Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ready as I’ll ever be

I ran my last marathon training run on Saturday: eight beautiful, sunny miles up and down the lakefront. My legs were feeling a bit sluggish after last week’s sprints (and a yoga class I probably threw myself into a bit too vigorously), so I decided to do no more below-the-waist activities (please keep your giggles to yourselves) this week so I can be completely healed and fresh for the marathon on Sunday.

The last run is always kind of hard in a weird, sentimental kind of way. I’ve developed little emotional attachments to certain landmarks and stretches along the trail, and I’m seeing them for probably the last time until spring:
• The Land o’ Shirtless Gay Muscleboys between Irving Park and Belmont
• The Gateway to Bigger Accomplishments between Belmont and Diversey (if I cross Belmont, that means I’m doing something more epic than a basic 5-mile run)
• The majestic Native American statue perfectly framed in a grove of trees near Diversey
• The drinking fountain at Diversey (BLESS YOU, city planners!)
• The Art Deco bridge and the gorgeous lake views between Diversey and Fullerton
• The four-headed drinking fountain at Fullerton
• The Land o’ Shirtless Straight Muscleboys between Fullerton and North (hot musclebodies + acres of beach volleyball courts = lots of welcome distraction)
• The outdoor chess pavilion and the concrete jungle south of North (you’re running right along Lake Shore Drive here, which generates a sense of urban street cred … but you have to hold your tummy in so people driving by just inches away from you can’t see how gooey you are)
• The Gateway to Supernova Coolness between Oak Street Beach and Navy Pier (if I’m running down there, I’m doing at least 15 miles, which makes me the prettiest little pony in the UNIVERSE)

Notice I didn’t mention anything north of Irving Park. It’s pretty enough, but there’s almost NOBODY running up there, so the whole area is a Land o’ Boredom that’s just something to endure at the beginning and end of each run. I won’t miss it one bit this winter.

While I’m not running this week—and since my four-month work glut has come to a welcome pause at the moment—I’ve been getting in some seriously hardcore upper-body workouts over the last few days. I’m in no danger of becoming a International Male physique model in the near future, but it’s been awesome feeling a serious pump in my muscles again … not to mention that achy burn feeling when I pee the day after a good workout.

And now, all that’s left to do is wait. And carbo-load. And pick up my race packet on Saturday. And not oversleep on Sunday.

And then beat 4:36:31 … which I think I could easily do, if only because I’m not running injured this year. My goal is to beat 4:00, but that involves shaving more than a minute per mile off last year’s run. (Again: I’m counting on that not-injured-this-year thing to help.)

And on Monday? Perhaps a nice massage. And a good shaving of my tummy, which I’ve been leaving un-manscaped so it won’t rub or itch or chafe during the marathon. And then, perhaps, a long and rambling blog post. Or two.

Or maybe just a nap.

No comments: