Christmas is probably not the first thing that leaps into someone’s mind when they are contemplating a marathon the next day, but today it felt oddly like being a kid and waiting for Christmas morning to arrive. The sense of anticipation, the excitement of something familiar that would nevertheless be different in myriad ways.
Training has been scaled right back this week (with the exception of the unfortunate swimming episode); even the biking went by the wayside. I’ve been trying to take it easy, although that’s been a little difficult; had a set of student papers to read and that meant some long days on top of the usual teaching schedule. I’ve concentrated on all the usual race week prep: upping the carb intake slightly, drinking gallons of electrolyte enhanced water, and loading with extra sodium (the latter meant becoming reacquainted with Ramen noodles for the first time since university; you can’t go wrong with 2/3 of your daily salt requirement in one tiny packet).
My goal for tomorrow is to finish somewhere between 4 hours and 4 hours and ten minutes. I don’t know how well that plan will go, since the first part of the course is really hilly, and that coincides with the part where things will be most congested. Even more so since the long Lee hill at mile 2 will be an early indicator for a lot of people that maybe having done only 14 miles as their longest training run might not have been the best idea. But since signing up for the Ironman, my goals for this race changed completely. I’m not so worried about the final time now; it is more important for me to run the race smart, to practice staying disciplined over a long distance.
It should be great day, weatherwise, pretty much as good as you’ll get for running a marathon in this part of the country. So tomorrow, it will be just the road, me, and 22,000 of my friends.