6 days from now I will have finished celebrating the end of the NYC Marathon and (hopefully) be tucked into my nice, warm bed heading off to sleep.  On Sunday I will cover 26.2 miles (plus all the extra distance that one can expect to add in a crowded mega-race such as NYC).  It will likely take me between 5 and 5 1/2 hours to cover that distance.  But, of course, the journey of my NYC Marathon started just over 6 months ago in late April. Over the past 6 months I’ve run 442 miles (give or take), raised $2833.20 for charity, and learned more than a few life lessons. As cliché as it sounds, the 26.2 miles from Staten Island to Central Park is really just the icing on the cake.

The most common question I’m asked is “Are you ready?” And, for me, the answer is an unequivocal YES! I’ve been pretty faithful to Jeff Galloway’s training plan.  I’ve only missed a few long runs (I think the last one I missed altogether was in May) and only cut a few long runs short (I ran 27 miles instead of 29, for example).  My injuries have been relatively minor, although I will admit that my nagging 5th metatarsal in my left foot scares me a bit. I did all of the assigned speed work, including 14 x 1 mile repeats.  And every mile repeat I ran was at or below my assigned pace (20 seconds faster than race pace).  I know I can cover the distance.  

Weather reports look AWESOME! Low of 40F.  High of 54F.  0% chance of rain.  Rain is predicted on Friday which looks like it’ll bring a cooling pattern for the weekend.  If this advance forecast holds, we will be super lucky.  Ideal marathon conditions. I’m running my home city.  I was born at Mount Sinai Hospital, across the street from Central Park.  I work in the Bronx.  I really feel like I belong in NY.  I know I’m going to savor every mile.  

So what scares me for Sunday?

The unknown.  This marathon is HUGE, even for someone who is used to runDisney’s crowds.  The field will be almost twice as large as the Disney Marathon.  And the logistics.  I need to get to a bus in Midtown Manhattan at 6am to arrive on Staten Island by 7am because the Verrazano Bridge closes at 7am.  And then the only way to Staten Island is either ferry or going through New Jersey.  My start time for the marathon is close to 11am.  Which means 4 hours of sitting on Staten Island waiting to start.  I’m lucky that I chose to run for charity because there will be a tent to wait inside but it’s a long time to wait.  And remember that many of my long runs were done at 4am and not in the middle of the day.

The pacing.  I’ve run my long runs at 2 min/mile slower than race pace.  I know I can run 27 miles in 6 hours.  Can I run 26 miles in 5:15? I’m not sure.  Jeff Galloway emailed the race plan to me today.  1st six miles at 12 min/mile pace.  Miles 6-15 at 11:45 min/mile pace.  Miles 16-20 at 11:45 or 11:30 pace.  Then whatever pace I want for the last 10k.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to handle this distance at a faster pace and I’ll crash and burn.  Again, I know I can cover the distance but I’m not sure I can cover the distance as fast as I’d like.  Truthfully 12 min/mile pace is still a huge PR for me and maybe I shouldn’t go too crazy….

My foot.  It feels ok but not perfect.  I don’t think there’s anything I can do right now to help it get better except take my runs easy this week and hope it holds up ok.  Usually it feels best when I’m wearing my Hokas so I’ll just go with that.

Ultimately, there’s little I can do this week to prepare for Sunday.  I’ll do my short runs on Tuesday and Thursday.  Jeff Galloway still has me playing with some ratios this week to get used to them.  I’m going to drink tons of fluid and try to eat healthy.  Hopefully I’ll get some good sleep (I’m on call until Friday morning so I can only hope for the best).  I’m grateful to have so many people thinking about me on Sunday.  My splits should post on Facebook and Twitter for those who want to follow along.  It’s been a great journey to the starting line!