Yep, it's that close! Wow. Time has really flown by the past month. For so long, it seemed like the marathons were an eternity away. I guess when I signed up for Chicago in February, it really was an eternity away. Then, 2 months, later I won a lottery spot in NYC. Now, here I sit with less than 3 weeks until Chicago and only 7 short weeks until NYC. I can't believe they are both just around the corner. I looked at the calendar today and realized I better get these next few weeks figured out before they completely fly by and I don't get all of the "to-do" lists completed.
Last week was a blur, thus the reason for no blog posts. Sunday afternoon I flew out to Chicago for a work conference. I spent the next few days visiting with customers, eating great food, enjoying perfect weather, and really wondering why I was flying back to Oklahoma. It was so nice in Chicago. I really love that city. Then again, everyone there told me to come back in 3 months and try it again. They said I wouldn't love it as much in the winter. However, I am a cold weather boy so it's not a foregone conclusion that I would hate Chicago in the winter. While in Chicago, I had the chance to get in my long run since I was attacked by food poisoning a week ago, Friday. I was scheduled to log 14 miles with my Chicago partner, but had to skip it and sleep in so I could get better before the business trip. It actually worked out really well. I hate being sick, but it forced my obsessive compulsive side relax a bit and reschedule my long run. For those that know me, I don't mess with the schedule much. If it says run 14 miles on Saturday, by gosh, I am going to run 14 miles on Saturday. As I have become more "experienced" in the world of endurance sports I am becoming more accommodating to schedule changes. Chalk that one up to the injury bug forcing me to roll with the punches.
I left Chicago really pleased with my run and a renewed confidence that everything was going to be ok. I am still not predicting a huge PR at the full marathon distance, but I am confident I can make it work and hopefully finish in a time I think is representative of my current physical state. I expect it to be better than Dallas, but not a shattering of records. My knee isn't perfect, but the recovery time after runs is getting less and the pain during my runs is much more manageable. I hope it continues to get better with my scaled back mileage the next 2 weeks and I can hit the streets of Chicago with one less burden. It's not like 26.2 miles aren't enough to make you second guess every little ache and pain.
On Wednesday I flew back to Oklahoma and dropped in the office for an hour or so before heading off to Tulsa for the annual sports tournament of the statewide natural gas industry association. It's always a really good time and it provides an excuse for all of us to get together, have a few drinks, play some sports, and enjoy not being in the office for a day or so. It's also held at the Hard Rock hotel which is actually quite nice. I even got upgraded to a suite so I took full advantage of an ice bath in a whirlpool. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! Wow, I wish I could make that a routine for my ice baths at home. The reason for the ice bath was a very hot, humid, and hilly 9 miles on Thursday morning. I ran in the backwoods of Catoosa, OK, and really needed an ice bath to calm the legs before going bowling. Speaking of bowling, I actually won high male bowler for the tournament. Go figure. I did bowl really well, but I am not a great bowler usually. I play in a beer league during the winter, but we never take ourselves seriously. I usually average in the mid-100s. Maybe all that beer league finally paid off.
After recovering for a night, I hit the weekend knowing it was going to be a blur. Saturday morning started off with Team-in-Training practice in the lovely hills north of Edmond. I felt so sorry for those ladies. It was hot, sticky, and hilly. In other words, I was glad I wasn't running that course. After TNT practice, I showered and headed up to Stillwater for the 3rd consecutive Oklahoma State University home game. We throttled the University of Tulsa and it left me ready for Big 12 action. I can't wait to see how my 'Boys shape up against the rest of the conference. I think we might sneak up and surprise a few people this year.
Sunday was my long run. I was scheduled for 14 miles again, but since I haven't ran more than 15 miles this training season, I decided to go ahead and do 16 miles since the knee was feeling better. Man, I really wish I hadn't felt like an over-achiever and had stuck to the 14. The weather sucked. I know I complain about the weather a lot. I apologize to those of you who are annoyed. I hate heat. It makes every run miserable. For starters, I must have left my handheld water bottle at one of my hotels because I no longer have it. Secondly, I am not a fan of 4 full bottles on the Fuel Belt. I do run with the Fuel Belt on occasion, but I usually only fill 2 bottles and wear them on the front of the belt. Due to the lack of the handheld, I knew I needed to try and run with 4 bottles b/c otherwise I wouldn't have enough fluid. I sweat a lot. When you add on the fact it was 80+ degrees with 70%+ humidity, I sweat A LOT. There was no way that 32 ounces of water/gatorade was going to be enough for my run. Luckily there were a few water fountains along the way, but even then I couldn't keep up with my hydration. By the end of the run I was over it. Completely over it. I was drenched. Salty. Weak. Thirsty. Hot. Hating life. I was so ready to be done. I also started battling with cramps late in my run. I attribute all of this to summer. I hate you summer. Go away. I was happy to get in my longest run for the year and just pray that this weekend is much cooler. Katie and I will tackle our 20 mile training run this weekend and I will be scouting the local Redman triathlon to make sure it's "the one" for my quest to become an Ironman. After that, it's taper madness and final preparations for marathon numero dos.