It’s my rest day from running, but I prefer “active recovery” to total rest. I was biking in the gym this evening, very softly, barely breaking a sweat, and experienced this sudden onset of clarity — I am so ready for my marathon this weekend. There was nothing cathartic about my feelings. I wasn't feeling inspired, unusually motivated, or excited. I simply felt clarity. I’m ready. Ready to surrender to 26.2 miles of hard running. The work is done. Now the showdown.
It will be my fourth marathon in less than two years. I am hoping I can set a PR. I will try to get 2.45, a couple of minutes faster than in my previous race three months ago. My average pace per mile will need to be six minutes and fifteen seconds.
Six minutes fifteen seconds per mile?! I could barely run a single mile that fast just three years ago. I could also start reminiscing about how I struggled to run a marathon in under four hours in my twenties, and now I am getting closer to 2.40 at the age of 43. But I’m getting used to knowing I’ve become a good runner. I’m proud but humble — there are better runners, and the bar for improvement becomes higher. No one’s pressuring me of course. I’m not a professional athlete. But I am an athlete. I’ve become an athlete. I passionately love running. I strive for excellence.
I am ready. The miles are there. Just in April, I ran more than three hundred miles — that’s more than 10 miles a day on average. My level of fitness is as high as it’s ever been. No injuries in recent months. No disruptions. I’ve been traveling a lot between America’s two coasts, but I stuck to my routine and never interrupted my training. Bad days, good days — I ran every day. My preparation had the variety needed to run a marathon at the level I’m targeting. Easy runs, long runs, speed sessions, tempo runs — if you a runner, you’d know this jargon.
My nutrition has been solid. In fact, in recent months, I gained a few pounds. When you’re a long-distance runner, you worry about staying lean. I’m slightly concerned about the weight I gained, but I’m feeling healthy.
My sleep has been the most problematic area of my lifestyle. I don’t struggle to go to sleep but tend to wake up in the middle of the night and check my phone. I work with different time zones, so sometimes it helps to check my messages, but it’s not my work that’s disrupting my sleep but rather my poor habits.