Now inside eight weeks to the Philadelphia Marathon, and into the most intense period of training, my focus is turning to the What Elses. As in: what else can I do...what else do I need to do...what else should I not do?
The answers are mostly the same they have been for the past 18 weeks, when I started the countdown. Stay on the training program. Get enough sleep. Eat right. Keep perspective. Read about first-time marathon running. Talk to experienced marathon runners. Rest. Don't run farther than the plan prescribes, even when I'm feeling like I can do more. Don't supplant running time with biking time (that's a tough one!). Relax. Keep the blog updated - thanks to everyone who keeps asking me how it's going!
And then I think about the other What Else. What else can you do? I don't mean that introspectively: I mean You.
Here it is:
1. Come out with me for part or all of a run - on foot or on your bike. I'm out every Saturday and Sunday morning in the Wissahickon. Weekdays, I'm either in the Wissahickon or running home from work in Center City. Bike to work from Mt. Airy? Ride along with me for part of the way home.
2. Send a contribution to Metropolitan Career Center. I could have done this marathon training and race quietly, like normal people. But I realized that if this is just about me, well, it would just be about me. MCC helps people train for a much more important course: getting and keeping good jobs to support their families. They still need our support. Click the orange Donate button near the top of this page.
3. Come out to the marathon to cheer me on. 26.2 miles is a long way to run, and seeing friendly faces along the route will be a great boost, especially in the middle of the course. I've you've never seen a marathon in person, it's quite a site: thousands of people pouring themselves out to accomplish a big goal. Elite runners fly along the course with inspiring and incredible agility. You'll see people of all ages (14 - 84) and body types, some smiling, some grimmacing, some looking like they're going to keel over any minute, some looking like they can go on forever.
You can watch and cheer at any point along the marathon course. Or party at one of the cheer zones. In the next couple of weeks, I'll post a couple of pics of my marathon outfit so you'll be able to recognize me among the crowd of runners.