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Day 104 of 112-10-mile short run, #MARATHONWEEKBEGINS!!!

I love my birthday!  To me, my birthday is like a national holiday.  After Thanksgiving, it is my favorite holiday. And since I like it so much, I try to get it to last as long as possible, so we generally celebrate my birthday “week” around the house.  Now, this is not like getting a gift everyday or anything like that, but there is a prevailing thought during the birthday week time, that I’m sort of special.  Kind of like a princess.

And so I figured, why should MARATHON WEEK be any different?  I mean, if anything, I need some serious pampering this week, and if anything, this week could even be more important than birthday week, don’t you all think???  Birthday week is about feeling special.  MARATHON WEEK is about being waited on hand and foot because I made the personal decision to run 26.2 miles and to spend the 112 days leading it up to working my butt off at the track, in the pool, in the spinning room, and on the open road.  I need to be well rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated!  MARATHON WEEK is also, I have to admit, about feeling special.

So how did I start the week?  Well, I started it yesterday with my last long run.  Ten miles.  Just ten miles. At what point exactly in my running career did a 10-mile run change from a long run to a short run?  I’ll tell you when.  It happened after running 5, 20-mile runs and a handful of 18s, 16s, and 15s.

Pace time was good-exactly what I needed it to be-9:45.  No need to push one’s self the week before the marathon.  Also, I was treated to a massage yesterday by Christy P.  Little did she know when she gave me this gift back in April for my birthday that it would be a two-fer, a double-whammy of sorts-it made my birthday week AND my MARATHON WEEK special!  Also, the massage therapist is the message therapist Christy has been seeing for 20 years, and she is a marathoner herself (she lost count around marathon 78!!!).  She gave me some really solid advice-which was very much reinforced today-run the first 10 miles at pace or slower.  Thanks, Renee!

Getting ready to head out for 10-with my new 26.2 shirt that Christy P bought for me!

So what did I do special for myself today?  Well, I went for a 24 mile bike ride, in an attempt to tackle the marathon course and get a good feel for it.

Getting ready to head out for 24 miles on the bike. Things are coming together! In addition to figuring out last week how I was going to wear my hair during the marathon, I have now decided on my marathon outfit: I will be wearing the running bra and shirt I am wearing in the photo. I’m not a fan of what I look like in the visor, but I sure like how it shades my face.

Here are some of my thoughts/observations about the marathon route:

  • This will be the hardest marathon course I’ve ever run.

That’s about it really.  That’s all I really need to know.  That’s all I needed to confirm.  I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been, and I’ve trained harder than I ever have for any of the other marathons-and thank goodness because this course will put me to the test.

It is a hilly course.  There is practically zero shade.  I’m not sure if I will be running on roads on paths or both.

I generally like to know where I am running when I run a race, and this isn’t always the case, but for this race, it is definitely the case because I don’t want to be surprised.  At one point or another I have run EVERY SINGLE PART OF THIS COURSE, but never contiguously-never during the same run-so for me mentally, I wanted to see how it would all come together.  The question I need to answer is does knowing the course help me prepare mentally for the race or does knowing the course aid in my anxiety about the hills?  As Doug said, “You’ll need to figure that out.”  And I will.  I think I already have.

A big part of MARATHON WEEK for me will be spent visualizing myself successfully running this race.  As I said, I’ve run each of those hills before-and yet each time is different because there are a number of variables.  But I think biking the route made me more confident and stronger.  If for no other reason than when I got off the bike, I didn’t even feel like I had biked 24 miles-which speaks to the strength of my legs at the moment.

A few other things in general about the course that you runners might find helpful:

  • MOST of the hills are in the first half of the race.
  • There are some short, steep hills in the first three miles.
  • Miles 4-6 are basically up hill-but it is generally a gradual ascent with just a few steep places (This is Huron Parkway out towards Plymouth).
  • On the way back down Huron Parkway (basically a reverse of miles 4-6), you take a short jaunt into North Campus and this is a steep incline-but it levels out.
  • Regardless of how you view the course map, either in satellite or map mode, you will not be able to figure out a portion of the route in the Arb.  There is NO STRAIGHT LINE/PATH that you run that will get you from A to B as indicated on the map.  I’m not sure if we went exactly the right way, but count on running up a steep, narrow, path with bark chips.
  • Miles 14-17 (out Washtenaw and back) will be up and down and up and down.
  • Miles 19-20 (out State Street toward Briarwood Mall) were not as steep as I thought they would be.
  • Briarwood Circle, I think, will be a complete and utter bore.
  • Miles 24-26.2 will basically be a nice downhill, with a few “up” spots.

So what do I know?  I know it will be hilly. I know it will be tough.  I pretty much know it will be warm and sunny.  I know I will run the best race of which I am capable.

When Doug and I started out biking heading north on Main Street-we were going down hill and we were cruising.  And he turns around and says to me, “Right now, we are biking at the back the Kenyans run this.” I.can.not.even.imagine.

Carry on friends, carry on.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. danlynnemixer@charter.net #

    The course sounds wonderful, no surprises for you and you get to sleep in your own bed, What a deal. Dan and I will be arriving some time on Sat. We will drive from Chicago whenever we get away. We are looking forward to Sat. night and Sunday celebrations. Have a restful and healthy week. You have done what you needed to do. Madly, Lynne

    June 11, 2012
  2. Kristi Gilbert #

    The course sounds wonderful, eh? Care to be a bandit? xoxo

    June 12, 2012

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