I trained the way I wanted to. I found my pace. I dodged major injury and recovered from minor ones. I stayed focused. I tapered. This week, I fought off illness. Even the weather is cooperating.
Now I am ready to race.
This morning, I ran my short run with a "Chris Carmichael" half mile, at speed, to get my carbo loading engines going. Now I am eating, and kicking back. It is very hard for me to do nothing. I am watching a video of Bruce Springsteen's first concert in London, in 1975, the audio cranked up loud on my headphones. Later I will watch some college football and eat some more, finishing with a light dinner. I will be in bed by 8 p.m.
I don't know how the race is going to turn out, or if I will make my goal. But I intend to have fun. Ok, at least for the first 20 miles.
So many people have given me so much support, and will be doing so Sunday. Mentors, training partners, family and friends. Running a marathon can seem like such a solitary endeavor. But it really does take a village. Thanks to all.
I was injured and all but out of running from September 2008 through March of this year. I missed last year's CIM. When I started running again, and was ready to do a 5K, my friend Mary gave me some advice.
"Enjoy the pain," she said. "Remember how much you missed this when you couldn't run, couldn't race. Now you are ready to go again."
The end of a hard 5K is one of the most painful things in sport. But Mary told me to enjoy it. "Have fun," she said.
I took her to heart and ran a good race, and ever since then I have tried to smile during even the toughest moments of competition. Oddly enough, my new attitude seems to help me do better.
I guess it makes sense. We do this to have fun, right? Sometimes it is easy to forget that. Mary reminded me.
Of course, the final six miles of the marathon will be a major test of that philosophy. They will be hard. But they shouldn't be any more painful than the final steps of a 5K. I should be able to have fun. Or at least smile.
If you see me on the course, just yell, "Smile, Dan!"
I will try to oblige. But even if I can't get the smile to my face, I will be feeling it inside. Somewhere in there.
Thanks for reading. Good luck Sunday to all the runners. And thank you to all of you who support us.