Thursday, April 23, 2009


A week and a few days until the big event and I'm starting to feel the tell tale signs of jangly nerves. Last time around I remember feeling incredibly fragile. I worried that at any point something random would happen and I wouldn't be able to run. I became hyper aware of the little potential dangers lurking in my everyday existence, the kind of things that if you think about too much on a regular basis can drive one batty. I traveled to Atlanta for my first race and the anxiety of forgetting something vital crept in. I was tired and keyed up at the same time, scared and excited. I spent the days prior visiting all old favorite Atlanta hangouts, the Biscuit, Piedmont Park soaking in the city and trying to stay mellow.

This time I feel less fragile and better prepared for the race before me. My senses are heightened. I find myself slipping into nervous talk and laughter often. I try and take in bits of advice and wisdom while not letting them overwhelming. I approach uneven pavement gingerly, fully aware that any misstep or fall could cause an injury to keep me out of the race.

Pre race jitters are a fact of racing -- and channeling this energy, this sense of importance, this adrenaline is a vital part of success. I am thankful to have a partner in crime this time around, someone who is feeling similarly, we are able to commiserate and sooth.

So you locals may see me bouncing off the walls (figuratively!) over the next week, and perhaps talking a mile a minute, ideating. Trust that this is all apart of the process, and will pass with the running of the marathon. I know I am ready for what's to come, just need to jangle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April Showers

The rainy Spring season is upon us, and despite some unseasonably cool temperatures I haven't had to dodge too many raindrops. It has been almost a month since I've blogged last which attribute to a generalized feeling of demoralization (injury wise) and simple fatigue. The injury that sidelined me has persisted, and though I'm on the mend I was unable to train at full capacity for the past month. I cut down on my weekly runs and eliminated speed work, continuing with shorter runs as well as my weekly long run. I feel strong, but no longer sure I can attain my goal of a sub 4-hour marathon. I plan on giving it my all, the rest is up to the gods.

In the past few weeks my running buddy and I have run our furthest distances, getting out of town to hit the 20 and 20+ milers. We ran our longest out on the Panhandle Trail, a bucolic 29 mile trail that connects to the more extensive Montour Trail. It starts in Carnegie and winds its way through small suburban towns into Weirton, WV. The terrain is relatively flat and the trail wide, perfect for running, and on the day we went we had the trail mostly to ourselves. It was a cool and sunny day, loaded up with GU and water we made our way out and back, taking in the emerging beauty of early Spring.

Training has its share of ups and downs, sometimes dizzingly so, and the long run brings all of it, calling up every bit of reserve and strength both natural and cultivated. I treasure these runs most of all, for the way the hours blend into each other, the way the landscape pulls me through, the way that a single moment means less then the sum of the whole. It reminds me why I do this, and why I love endurance. It reminds me that it's not just the marathon but these miles upon miles of road and trail that make it all worthwhile.