Marathon Training Week 16 and 17/Getting Ready

After finishing my peak week of training, I fully embraced the taper. I decided I could do my runs in the afternoon and enjoy sleeping in. Except that I am no longer used to running after work and hate it. I told myself I would run when I was in Florida for a wedding. I didn’t do that because a) it was hot and b) I was really only in Florida for like a second. So the last couple of weeks have been less than perfect. I won’t recap every run because honestly I don’t remember them all at this point.

Missing some of these runs has me a tad worried, but I did the hardest training. I completed 80 to 85% of the runs on my schedule. I’m as prepared as I’m going to be at this point and I just have to trust the training. This week I need to get in a three miler and a four miler despite my cold (yes, I of course got a cold the week before the race) and all the rain. I’ve had some soreness in my back the last couple of days but that seems (hopefully) to be going away. I think a lot of this is just nerves manifesting itself so I just need to breathe and do some stretching.

I started this journey back in July, not knowing what I was really getting myself into. I’ve had some really tough runs and some really great ones. Every time I went a little further, I amazed myself at what I could do. Now I KNOW I can be on my feet for 26.2 miles. I have no idea how long it will take me. Perhaps under five hours, which would make me so super happy, or longer, which I would be totally fine with. I just know that when I cross that finish line, it will be the greatest physical achievement of my life. Just watching videos to prepare for the marathon has gotten me choked up so you can bet that I’m going to shed a tear or two when I finish. All the early predawn wake-up calls and long Saturday runs will pay off in that moment.

I know the race itself won’t be easy. My last few runs haven’t felt good, but from what I understand, that’s par for the course at this point in training. The weather is looking a tad warmer and sunnier than I would like, but at least rain isn’t in the forecast. I’ve run most of the course before so a lot of it will feel familiar. I’m looking forward to seeing the Marines along the road. They’ll be great motivation.

This may sound cheesy, but a couple of nights ago Joe and I watched Lone Survivor. We’d seen the movie before but this time it helped me think about the reality of this weekend. Yes, the race will be hard, but in the grand scheme of life, it’s a walk in the park. Our military members face harder tasks on a regular basis. Sure, my knees, hips, thighs and back might hurt, but this race is not a life-or-death situation. I won’t be getting shot at while running . And I know that I’ll get to go home to my own bed and that all my friends and family will be able to do the same that night. The brave folks who serve in our military don’t always get that.

It’s an honor and a privilege to run the Marine Corps Marathon. A large part of me will be sad when this journey is over. I think we feel most alive when we’re pushing ourselves to do something outside our comfort zones.

Hopefully I’ll have a positive recap in another week or so. Until then, here’s me running this weekend at Shenandoah National Park, where I hoped the mountain air and beautiful scenery would help calm my nerves.