One week to go until Grandma's. I am in great shape. The weather looks favorable...decent temps with quite possibly a tailwind.
One week ago, however, I did not know what the heck was the problem. I was a little off my game at Dam to Dam. I attribute that not to warm temps at 75 up to 80f, but mainly to the humidity on the day in Des Moines. When I walked out of the hotel I was thinking to myself "Holy Mother of God!?!?"
I should have adjusted my plan to running even split 5 min miles over the tricky course with even a 5:05 from the gun for the first mile. This would have given me a better shot to be in the top 3.
But instead I went 4:48, 4:45, 4:48, 4:52 for the first 4 and then it was game over. 6th place. Solo 8 miles to the finish. My competitive instincts got the best of me and then so did the conditions.
So I was reminded how important flexibility is and again I learned a lot about adjusting game plans. I will be a bit more savvy on the journey from Two Harbors to Duluth.
The positive thing was that I never, ever gave up even though I had some 5:15 miles in there. I fought the best I could until the finish line, and really that is all you can ask from yourself.
This is how it is for any level of runner. I have always believed that is one of the greatest things about the sport; that every person running the race has 1 similar goal - to get to the finish the best they possibly can. Some folks are just blessed with a better genetic make-up for distance running and can run a certain distance faster. Big deal. Unless you are Haile Gebresellasie there will always be someone faster.
But when you have a great day, you have gotten the most out of your mind and body, and you beat people you aren't supposed to; you get to the finish line the best you possibly can - this is a beautiful thing.
I will say that I love being in a pack of the journeyman Kenyans and Ethiopians and being the only white boy. At Dam to Dam, I just wanted to beat all of them...I mean just crush them and have a perfect final two weeks of prep for Grandma's.
Instead, I will just have to make the last week perfect and give it another shot up on Hwy 61.
There are some good Americans in the field as well, but if we all were to have our best days out there I feel like I am the best of that bunch. But that's the thing, it all depends on the day and what your body will allow you to do. I'm almost certain that these guys would feel the same about themselves, and this will add to the allure of the race.
I am and will be prepared for this race and I will be as competitive as is humanly possible.
When all is said and done, I believe I am a 2:12 marathoner on my absolutely greatest, most perfect day. That result may or may not happen in a week, but I will go into this sucker with a smart race plan and nothing but positive energy flowing through the veins.
When it starts getting to the really painful part of the marathon I will let the mind be in charge and will not turn back. Let's do this.
This baby got my heartrate rollin':