The Big Sur Marathon is this weekend. Sunday. Less than three days away. Yipes!
People are asking one big question at this point: Are you ready? Answer: I don't know.
How can you know? I did my long runs, capping things off with a 19-mile, 3-hour run about three weeks back. I did sit ups, lunges and push ups, ran some mornings, rode my bike, even swam a bit. I ran hills. I stretched. I ate (mostly) healthy and didn't drink (too much). So probably, yes, I'm ready. And if I'm not, oh well. I'll be at the start like at 6:45 a.m. regardless.
Preparation is obviously key, but out there on the highway for that many miles, anything can happen. Heat, wet fog or the slope of the road can really wreck things fast. Dehydration is a fear. Eating enough so as not to run out of energy (literally) is something to monitor.
But it's also not THAT far (four-ish hours). A person can survive a lot and still have a good race. My last marathon (Seattle, November) I went out too fast and walked all of the hills at the end. A 10-year-old girl beat me, but I still ran a personal best. The first time I ran Big Sur (2007) I pulled off to the side and pooped in some bushes, but ended up having a great race and besting my previous time. At the end of several runs (marathons and long trail races) my feet have been blistered and chewed up to the point where I couldn't walk correctly for weeks. I almost always loose a nail from a big toe.
Without a doubt, running a marathon hurts. Only the most fittest, crazy people (who don't have day jobs) can pound out a hard 26.2 miles and feel breezy the next day. Sonja and I (and most of those other folks out there Sunday morning) will be sore and tired for days. We might curse the race and the pain, swear to never do it again.
But realistically, I probably won't run again for just a week or two. Then I'll pick up a new pair of shoes and work back into long runs on serene trails. The agony of those last few marathon miles will fade and I'll start scanning Web sites of other marathons and endurance events to pick my next big thing. Then the cycle -- build, speed, build more, taper, race, rest -- will start all over again. Hopefully my toenails will be back by then.
Marathon results next week!
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"So be prepared to quit. Do it willingly and with honest resolve. You'll be back. The marvelous thing about running is that you will never become jaded by it. Boredom, injury or anguish may overtake you from time to time, but the reward that first drew you to begin logging the miles remain untarnished and available -- always. Just put on your shoes and head out the door."