Sure, Barack Obama will be sworn into office, there's apparently word of a ceasefire in Gaza, and the economy's looking to tank even more than it has. All important, to be certain. But, this is also the week of the Carlsbad Marathon, the first of three marathons I shall attempt to complete in just 36 days.
I am trying to be calm. I realized shortly before my last 26.2 (CIM, Sacramento), at the beginning of December, that I don't get nervous about the events anymore. I've done enough of these goofy things that I know what to expect, give or take.
Since CIM I've done a number of 10, 13, and 15 mile long runs, just to keep my legs in the game. I am hoping the core fitness achieved prior to that race will see me through Carlsbad. Sunday's race is more of a last training run before Austin next month.
I've been getting comments from people who know both routes (Carlsbad and Austin), warning me of the hills. I almost panicked, but then realized that, prior to CIM I set my PR running the San Francisco Marathon. My second best time was set two months after SF in the Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland. Neither one of those routes is anything close to flat. So, no more worries about them thar' hills.
As if running a beach-side marathon isn't enough, the added treat for Carlsbad is that my brother's coming with me. He came with me to Portland a few years ago, back when he still smoked. Despite that, while there, he was inspired to sign up for his first 10K. After I took off for the marathon he ran his race. He'd set himself a goal of under an hour...and came in at 59 minutes. We then spent the rest of the weekend eating, drinking red wine, and sharing secrets only brothers will tell.
I'll be going to Austin by myself. Have not been back to Texas since Air Force basic training in 1973. My memories of the Lone Star State are those of someone who really did not want to be there. Will concede the beauty of San Antonio's River Walk...but will also admit that I've purposely avoided Texas...until now. Some say Austin's not really Texas...sort of like London's not really England. We'll see. I am seriously looking forward to exploring the capital city...and some sort of local BBQ.
Two weeks after Austin it's a local race, the Napa Valley Marathon. I've run it once before, and it is every bit as beautiful as you might expect. However, even rolling green grapevine-laced hills can get tedious after a couple of hours...and I was out there for 5:30. As a matter of fact, I was the last one to cross the finish line as the Highway Patrol reopened the course to vehicle traffic. I also recall the start, in Calistoga, was on one of the coldest morning's I've ever been outside.
It's going to be an interesting six weeks.