I hit my peak week (for mileage) about three weeks ago. My peak was just over 50 miles which is okay as I’ve only been running for a little over six months and that was about as high as I could safely ramp up during the four month training plan. My goal was to taper for three weeks, with mileage of roughly 45, 35 and 25 the weeks leading to the marathon. That plan pretty much hit a snag after a particularly hard 8-mile Friday tempo run. I set a new pace threshold (about 8:20 per mile) but my right knee was aching the next day. So Saturday’s 6-miler got postponed altogether– which was the first time I could not make a scheduled run in the last four months. I thought that maybe with an extra day off, I could still do Sunday’s long run, my last 12-miler before the race. Come Sunday morning… not so. My knee pain was worse and I could barely limp through a couple of miles. Uh oh. Three weeks until the marathon and I could only log 28 miles for the entire week. I’m in trouble.
Long story short… I had to take another couple of days off. I managed a few easy 6-mile runs that week and an easy 10-miler on Sunday for a total of 30 miles for the week. All on the treadmill as it was cold and miserable outside. The week before the marathon and my knee pain was tolerable but I only logged 15 miles before Saturday’s race.
The trip to Charleston was nice. Hot wife and I took off work Thursday and Friday. We drove down Thursday, checked into the Historic Renaissance Hotel downtown and had dinner at Poogan’s Porch in the evening. We skipped breakfast Friday, went to pick up our race packets, stopped by The Citadel (my alma mater) and ate a lot of pasta at an Olive Garden for lunch. Dinner was a moderate meal at Leaf, another fancy restaurant downtown.
Saturday morning we ate some peanut butter bagles and got dressed for the 2-mile walk to the starting line. We dropped off our bags that were trucked to the finish line. It was a pretty smooth operation altogether.
Then at 8am, we gathered at the starting line with a couple thousand of our closest friends. I didn’t look at my watch when the gun went off but the race started within a minute or two of when it was supposed to. There were no corrals but it wasn’t too cluttered for the first couple hundred yards and it wasn’t too hard to get with your pace group.
Mile 1: I quickly settled in to my goal 9:00 pace and 160-165 heart rate. I saw the 3:45 pace guy and though to myself, I’d better slow a bit as I know I can’t hang with this group.