It's 23 days until the Chicago Marathon and I've resorted to bribing my body to hold it together. "Stay healthy, sweetie, and Mommy will buy you some pretty new matching underwear for after your race!" type thinking.
The body is starting to, if not exactly fall apart, show some wear and tear at the seams. The right leg pinching I had last year is back with a vengeance although, thankfully, it rarely hurts when I run. I rolled my right foot earlier this summer and there's some lingering tightness there. My left bicep (WTF??) feels like there are tendons tangled up in it and it's getting harder to raise the arm above my head.
None of it is debilitating or prevents me from running. I'm just kind of standing back and observing, ready to step in with a roll of duct tape and "fix" whatever is thinking about coming loose or falling off. I count myself among the lucky ones. My running partner is out for 3 months with a stress fracture in his foot. Another friend fell on a trail run, sprained his ankle, and is trying to gain back lost ground to qualify for Boston. I clutch handrails going up and down stairs these days like an old lady, and shuffle around the house, I'm so afraid of tripping and falling and ruining a summer's worth of hard work.
All that being said, I am having FUN. I have never been stronger or faster. I'm holding paces on interval, tempo, and long runs I wouldn't have thought possible at the beginning of the summer. All this on an average of 30 miles a week - low in the marathon training world. Whatever may happen in my race, I'm writing a letter to the Furman Training folks, letting them know their plan works.
I'm ready for the training to end though, both mentally and physically. I'm tired. I feel it in my bones. I'm also excited to race. Terrified, but excited. This will be my first BIG race - 45,000 people run Chicago. Will I be able to get in and out of the water stations? Will it rain? What if there's wind or humidity? Will I be able to find my family on the course and will they be able to find me?
I've got a few mantra's I repeat when I run. One of these is "Trust the training." Regardless of what the weather is that day or what the crowds are like, I need to remind myself I've done the work necessary to reach my goal. So calm down, stay focused, and trust the training.
And remember there are some pretty new bras in it for me if I do well. ;)