It’s a couple hours after I finished my last longer run pre-marathon, an almost-16 miler, and I’m deep into what’s become my post-long-run routine: A heaping plate of nachos (baked chips, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, black beans, loads of salsa), a couch and some college football on TV. My cold seems to be 100 percent gone after forcing myself to spend three days in the horizontal position on the couch, and my ego is on a major high after what turned out to be a killer pre-marathon confidence-booster.
The down and dirty: I ran 15.87 miles (according to my recently re-calibrated Nike Plus, which I’m about 98 percent sure I can trust) in 2:23:08. That’s even 9-minute miles, despite my decision to tackle some giant, quad-eating hills the last five miles.
I ran my first 10 miles on Sligo Creek Trail, and managed 8:30-minute miles for the duration. So many things boosted my confidence this morning! I’m at that glorious point in training when I say things like, “I’ve just got a 15-miler today.” Also, I’ve got my routine down to a science, and know exactly when to eat my pre-run Luna bar, how much water I really need to feel hydrated, how the PowerAde and Clif shots being served on the marathon course feel on my stomach, which shirts and shoes and socks and shorts are certain to not chafe.
Also boosting my confidence: Knowing I can break my routine if I need to. I wasn’t sure I’d be attempting a long one this morning, so I enjoyed a delicious meal of authentic Chinese food with some friends last night. I didn’t know how my stomach would handle that amazing tofu dish (happily, it was fine), but decided I’d just see how it went. Also, I hadn’t stocked up on any of my favorite gels, so I used a few Hammer Gels I’d gotten for free in some past race’s goody bag (the raspberry flavor is particularly yummy!).
After finishing 10 miles on Sligo Creek Trail, I headed for the hills. I tackled a hilly 5.5-mile course that haunted me when I first started running with the Pacers Fun Run group. I’d just moved from Florida, and even though I’d only been there four years, it was like my quads forgot they’d ever seen a hill. This morning, I made those hills my … well, never mind what I made them. I kicked some serious butt, even running up the route’s steepest hill twice for good measure. Check out a slight variation of my run here (make it longer by adding miles on Sligo Creek Trail, like I did. And feel free to not start at my house, as the map suggests).
In short: I feel ready for this marathon. Not, like, now or anything. Now, I feel ready for only a few hours of good football, and some turkey chili for dinner.