Me committing to run the New York City Marathon and deciding to publicly write about it was the suburban-mom equivalent of playing your first game of poker at a high stakes table in Vegas, pushing your chips into the middle, standing up and declaring with conviction that you’re all-in. Yep, I’m all-in all right, and with just over 16 weeks to go, this sh*t is getting real. Which is why I hedged my bet and hired a coach.
How I got into this spot is a story in and of itself, but not long after I learned I got into the marathon, I knew that if I was going to run this legendary race and seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, then I was going to do it right and to run it to my maximum (45 year old) potential. I also knew that “doing it right” would mean doing something other than piecing together a training plan from a couple of books and a few magazine articles (which is how I managed to cross the finish line during my last marathon, at age 32). The hunt for a coach was on.
While I know amazing local coaches who no doubt would have helped me get the job done, I ultimately settled on the coaches who know the race and the course better than anyone else: the NYRR Virtual Training team and my newly assigned Coach John (hi John!). It is enough that I am preparing to run 26.2 miles, but layered on top of that is my complete unfamiliarity with the course. When I run a local race, I know the landmarks, I can look at the map and envision the hills (ok, overpasses) I will have to climb. But on the day of the marathon, I will step foot on Staten Island for the very first time, ditto for all of the other boroughs with the exception of Manhattan. Given his knowledge of the course, and the program’s promise of individually tailoring the training to each runner, my hope is that even though I will be training 2500 miles from New York, with my Coach’s guidance and instruction, I will be fully prepared by the time I arrive at the start.
My husband also would want me to confess that access to a heated tent and food before the race as part of the training package also was a contributing factor to my decision to go with NYRR. I’m not going to lie – the heated tent was an especially enticing perk for this California girl.
My official training program begins in 6 days. Up until now, my focus has been on staying healthy, building a running base, staying injury-free, cross-training, and, did I mention, staying healthy? The words “I’m running the NYC Marathon” rolled casually and easily off my tongue because, quite frankly, the real work behind those words really has not started. On Monday, that changes.
I have a race on Saturday, two days before I hand the reins over to my Coach. My husband observed last night that I’m more anxious and nervous about my first-day-of-training 5 mile run than I am about the 13.1 mile race.
Of course I am. I always get this way before the first day of school.
I’m ready Coach. Let’s get to work! This is going to be FUN!