Normally, after running a marathon, I give myself 3 straight rest days before beginning to run again. However, the New Jersey Marathon was only a week away, and I wanted to shake my legs out well before race day. So I gave myself two days off before heading out on a light run early Wednesday morning. The legs felt extremely stiff. And I knew why: I simply don’t stretch well enough.
I keep saying to myself that I’ll focus more on taking the time each day to stretch out well before and after logging some miles. Life, however, seems to always get in the way.
As the week progressed, I wondered how I would fare on Sunday. I had only tried this once before: in 2009, I ran the Marine Corps. Marathon one week before running the ING New York City Marathon. These two races, combined with a finish in mid-October in Hartford earned me entry into the Marathon Maniacs. I don’t recall how I felt during those six days between races three years ago – but the discomfort was not unbearable…and that bode well. One negative which was sure to show it’s face: I was sure to have lost some of the “pop” in my legs from one week to the next. I was certain that the hills of Gettysburg took more out of me than I’d care to admit. I needed to find some sort of catalyst to focus on to get me through next Sunday.
When I came up with my calendar of marathons for 2012, I circled this week as one of the two major “hurdles” of my year. My thinking was that if I could get through this week and break the tape in New Jersey, things would be fairly smooth through the end of September. Then…the real run begins.
After New Jersey, I plan to enjoy a month of training before the next 26.2 mile jaunt: Lake Placid. Then off I go to San Francisco in late July. Followed by a very interesting race in Rye, New York in August. September’s marathon will be in Ohio (remind me to wear my Michigan Wolverines football jersey (an old jersey with Elvis Grbac’s number on it…simply because anyone named Elvis is simply COOL). Then, there will be two weeks of preparation before what I am nicknaming The 90-Day Odyssey” begins:
- Late September: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 miler
- Early October: The Chicago Marathon
- Mid October: The Hartford Marathon
- The First Sunday in November: The ING New York City Marathon
- Mid November: The Wine & Dine Half Marathon
- Around Thanksgiving: The Philadelphia Marathon
- …and then…possibly….Vegas. Oh yeah. Vegas.
The 90-Day Odyssey. Should be interesting. But – for now – I need to stay focused on the next step, which was coming up on Sunday. The New Jersey Marathon. Race number 5 of the 12 in ’12. Right now, I felt positive. I can do this. But I recall a marathon that I ran a couple of years ago…I felt fantastic still at mile 14. Someone noticed that I was smiling as a plodded forward, and asked me out of the blue….
Wise Old Runner: “hey – you look happy…”
My response: “Absolutely!!!” (I had way too much enthusiasm in my voice – I’m sure I was obnoxious.
Wise Old Runner: “oh yeah? You’re feeling good right now? I mean – reeeeeally good?”
My response: “Hell yeah! Best I’ve ever felt 14 miles in!!!” (still waaaay too much enthusiasm for the moment. I know it. He should have kneecapped me).
Wise Old Runner: “Hmmmm…..well don’t worry…..that won’t last.”
…..but….he was right. I folded like a cheap lawn chair (no idea where I heard that saying, but I was dying to insert it into a blog…so there you go. Enjoy) 4 miles later. Crash. Right into The Wall. Face first. He sure was a wise old runner. I counted my chickens before they were hatched during that marathon (Oh God – that was a horrid reference. Sorry. But I’m not deleting it. Call is a monument to my lack of creativity). I won’t make that mistake this time around. I cannot look forward. I must look only to tomorrow. And tomorrow starts in just a couple of hours.
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