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Twenty meters past the 26 mile marker, the camera caught me with both feet off the pavement.  You can tell by looking at the shoe shadows.  I don’t bother with much of a kick in these long runs.  What’s the point?  But it’s good to see I have at least a little hop in my step.  About 5 minutes later I was laying flat on the pavement with cramps in both legs.  It was a great run up until I stopped.

Hoping the Boulder Marathon is as good a run as the Denver Marathon.  I’m a tad bit nervous because I didn’t train as hard as I wanted.  I won’t decide upfront how hard I intend to push myself.  I’ll make that call after I’ve warmed up a couple of miles.  As an amateur, I get to make those decisions.  If you’ve ever run a marathon, or multiple marathons, then you know how dicey they can be.  Almost regardless of conditioning, anything can happen with such a long distance.

I would love to feel strong throughout the run, but I am mostly interested in how my core will feel after 18 – 20 miles.  I did increase my core conditioning exercises.  Not sure if I’ve been at it long enough to show results, but this will certainly be a test.  Not saying I’ll pick up my pace if I’m strong at 20, but I might to celebrate that my stomach isn’t melting at this point.  This isn’t the wall per se, even though it’s at about when runners hit the wall.  But it’s similar.  My experience is that my overall body feels fine but my stride begins to shorten considerably as I lose strength in my lower abdomen and upper legs between 18 and 20 miles.  I can continue running feeling comfortable, but noticeably slower.  Makes the final 10K progress like a dolly zoom.

This Sunday will be my last marathon of the year, my end of season trifecta.  I survive this, then I can wind down.  I’ll move my runs to the middle of the day once daylight savings time ends.  As part of that, I’ll reduce the distance to 3 or 4 miles – something I can run during a lunch hour.  If I’m dedicated, I’ll work out on weights this winter.  I probably need that more than running.  Lastly, I expect to continue the mountain hiking – or snowshoeing – throughout the winter.  But I need to get through this marathon first.