Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fire?...Anybody Got Some Fire?

"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory." - Mahatma Gandhi

So, here I sit, 24 hours before the Mercedes Marathon, having a cup of coffee and watching the end of the Manchester United/Liverpool soccer game (I love soccer). I slept till 7:30 this morning because I knew I wasn't going to run so I didn't set an alarm and getting up at 7:30 really felt late. Maybe the object was to make me feel rested, but right now, I just feel lazy.

After 30+ years of running marathons/ultras, you develop a cetain routine, a certain anticipation, a certain fire. But lately, that just just seems harder and harder to light. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still love to run, and when my ankles allow me to, there is nothing better than a good long run. I can be alone, or I can be with friends, but the feeling of your legs carrying you over 10, 15, 20 miles is pure joy to me. But now that the PR's are history, the novelty of new challenges has past, and the inner embers merely smolder. I miss the, well...fear is I guess what you would call it as you would approach the race. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow, but it's with the same excitement that I approach a long training run. I love that I'm going be out there for a long time with only my legs powering me along, but I guess I feel a hole where that burn used to be.

Maybe a lot of it is that my energy for Mercedes has shifted to being the Pace Team Director and this has been a joy to do. I ran the first Mercdes in 2002 as a race, and then for the past 10 years, I have directed the Pace Team. I guess it's that "Coach" in me. If you pace somebody through a marathon (or longer), I guess you're a short-term coach. Telling a new marathoner to just hang close to me and don't worry about anything except moving and I'll get you there, is a ball. I remember a few years ago, right before the race, some guy asked "Do you guarantee I'll finish in 4:30?" I said, "No, I guarantee I'LL finish in 4:30!". Once, in the early years, I was pacing the 4:30 group, and GOT PASSED by the 4:45 pacer!! It was his first time pacing and he was a little too fiesty. I had to calm him down! Throughout the years, my job has been made easy because all my pacers are rock solid. Every year, I have a central core of my friends from the Darkside Running Club in Atlanta come over and all are always spot-on with their pacing. This year is no exception. But, we also had a couple of local runners that stepped up late when a few pacers had to drop out. That sure lowered my stress level to have these guys fill in. I'll be with the 5 hour group, but I reserve the right to drop back and pace the Balloon Lady (I made sure I assigned TWO other 5 hour pacers!).

If I finish the race, I'll be ecstatic that I notched another marathon. If I don't, well, then I don't. But the plan is definately do to do well. But where is the fire? Where's the mojo?

As me and my best friend, Ken, always say "Just shut the hell up and get to the finish line". So, that's what I'll do...supposed to be 20 degrees! Now, for that, I REALLY need a fire!!

I'll see you all on the chilly Birmingham roads - AL

"One child lost is too child saved can change the world"

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