The running gods must have read my letter and taken pity on me as they gave me more than enough reasons to think I can and should run this marathon. Allow me to recount just some of the highlights from my fun, exhausting, but thrilling last Sunday before race day.
- I volunteered today. Yep, as part of the NYRR requirement for entry into the 2009 New York City Marathon, I volunteered to be a Festival Area Marshall for the Poland Springs Marathon Kickoff 5M Race in
Central Parkthis morning. Although the time requirement forced me to be out of bed at an insanely early hour (5AM), and my job assignment (to stand on the East Side Drive and direct runners who are lost/stranded over to the West Side Drive where the race start and registration tables were) wasn’t all that exciting on paper, I actually had a lot of fun performing my duties. First, I purposely positioned myself near one of the park entrances. Then I proceeded to greet all the runners with a smile and a “howdy good morning” as they entered the park. Weather-wise, it was a perfect race morning so I figured each of them deserved a nice strong greeting to take their minds out of their slumber and prepare mentally for a good race. I got a kick from seeing how uncomfortable some New Yorkers get when faced with a “good morning” from a total stranger. They would look at me as if I was out of my mind before smiling sheepishly or muttering something incoherently as they saunter out of sight. No matter. I was having so much fun saying my “good mornings” and shouting words of encouragement to runners, walkers, and pet and baby owners before the race that I really didn’t much care if my sentiments were reciprocated. What was interesting to me though was that for the two hours I was on duty, I got more questions about the upcoming marathon next week than about the logistics for the race happening that morning. What does that say about the focus of running community during this time of year?
- I ran today. After I finished greeting, congratulating and directing all my patrons to the correct area of the park, I quickly went home, changed my attire, and took my brand new Asics GT 2140 out for a spin. Although I had scheduled 8-10 miles for today, I ended up running 10.6 easy miles at a somewhat fast pace. I picked a route that was familiar to me but boasted some challenging hills to discover how my foot would feel at different paces and in different terrain. The verdict? The pain was definitely noticeable but did not intensify during the later portions of the run. All-in-all, I was quite happy to just be out there with other last long run participants enjoying some fun in the sun.
- I met some runners today. During my volunteering gig, many out-of-towners came over to talk to me about the race that day and the marathon next week. In the two hours that I was standing and greeting runners entering the park, I met runners from more than ten different countries. Some only wanted to know where it starts and where it ends. Others wanted actual training advice that would help them in the last seven days. It was awesome to speak to so many international runners who came specifically to run in the marathon because it made an impression on me as to the kind of prestige and reverence foreigners have for this 26.2 mile race happening in my own backyard. Later on, during my own 10 mile run, I also ran into a special Flyer blogger friend who, just like me, is dealing with her own injuries as she prepares to run NYCM next week. Coincidence? I think not.
- I bought a book today. It’s called A Race Like No Other by Liz Robbins. For those who don’t know, this is a book that chronicles the 2007 New York City Marathon through each of the miles and through the eyes of amateurs and elites alike. It came highly recommended by several of my running friends and I was in need of genuine inspiration for the race next week, so I picked it up. I’m about a third of the way through the book and am enjoying every line. I am definitely going to be on the look out for all the famous landmarks and famous people out on the course as I run on Sunday. I’m hoping I’ll remember enough of their back stories as I run to make this a truly memorable experience.
- I was inspired today. Between the volunteering, my running, the runners I met, the great weather, and my new reading material, I’m more inspired than ever to run this race. So what if I’m dealing with a little pain? So what if I might not break , , or even P.R.? There’s a lot of people, runners and non-runners alike, who’ve come very long and very far to be there with me on Sunday so I should feel grateful that I even have the opportunity to participate in this very special race. I’m hoping that I can remember how fortunate I am to be able to run this marathon as I go through the final week of preparation.
- I declared my intentions today. Not in a college application sort of way, but in a “I’m gonna run this marathon!” sort of way. In my case, the rite of passage was RSVP-ing for two pre-marathon pasta party and making arrangements for visiting the expo with friends on Friday. I finally think I can be convinced that I am truly ready to run this thing come Sunday. After today, they’ll be no turning back for me. All those who think there’ll be an extra open spot in my blue corral of Wave 1 will be disappointed.