While the rest of the world (aka Chicago runners) is up at arms and freaking out about the 55° weather expected for race day, I, on the other hand, am about as calm as I have ever been about a marathon. I have not checked the weather in the past 24 hours. I have not packed a single item into my travel pack. I have not even watched the race course preview in its entirety that's right there on the corner of my own website! You might be wondering - Is Lam so confident in his own abilities that he can afford not to worry? Is he preparing not to race this one all-out? Is he perhaps trying to play some Jedi mind trick to make himself believe this is not a race with an all important goal?
Honestly, the truth is that I've already come to the terms with myself that this race may not turn out exactly right for me. I don't know about others but I've had a pretty disastrous couple of weeks juggling work, running, and tapering. I pulled my right hammy running tempo a little too aggressively last week. My body is fighting a viral infection that I probably got from one of the kids late last week and I haven't really had a solid long workout run since the run over the Palisades 3 weeks ago! To say that I'm a little unprepared for this all-out marathon effort is a bit of an understatement.
But on the bright side, I do feel that I have at least a fighting chance of running sub-3. Even if my taper wasn't as effective as I'd imagine it'd be, it shouldn't take away all the training I've done over the entire duration of the past 16 weeks. If I've lost a few seconds/mi of fitness over my projected marathon pace of 6:43, I should still have enough breathing room to come in under 3 hours. If my hammy doesn't give out and cramp mid-race and I remain in control of my pace, my body and my emotions, I believe the goal is still achievable.
Whatever happens though, I am already satisfied of how far I've come this year in my running. I withstood a couple 70+ mile/weeks during this cycle and proved to myself that training 5, even 6 days a week won't automatically land me in the D.L. I learned about active recovery and perfected my form. More than anything, I can stand in front of the mirror now and not cringe when I call myself an athlete. Sure it will be great to have the validation afforded by a marathon PR and a sub-3 time, but if it doesn't happen, I already know what I'm all about as a runner. I will be fine. I no longer need the label of a great race time to define me. Others may need the digits on a clock to categorize and validate me but I personally no longer place such importance on my performance or such demands on my body to meet/exceed expectations.
In five days, I can guarantee that I will run well, I will run fast, and I will run to the best of my ability. Whatever happens after that, I will deal with and accept. After all, isn't that what running is all about? Maybe that's why I am no longer anxious. Maybe that's why I'm no longer scared. We fear what we do not know. In my case, I already know myself. What is there left to fear? All that's left to do is to show the world what I've already come to know for quite some time - this guy is a runner and a mighty fine one at that!
Friends, are we ready to show the world what we've got? In FIVE days...READY, SET, CHICA--GO!