Monday, April 12, 2010

Looking Forward to the Challenge – Annie

It's hard to believe there is just one week left before Marathon Day! I completed the last long run of my training on Saturday out at my parents' place in Petersham - eight miles, about half of it on pine needle-laden trails in the woods, sunny and fragrant and easy on the knees. Speaking of my knees, they are feeling normal and strong after that scare of a few days where crouching down had made them twingey and painful. Good news! I feel great.

Last week I managed to get up early enough to get my midweek runs done before work each day, all on the treadmill at a faster pace than I plan on running in the race. This week, even though I know I can do them faster, I plan on running the bulk of my miles at race pace, which will feel pretty slow when I am only doing three to four miles at a time, but will be sensible and doable for 26.2. I'll throw in a few fast miles, but I want my legs to get used to the feel of race pace, so I won't get going too fast and tire out too soon.

My main goals for this final week of tapering are simple and few: go to bed as early as possible (aiming for eight to nine hours per night), eat lots of good carbs and focus on nutrition, stretch daily and really take it easy. I have 11 miles on the schedule to run before Race Day, and will do that mix of race pace and fast miles that I mentioned before. It feels a little funny to reduce mileage so drastically, but many, many marathoners before me have used this approach and it makes sense - we need this time to let our muscles and bodies replenish and heal before the ultimate stress of the race. The taper is essentially like filling your car up with gas before a big trip! I've got to work out the logistics of the day (make sure I have my favorite Margarita with Salt Shotblocks, figure out exactly what I am going to wear and what I am going to eat for breakfast, coordinate race morning drop off by my sister, etc.) but really, all I've got to do is run 26.2 miles.

I am just so thrilled to have the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon and thank NWH for making it possible. It's going to be so exciting to run past the Hospital! And I can't wait to experience the unprecedented crowd support that I've heard about all along the course, which will be a huge factor in keeping the energy up and legs moving. But in the end, it's really just up to me. I know it will be tough, but I know I am ready and determined and looking forward to the challenge.

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