Four weeks


Four weeks from right now, the marathon will be over. Training has gone remarkably well – I have stuck closely to my training program, and feel strong and prepared. I’m pain-free!

I hit a little hitch in training for a couple of weeks, though. I came down with strep (thank you, school-age children), and started antibiotics. I felt fan-freakin-tastic for about 48 hours, and then suddenly, my temp was 103 and I was calling in reinforcements to help with the kids. The strep was back with a vengeance. I switched antibiotics, and was feeling better soon, but I ended up spending the better part of four days on the sofa. That was the week I was supposed to do my 20 miler. By Saturday of that week, I was upright, but in no way prepared to run 20. I ran 8 and walked another mile, which I deeply regretted, as my back was in pain afterward. This past week, I hobbled through my weekday runs. I managed to get my prescribed mileage by running two short runs per day, and taking a lot of ibuprofen. This morning, my back was better, but I was really nervous about attempting 14.

I was actually out the door early, and arrived at Free Union before dawn. I had the bad fortune of setting my hydration vest down in what I discovered was a patch of poison ivy, and then I dropped my car key somewhere in the field. Well, shit. A very brief retracing of steps and I found the key, hooray. I strapped on my contaminated vest, listened to Mark’s speech, and hit the road at sunrise, grateful that my running buddy was there.

We elected not to run the loop – neither of us were really keen on running Catterton, and if ever there was a day I needed a bulletproof exit strategy, this was it. We ran four out and back, then took a picturesque detour down Chapel Springs road. It was so beautiful it was unreal. There were horses, and a red barn, and giant oak trees in rolling pastures, and hot air balloons, and mountains turning autumn gold, and mist in the valleys.

Another, shorter out and back, and we ended up at parking with just 13.7 on the GPS, so we blazed past until the watches jingled, then walked happily back to the cars. I felt like I could have run all day, and I am actually looking forward to 22 next weekend. Fingers crossed I stay healthy this week.

I spent the rest of the day drunk on endorphins. I took the kids to a local orchard to watch cider being pressed, and then we bought a gallon of cider that had been whole apples just minutes before. If I could have bottled the scenery this morning and put it in a glass, that’s what it would have tasted like. Cheers to autumn!


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