Is everybody ready to Rock ‘n Roll Seattle? Good, because I don’t know that I am.
But I’m mostly walking the Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Marathon on June 25 — less than two weeks away — so my training has been much less intense than it has been for marathons in years past.
Instead of doing 20-mile runs as a tune-up, I’ve done 16-mile walks, since my stupid left ankle can’t take the pounding of running anymore (sorry for the anger). I did my second of such long walks this past Sunday to get my legs ready. I jogged a very small part of it, but I need to save more jogging on my ankle for the marathon itself. There’s enough pain for me in walking, though it comes and goes, and is more annoying than anything.
The Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Marathon is sold out again this year, and I know several people training hard for it. A friend Tony has done four 20-plus mile runs in recent weeks, including a 25-miler, and he looks lean and fit, though he says he’s also smarting from a muscle tear. Another friend, Stuart Glascock, has been training for months, steadily increasing his mileage, and will be ready. He got his 4:20 PR at last year’s Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Marathon.
This will be my 21st and final marathon. I am transitioning to bicycling, which is much more ankle-friendly, I’ve found, and is more aerobic (and interesting) than walking.
Here are 10 things I will miss about running (or walking) marathons:
10. The training: Yes, it’s a lot of work, but I was able to get fit and manage weight better than any time in my adult life. As time went on, it got easier to plan, but harder to do.
9. The taper: This was always nervous time. Did I train hard enough? Too late, if I didn’t. Still, it was a good feeling getting to this point.
8. The scenery: More than half the runners are a pleasure to watch. Many bicyclists aren’t bad to sneak looks at either, but the percentage of the opposite sex bicycling is smaller than in running, unfortunately.
7. The taste of Gatorade after a long run: It’s an amazing feeling to be done running and to be taking big swigs of a cold sports drink. In my later marathons, cold chocolate milk tasted even better.
6. Shirts and swag at a race: I’ve done 135 races and have well more than 150 t-shirts, sweatshirts, and running shirts to show for it. It was always fun getting a new race shirt, though I take a lot of heat now for my closet and drawers being stuffed.
5. Carbo-loading the night before a race: This got more fun as time went on and I found myself relaxing a bit more. Nice being able to eat well and know you’re going to burn most of it.
4. Doing a 5K or 8K the next weekend: For some reason, I always enjoyed putting a marathon behind me quickly by running a short race the following Saturday or Sunday. This very well may not have been good for my ankle, though. But I continued doing it up through last year. (I never tried doing two marathons in two weekends, as some people I know have done, however.)
3. The starting line: At a big race, the feeling at the starting line was like getting ready for a rock concert to start. Lots of energy and excitement. You’ve trained for months and it’s finally time to get it done. I must admit, however, that before some marathons, I didn’t actually feel awake until mile 2 or 3.
2. Mile 25: Most of the pain and suffering you experience from miles 18 on starts to ease at this point. You can smell the finish line. The toughest last miles were in races where I was striving for a PR (remembering the inaugural Eugene Marathon in 2007; I finished 9 seconds over my PR … argh!). Best Mile 25 was at the Capital City Marathon in Olympia in 2004; I felt strong at that point, and it was a downhill to the finish line.
1. Crossing the finish line: Nothing beats this feeling, especially for a marathon. It’s even more exhilarating when you’ve gotten a PR. But it still feels awesome, no matter what. And it’s good you are on a high when you finish, because you also immediately start feeling all the sore and chafed body parts.
I’ll miss it, but I will find new thrills. And if my ankle can get fixed, maybe I can run again.
Till next time.