Ever train for and run a marathon? Since 2010, the upcoming Colorado Marathon will be my twelfth. First time to run this particular event, although I did run the 10K associated with it last year. It was a dream run in the May snowfall. This photo above is of the marathon from last year running through Poudre Canyon. If you have run a marathon, then you can likely appreciate my current state of mind.
A marathon on your calendar is like waiting for a hurricane to roll in from the sea. Like being called into the principle’s office as a kid after ditching class. Like prepping for a colonoscopy. You know you’re going to get your ass kicked. The closer I get to May 7th, the more completely preoccupied I am with thoughts of the final 10K. Those last six miles when the legs attempt forward motion without the benefit of glycogen. I know I can run twenty miles, I’ve reached that distance in my workouts. Regardless of conditioning, completing 26.2 miles is never a sure thing. Generally training builds confidence, but marathons don’t care.
Part of my nervousness likely stems from not having run a marathon in 18 months. And knowing I’m ten pounds heavier than I was in my last four marathons. My pace will be slower, I’m predicting 9 minute miles. That doesn’t bother me. Being able to hold that 9 minute pace after twenty miles is what I think about in all my recent training runs. I expect the first half, the first thirteen miles, to be enjoyable. The big question is at what mile running stops feeling comfortable. And how I’ll deal with it. I’ve never not finished a marathon. I’ve had some go south and done my share of walking.
There’s a sizable hill after 18 miles. That’s unfortunate placement because that’s right where runners typically hit the proverbial wall. When there’s no more fuel to burn. Cramps tend to occur around twenty miles too but like a flat tire, those can be fixed; whereas an empty tank can leave you stranded. If I have to, I’ll walk that hill and try to fire the engines back up on the downward slope after the top.
Oh well. I should stop thinking about it. I’m committed. I have one more week of decent training. My taper starts Monday. I probably won’t even run the final week. I’ll be commuting to a job in Denver and don’t expect to have time. Won’t matter. Can’t fall out of shape in a single week.