Believe it or not, I've not run one single marathon in 2009. I have run several training runs in excess of 26.2 miles but I haven't actually pinned on a bib number and toed the line of a marathon this year. If I'm going to do one, I'm really happy it's this one. Out of 23 marathon finishes, I'd rank Akron near the top of my favorites along with Richmond, Flying Pig, and Steamtown. It's just such a blast to be a part of. I can't wait for the moments before the start where endorphins are at a fever pitch, the sun will barely be up, and cowbells will be ringing as we take off across the Y-Bridge. Even with all the ultras and hundreds of miles on the trails this year, nothing is quite like the good 'ol marathon. It was my first running "love" and I'll always return. It's always pretty special to me personally this year because both of my brothers, their wives, and Marjie are all participating. ALL of them! Marjie is run/walking the 1/2 marathon with "Agent" Bower, Bill is running his 2nd marathon after Flying Pig this past Spring and his wife is running the 1/2 marathon, and my youngest brother, Jim is running a leg of the 5-person relay that he put together. His wife is running one of the legs as well. A couple of years back, NO ONE ran. Now, they all do. I'm happy.
Update since YUT-C: my philosophy this week has been to evaluate the need to run before every urge to go run...and there's been plenty. I took Sunday off completely and only ran twice more since. One day for 4 miles and another for 3 miles. There was absolutely nothing beneficial to gain from running this week outside of loosening up the muscles to promote blood flow and healing. That combined with the foam roller to work out some kinks and lots of water, I feel really, really good. Lots of rest has worked well. It was pretty tough this morning not to run...I got up in time to run, stood in the kitchen just thinking: "Should I run? Will I really benefit AT ALL?" I decided I wouldn't so I passed. I also think being on my feet for 9hrs at the Expo with Mizuno and Vertical Runner the night before the marathon could take its toll on me. It's very easy to think during the final hours of a taper that you're not doing enough. That's your mind playing tricks on you and it should absolutely be ignored at all costs. Don't worry...your body will remember what to do when that gun sounds at 7am, Saturday. Trust me, it will.
My plan is to simply run comfortably on Saturday and not push for a PR or anything. Focus on the ultimate goal (an Oil Creek 100 Mile finisher's buckle in my hand) will constantly be front and center in my mind during the marathon. NO running hard! NONE! I'm guessing I'll finish sometime between 3:40 and 4hrs. Is that wide enough a prediction for ya? Afterwards for 13 days, it's going to be all eyes on the prize...OIL CREEK. I cannot wait to escape for 24+ hours into the fall foliage of the old oil country of northwest Pennsylvania. Ahhhh....memories will be made.
Good luck and please, HAVE FUN if you are running in any part of the Akron Marathon this weekend! If you don't have fun, it's not worth it!
Happy TRAILS, everyone!