I’ll Be Right Beside You Dear

Pre-Marathon It’s remarkable how out of shape one can feel just three days before a marathon.

This was my statement to Abbigail as we began running this morning.

My knees were sore (especially the one wrecked from last year’s freak slide accident). My hips were sore. I felt stiff and tired.

Now, we planned the wedding and everything else around the New York City Marathon (my eighth, Abbi’s third). In fact, in an effort to coordinate our honeymoon with our taper (traditionally, the three weeks prior to any marathon involve far fewer miles than the twelve prior), we briefly considered getting married on Saturday, October 13th.


Color us superstitious.

Anyway, we’re picking up our race packets this afternnoon. The race itself is Sunday morning.

Are we ready? Tough to say.

We’ve remained fairly faithful to our traning schedule, even with business trips, rock shows and wedding planning. In fact, we both ran (seperately) on the morning of our wedding. We’ve done our long runs. And we got one heck of a taper in there in the Maldives.

Still, a marathon is an incredibly variable thing.

It’s a long race: one mile of Verrazano Bridge, eleven miles of Brooklyn, a mile and a half of Queens, one more mile of bridge (this time, the Queensboro which — by mile fifteen — feels like Mount Everest), four on First Avenue, one in Harlem, and then — the doozy — five and a half in Central Park.

This morning, Central Park was bustling with activity. The 840 acre park is playing host two two events this weekend: Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday, and the NYC Marathon on Sunday. The finish line was in place, our attempts to practice our victorious tape-breaking thwarted by police gates. Park Drive was lined with trailers and security vehicles. Joggers fresh off the red eye were posing by the statue of New York Road Runner founder (and inaugural NYC Marathon runner) Fred LeBow.

Above The Ramble, though, all was quiet. The sun was just rising over the trees. The leaves were just beginning to yellow. The day was just beginning.

By the time we passed Bethesda Fountain (eight months to the day from when I proposed to Abbi there), I felt strong.

Like this morning, one can start a race poorly and then gain strength, or start strong and lose it. It’s a roller coaster, and — training, diet and rest notwithstanding — there’s not much one can do to affect the outcome.

Or at least not much I can do.

All things being equal — no dehydration, cramps, g.i. issues — I expect we’ll run it in 4:30 or so.

And if we’re lucky, we’ll get in a few miles with Chris and Jen, and spot Ron and Jodi, Pedro and Pembry, CJ and Megan, and my mom along the way.

And yes, Abbi and I will finish it together.

Oddly enough, I can’t wait.

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