I was in the park by the running path with my daughters the other day and took some pictures of people running by. What a beautiful early fall day, and great running weather. It is nice to see great weather with the big day coming up. Then came the baseball games that night. One week to the marathon, and everything in my pre-marathon week just got thrown for a loop. I can thank the Cubs! It is a bit ironic that, as a lifelong Cubs fan, my excitement over their making the playoffs is muted by the fact that the first games fall during the week of the race I've been focusing on for months.
I am a Cubs season ticket holder. I have been a fan since birth. And I love doing fan related stories on the team when they do well. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, you have to make the most of it. Normally this would be a really fun time. But the week before the marathon is usually a time reserved for rest, hydration, and nervousness.
Instead this week will now be filled with travel, long hours of Cubs coverage, and trying to get sleep in hotel rooms. At this point, as I write, I don't even know who the Cubs will play or where they will travel to, but I will have to find some short running loops in whatever city that is.
I am a bit philosophical about it. I realize it could negatively affect my marathon. I will almost certainly be working late the night before the race at a Cubs game at Wrigley. But I keep reminding myself that I promised myself to simply enjoy this marathon from the training through the race. I have tried not to put pressure to run a certain time, because I did that last year, and accomplished my goal of running Boston. I don't feel like I have anything to prove to myself this year, other than to try to run as well as I can on the given day. It's hard though, because I have been running pretty well, and training on the track at a good pace.
I considered the possibility of skipping Chicago and waiting until New York a month later. But my training is peaking at this point for Chicago, so after talking to a couple of my friends I have decided that's what I'm gonna do. The advice I got from my friends is true for all runners as well. Saturday night before the marathon is normally not a great night for sleep for runners anyway. Your goal is to get a good night's sleep two nights before the race, knowing you probably won't get it the next evening. And, as far as the travel during the week, it may serve as a distraction from the nerves that build up leading up to Sunday morning.
I realize this sounds like a nice problem to have. And I suppose it is. In reality, I'm probably as nervous about the Cubs as I am about the marathon. But both are going to be exciting.
I was talking to another friend in the media the other day about the race, and he and I agreed that we are anxious to just get it done. We're tired of training. That's probably a good feeling to have. My former coach tells me that means physically you are ready for the race.
So I will go with that. I'm physically ready, and come 8am on October 4th, I intend to be among 45,000 friends at the starting line on Columbus Drive. Now the other other problem is that unless there is a sweep in the first series, I will have to be back at work an hour or two after finishing the race. I guess I'll cross that bridge when it comes...