My legs exuded the satisfying dull ache from a good run when I woke up this morning. Last night's final tuneup before the Akron Marathon lasted almost an hour. I left my watch at home and improvised my route.
No time, no distance.
With four days left before the marathon, I wanted a tough run without the pressure of meeting a timed goal. I ran down the long descent of Portage Path to Sand Run Parkway and then turned onto a par course trail that took me up the hill on a steeper path, meandering over to Merriman Road for the run back home.
That's what the Akron Marathon does to you, wrecks your quadriceps on a steep downhill and then attacks your hamstrings and calves as you slowly climb out of the Cuyahoga River valley.
I ignored the taper pains in my right groin. I will feel pain during the marathon. I will have to manage the discomfort like I did last night, by keeping my running fourm in check.
I've been thinking a lot about my goals four this race. I've been consumed with my time goal. But is that the most important aspect of running the Akron Marathon? Four is the magic number. Four days to go. Four hours -- hopefully less than -- of running. Therefour, four goals:
- Have fun
- Focus on good fourm
- Feed off the crowd (spectators, other runners)
- Break four hours
I'm putting the time goal last, as it is appropriately fourth on my list. My first priority is to enjoy the run, soak in the great crowd support, feel the camaraderie of my fellow racers, and don't get discouraged if it's not my day. While I have a time goal, I want to reduce the pressure of a time goal. Race times are not the reason I run.
Dobson the wonder puppy is a year old today. Happy birthday buddy. The Enthusiast and I got him when he was three months old. He effectively ended my stretching routine. He got his own beer. And he's provided endless joy ... with a tiny bit of frustration mixed in for good measure.
Here he is enjoying the view along the Towpath. Yes, he got a haircut. Old news that went unreported.