On the way to drop Carter off at school there is a billboard for the Route 66 Marathon with a race day countdown and I get butterflies in my stomach every time I see it! Once it got down to single digit days I really started to get excited! I am a little nervous that my fall race schedule ended up making my last 20+ mile long run 5 weeks out from race day rather than 3 weeks out like I'd prefer but I'm not stressing about it since I missed my 2nd 20 miler during my first marathon training build because I was sick so I was in a similar situation then and that's when I ran my PR. This training build was a bit of a whirlwind since I decided to switch to marathon training 13 weeks out with my long run only at 10 miles at that point. I was able to run long runs of 12, 14, 16, 18, 15, 20, 22, and 15 miles during my build. My 22 miler went really well with an average pace under 9:00 minutes per mile (which would put me under 4 hours in the marathon) and my last 6 miles in 8:42, 8:25, 8:32, 8:30, 8:32, and 8:04. I feel confident that even with my training not being quite what I'd have liked that I can continue my streak of running all my marathons in under 4 hours. Last weekend I ran a 15 miler and surprised myself with an 8:26 average pace that felt like a pace I could have run for much longer and finished with my last 2 miles under 8 minute pace.
Although I would like to break 4 hours on race day, I'm definitely not focused on my time. My goal is to run the race with Jeremy and enjoy myself. Jeremy ran my first marathon with me and now we will be running his first marathon after his accident together which seems fitting. I get emotional thinking about running a marathon side by side with him in about a week. It's amazing to me that he's alive and I'm always reminding myself how lucky we are to have him here with us. The fact that he can run 20+ miles is just unbelievable. There was a point in his recovery when I thought I'd never get to run with him again. There was a point when I thought pushing him in a wheelchair during a race would be the closest he'd ever come to crossing another finish line. And here we are less than 2 years later with him preparing to run his first marathon in 9 years after already completing numerous 20 mile long runs. The excitement and miraculousness of that is not lost on me. So if you see me at the finish line of the race, don't be surprised if you see tears. I'll be crossing that line next to my brother who we almost lost 2 years ago and who has defied all odds during his recovery. He is a testament of strength and determination. Watching his journey has been so motivating, inspiring, and thought provoking. His attitude toward his continued running has amazed me. He has not once complained that he is slower than he used to be. He reminds me to be grateful for the ability to run, no matter what my time or how far off my PR I am. And goodness knows, I need that! This may be the most excited I've ever been for a race because to me it's not just a race, it's another chapter in the story of Jeremy's recovery and a pretty big one at that! And I get to be there with him the whole way, assuming he doesn't outkick me at the finish!