Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Big 1-0 (and a half)

Well, this is it. My distance training is done. If I'm not ready now, I won't be ready for the race.

Sunday was the Big Day -- the day I ran my first double digit distance. It still feels a little strange to say that, despite the fact that over the months of training I've slowly started to think of myself as more of a "runner."

I'm definitely not fast, I'm sure my form is way off and I certainly don't have a runner's body (darn it!). But I like running. And, to me, that makes me a runner.

I ran 10 miles on Sunday. Yes, 10 miles. (Actually, it ended up being 10 1/2 miles.) It was the longest training run we'll do before the Big Race. Surprisingly, it felt good.

Maybe it was the warmer weather. (Boy, it sure is nicer running when it's in the 30s, a welcome change from the single digits I endured last week!) Maybe it was knowing that this run was the last shot at a long run before the race.

Whatever it was, I was pleasantly surprised that Sunday's run wasn't a struggle.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I was a bit nervous about the Big 1-0 on the training schedule. My mid-week training schedule hasn't been what it should be lately -- a battle for daylight, sub-freezing temps and the busy holiday season are a bad mix for training.

I made sure to hydrate a little more than I normally would on Saturday night and Sunday morning. I ate a good breakfast and did lots of stretching.

We started out slow, making our way through downtown Portsmouth. At points, we carefully navigated snowbanks and icy spots.

Our team is small now. Just me and the Disney marathoners, Kara and Erika. It was nice to have a small team on Sunday as we talked about all the Disney details -- where we would be to cheer each other on along the route, how we'd get to the airport, what we'd pack.

Race Day is finally in our sights -- not just a pie-in-the-sky training goal. We're talking details and thinking about what it will be like.

Dave, our mentor, ran the Disney Marathon last year and shared some inside tips with us. Kara and I agreed that we'd like to have Dave with us in Florida. He's a great mentor, running with us every week, offering us encouragement and practical advice -- not to mention a much-needed donation to our fundraising campaigns last week.

After the Downtown Loop, I ran the Newcastle Loop. It's been a while since I've run this route. It felt good to see the familiar sights and know the landmarks. It felt good to see Coach Jack pull up in his car along the route to check in on my progress. It felt good to hear Coach Jack and Dave clapping as I made it to the Old Mobil Water Stop -- only one mile to go at that point.

Dave joined me for the last mile. He pulled ahead of me as we turned into the school to end Sunday's run, so he couldn't see me smiling as I finished my 10+ miles on Sunday. But I know I was smiling.

We'll use the next couple of weeks to taper down our runs, giving our legs a chance to rest up for Race Day. (Judging by my tired legs Monday morning, I'll enjoy the shorter runs -- and be better prepared for some tired legs after Race Day.)

Despite the months of training and preparation, I can't believe that the Disney Half is just 16 days away. And I'm ready.


Have you donated to my fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society? If not, please consider doing so. You can donate online at Please pass this link to everyone you know. Every dollar helps me get a little closer to the Disney 13.1!


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