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It All Comes Down to This

February 2, 2013

After four months of training and preparing, race day is upon us. Little G and I are on the couch at her mom’s house in Tallahassee, hydrating, studying the course map, and determinedly staying off our feet. Tomorrow, we face 26.2 road miles. Ready or not, marathon day has come. 

I have now trained for three marathons, but this will only be my second test at the distance. I come into it with conflicting emotions, having trained differently than I ever have in the past. For good or for bad, the training is all behind us now–it remains only to face the course, the conditions, and myself.

Conditions couldn’t be better: it looks like tomorrow will dawn crisp and clear, though much cooler than all our training. It’s only forecast to be about 40 degrees at gun time, so we expect that it won’t get out of the 50s the entire time we’re running. Though all our training runs were in the 70s, we know we couldn’t ask for better running conditions, but we’re having to do some thinking around our gear and wardrobe to adjust to the cooler temperatures and make sure we don’t start like jackrabbits in the crisp air. 

As for the course, we drove most of it today, and it’s a beauty. It has some curves (even a few sharp turns) in the early miles, as we run around the Florida State campus, but as we approach mile 6 it reaches a paved bike trail and remains on it for the remainder of the distance. On that trail, it is flat and fairly straight; aid stations are constant every other mile, and we should even see real, flushing toilets at three different points (contrary to some reports, most runners do indeed stop for mother nature). We will hit the turnaround at mile 14 and head on back, seeing the same ugly curves as our friends on the return to the city, to the campus, and to the FSU track, where we’ll do about a half-lap on the way to the finish.

Best of all, on our race-course drive today, Little G’s daughter, our race-day support crew, got to check out different places at which she’ll be able to park and meet us, and it’s nice to look forward to her support along the race. We also found  a spot along mile 21 or 22 where we can throw her the last of our dead weight–fuel belts, long-sleeve shirts, gloves–and pick up some speed for the last push for home.

And so it all comes down to this. In a few hours, we will be having our prerequisite pasta dinner, laying out our carefully chosen race-day outfits, shoes, and bibs, and settling in for a restless night. It’s race day, and I am ready.

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