Fall is a great season in Austin. The grueling 100°F+ summer days are over, which means clothes other than shorts and sandals can leave the closet, mornings and evenings are gorgeous, and, if you are lucky, you have been able to take some days off the daily grind and traveled to some gorgeous beach, mountain, city, or otherwise relaxing destination of your choice for a well-deserved vacation. For runners who are doing a marathon in the fall, it means the sweat-drenching training runs in the intense heat are becoming more bearable as the days cool down. At this point, they should be peaking on their distance and speed training, and feeling the indescribable excitement of race day being only a short few weeks away. If running a destination race, transportation and lodging reservations should be completed by now, and all that is left to do is keep up with the training program for a couple of more weeks until the tapering period begins and race day arrives.
I will be running New York, one of the six World Marathon Majors at one of the most iconic cities in the globe. I intended to run it last year, but fate and mother nature decided differently. They sent hurricane Sandy as their envoy to the East Coast at the end of October, and the NYC Marathon had to be cancelled for the first time in its 42 years, so that city government efforts were focused on helping the victims and rebuilding the city. And so, my meeting with the five boroughs and more than forty thousand runners from around the world was not meant to be in 2012. That gave me the opportunity to fully recover from an achilles injury that had been haunting me for most of that year and which threatened my attendance to the race, regardless of Sandy.
Training is part of my daily life, it is something I love to do and a part of my day I always look forward to. Sometimes the weight of the long work days seems to whisper in my ear trying to convince me that it will be okay if I skip, to which my body seems to agree, as the comfort of resting at home soothes away the exhaustion after a work day that sometimes begins at dawn. And so, will power takes over and pushes me to go into the hot, humid Texas nights and give my best physical and mental effort, stick to the plan, and complete each training session knowing that the reward is well worth it.
Everyone who has run a marathon knows the glorious feeling of completing a daunting journey that pushes the human body beyond the limits it was designed for. Contrary to what many people think, it is not a mere 26.2 mile race, it is more often a 500+ mile race. For me, by the time I begin my ascent onto the Verrazano Bridge on Staten Island on November 3rd, I will have run around 750 miles specific to this race. So the final 26.2 miles will be the recognition to the months of hard work and sacrifice that have been invested into this amazing experience. And for those who will be completing their first marathon, it will be the right of passage into an elite group whose members have life-long bragging rights, regardless of whether it takes them 2:03:38 hours or 8 hours to complete the course, they now will be marathoners for the rest of their life.