It’s official. There is now just one week remaining until I lace up my shoes for my first-ever marathon. That was fast.
As I head into the final week of training, my main goal is just to keep my legs fresh, mix in a few short runs, and get myself prepared for the trip. There’s a lot of planning to do, especially since my wife and kids, ages 9 and 6, will all be coming along for a fun-filled weekend.
The weather forecast has been changing almost daily, but there’s a chance that it might rain the day of the race. That would be brutal! Let’s hope the weatherman is wrong.
After my last 10-miler, I ran a 5-miler three days later and then rested for three more days before a quick 4-miler this morning. At this point, three days of rest seems to be the perfect amount of time to let my calfs/shins fully recover while not impacting my training schedule too much.
In a fortunate bit of timing, I got to pick the brain of a serious runner the other day during a round of golf. Eric O’Brien, who ran track at Georgetown in the 1990s, was my playing partner during a round with some friends. Just when you begin to think that you might be a fast runner, spend a day with a guy like Eric. This dude is FAST! Have a look here at the 1-mile results from the 1996 Big East Championships.
Eric was a great miler in college and told me that because so many people kept asking him if he had ever run a marathon that he finally decided to enter one a few years ago “just to shut them up.” The guy jumps into the Boston Marathon for his first-ever 26.2 and clocks a 2:37 time. Are you kidding me?! He then thinks that he might as well try to get into the U.S. Olympic Trials and trains hard for NYC the following year with the hopes of breaking 2:24. This is where he learns a valuable lesson that I hope to benefit from. He never finished New York after it became clear that he wouldn’t break the time needed. His crash and burn point came at about mile 20, he said. Once he realized that he wasn’t going to qualify, he just packed it in,
After coming over the 59th Street Bridge and into Manhattan, he said he got caught up in the excitement of the atmosphere and the cheering crowds and pushed himself too hard from miles 17-20. I can see how this could happen. After running in the relatively desolate environment of the Bronx and Queens for several miles, coming over the bridge and into Manhattan must be a total adrenaline rush with everybody lining up along 1st Avenue.
I want to make sure I take it all in, but I will also have to guard against picking up my pace and running out of gas. I won’t be trying to break 2:24 like Eric was, but I think the advice still applies. Over the next week, I will probably get in at least 2, maybe 3 runs. We’ll have to see how it goes. Whatever happens between now and Nov. 1, one thing is clear: There’s no turning back.