Road to the Hamilton Marathon: The Big Dance

The hay is in the barn, as the common marathon saying goes.

Last time I checked in, I ran the best long run of my life. I proceeded to have the best week of training of my life. I totaled 58 miles with solid workouts, and I felt really good. Until Wednesday, though, that’s the last time I’ve felt good.

My next two weeks of training were a struggle as fatigue, abdominal pains from gas (ugh) and stress set in. I started taking probiotics and got back on an iron supplement, then carried on with training as best I could. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t fun. My final long run was a lot different (slower,more painful) from that beautiful 18-miler, but I finished it. Taper time was a gift. Finally, on Wednesday, I felt good. On Thursday, I felt like myself again. Just in time.

My confidence isn’t where it was before that amazing week, but I remember the years of hard work that have led me to this day. I’m healthy, and I haven’t lost anything even if I haven’t gained as much fitness as I would have liked in those final two weeks of training.

Tomorrow is the big dance.

I’m relaxing in my hotel room in Hamilton. My kit is ready to go. My check bag is packed with snacks, my iPod and race nutrition.

I had a lovely drive from Michigan. Canada is a pretty relaxed place. I love that.

Hamilton, a rusty steel town on Lake Ontario, reminds me of Detroit. It’s run down and seen better days, but I like its grit. And it’s quiet for a city of 500,000 people.

The race logistics seem fantastic. I park for free at the finish line, and they shuttle us over to the start. Waiting at the finish we have food and warm clothes.

Above all, I’m looking forward to a good day. The course is fast, and weather looks great. I’m going for a PR, planning to go carefully in those early miles and then seeing what I’ve got.

“If you can force your heart and nerves and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will, which says to them ‘hold on.'”

  • Rudyard Kipling

Head up, wings out.


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