to Mexico. The plan is to run the marathon, go back to work for a few days and then skip town for a while. Facebook, Twitter and email are not invited to Mexico.
It’s been too long since we’ve taken a trip that didn’t revolve around someone’s wedding, a baby shower or a bike or running race. We won’t be bringing our bikes and I didn’t even check to see what the area has to offer for running options. I did, however, make sure the place has a swim-up bar. I think my priorities for this trip are exactly in order.
Meanwhile, I’m excited to run the New York City Marathon.
So excited, in fact, that I ordered a little something special.
Just in case it goes well.
WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?! Marine Corps? NYC? Philly? CIM? Woo!