I set off this morning armed with fuel and drink for my final 20-mile training run before the big day. This was the first time my schedule called for two of them during the marathon prep. The weather was warm and sunny, and I was appreciative of the breeze as I made my way through several small towns that sang songs of the season with their bright and colorful landscaping.
I came to the location of yesterday’s race, and I thought about what a different thing it is altogether to go long. My breathing was in check and I felt warm and happy.
I made the turn that led deep into the heart of my countryside – the well-kept secret that makes living in this state tolerable for me.
Up and down the hills I went, in beast mode, for about 8 miles. It energized me and when I reached the crest of that old Hill Road doozy, I threw my arms out and whooped it up. The hills don’t scare me anymore.
But after one last nasty climb at mile 15, I turned into a ridiculous headwind that relentlessly pushed me back and fought against me until I finally dragged my tired ass home.
Legs screaming, body wrecked, I managed to climb into a shower and make my way to my massage appointment.
In the skillful hands of my masterful masseuse, my beat-up body melted into the warm massage table and let go of everything. Flashes of Spartacus danced across my mind as I lay there, and I dreamed of being loved like that.
I refueled at my favorite post-race place and made my way back to the comfort and reality of my life.
This will be another big week in general, but I’m looking forward to cutting back on my miles and beginning the tapering process to rest my body and prepare for what lies ahead. It may be a big climb, but what goes up must come down, and I’m going to be smiling a big smile as I let my body fly down the other side, embracing the hills and loving the ride.