The Magnificent 7, to use teammate Bill Beagle's name, take to The Mountain, America's Mountain, Zebulon's Peak, whatever you want to call it, in three short days. Since there's no stopping Saturday from coming, here's what I'm doing to prepare:
- Having my usual existential pre-race shoe crisis...Hokas? Peregrine 2? Peregrine 3? Nike Kiger? I had planned on training in the Hokas and racing in something a bit flatter. I'm such a klutz, I'm not sure I want to deal with the tripping hazard that accompanies that extra 2 inches of Hoka comfiness.
- Eating. I've probably never been such a stickler about what and how often I eat. These past few weeks I've been super cognizant of eating enough despite being busy.
- Drinking. I can guarantee that no matter how much water I drink this week, I will find myself at 13,300' wishing I had hydrated better.
- Tapering. Seeing as I haven't been running, there's not much to taper from. Nonetheless, after another ride to the Peak and a power hike/run from one mile down back to the summit on Saturday I'm not putting a ton of miles in on the bike this week.
- Volunteering. So, for all you eager beavers out there who want to pick up your race packet the second the Expo begins (9:00am on Friday), I will be volunteering at packet pick up waiting to help you!
- Getting pumped! I'm that nerd that reads and rereads every e-mail I get from the good people at the Pikes Peak Marathon because with each word the excitement builds. According to the countdown on www.pikespeakmarathon.org at this precise moment there are 3d 8h 12m 20s until the fun all begins with the Expo on Friday.
Last, but not least, I'm reassessing my goals and continually reminding myself that getting through the Ascent in one piece, with both legs still securely attached, is far more important than running the 4:00 race that my heart was set on when the training cycle began. I don't have a time goal at this moment - there's next year, and the 40 years after that to see how fast I can climb that dang mountain. This year, I have to accept that I'm running on an injury and finishing the race is accomplishment enough. We'll see how that thought process holds up on race day, after all, I'm not a patient person. I'm also a runner through and through, even as I write this I'm thinking: Why walk if you can run?