I love October. I love crisp air, peak Fall colors, apples, pumpkins, fleece, hot beverages, campfires, seeing my breath on an early morning run, the stark contrast between October blue sky and clouds that are harbingers of colder weather to come, and crunching leaves under my feet. I look forward to trips to the apple orchard, jumping in piles of leaves with the kids, an extended family weekend getaway each year, and my birthday. In my opinion, October is the absolute best running weather. My favorite running weather is about 45 degrees and sunny – cold enough so I can see my breath and feel my skin tingling with chill, yet the sun is still warm enough to give my skin the warm tingles too.
October is the perfect time to run a marathon. I guess I’ll run one this weekend. I’ve been training for 16 weeks, or so says my training plan. However, I’ve really been training for almost exactly one year. It was one year ago when I volunteered at the Mile 20.6 water stop and was there to support my friends, who also happen to be rockstar marathoners. It was one year ago when I had such a vivid dream that gave me the resolve to register, train, and dedicate a good share of 2013 to this year’s Twin Cities Marathon. It was one year ago when my orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist gave me the green light to start clawing my way back to running form…from ground zero with a brand new foot. It’s been quite a year – and I’ve got a marathon in five days. I’m as ready as I possibly can be. I’ve run almost 1000 miles in 2013…I’ll hit that milemarker (or is it a milestone?) during the marathon. Each of those miles has been run with purpose, with dedication, with discipline, and with heart. Aside from a touchy Achilles tendon for awhile…my running over the past 9+ months has been almost perfect. I’m trained. I’m ready.
It’s race week. Mentally I’m getting ready by reading up on marathon week preparation, obsessing about the weather forecast, recruiting family and friends to come and cheer (check out all the helpful info for spectators – and if you really want to keep track of me on Sunday morning, you can sign up to track me and get text message updates!), studying the course map (check out the helicopter flyover tour of the marathon course too), getting my gear lined up, and lots (and lots and lots) of positive self talk. Physically, I’m trying to take it a bit easier this week…30 min swim yesterday, last track workout today (6x400s that I felt really great about!). I have a MP tempo run yet this week (3mi bookended with 10min warmup and cooldown), and then will shake out my legs on Saturday, but that’s about it. Sigh.
I’m also trying to be deliberate about what I eat (never mind the crackers and oreos I can’t seem to stay away from tonight) and my water intake (my water bottle goes EVERYWHERE with me!). I’m even trying to get more and better sleep…which is the hardest part for me. I’m trying to be good to myself…I got a massage this afternoon, and my daughter gave me a pedicure to cover up the three black and blue toenails (one of them just fell off the other night). This week’s menu is heavy on the complex carbs…potatoes, rice or pasta every night this week! Friday I’ll fuel and celebrate with my running buddies with whom I’ve been training, and Marathon Eve Saturday will be pasta with my family and an early bedtime.
Apparently, October is a good time to have a birthday too. This year it’s a milestone for me…40. I’ve got 20 days to make my peace with that. It’s just a number, right?! I’m having a hard time with that number for some reason this year. But, being in marathon shape and having a fantastic array of people in my life is making it look a little brighter. I don’t feel 40. I don’t even have the creaky joints and sore muscles I did when I trained for my last marathon. I feel fantastic. I feel about 32, so that’s the number I’ll stick with for now. However, as a birthday is typically reason to celebrate, let’s have a 26.2 mile party this Sunday morning. Bring balloons (purple ones!), but no gifts…I’d happily take donations to the Alzheimer’s Association for my ALZ Stars charity team though. I’m soooo close to my fundraising goal – please click here to donate and help me hit my fundraising goal AND give me that extra boost I just might need to get me through those tough miles on Sunday!
October is a month of milemarkers and milestones for me this year. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all the love, support and encouragement I’ve gotten from my friends and family. I’m blown away with gratitude for all the generous donations to my ALZ Stars charity team in support of the incredibly important work that the Alzheimer’s Association does for people with dementia and their families. I’m anxious, excited, nervous, eager, apprehensive, and antsy…five more days. Thank you – for every little thing that has helped turn my dream into a goal into (hopefully!) an accomplishment before the weekend’s over. I’m ready. Bring on 26.2 miles!