Things I know this year before the marathon that I didn't know last year

Last year, ignorance was bliss. I’ve talked about it. I knew last year it would be hard. But I didn’t really know. A time or two this year I’ve caught myself cringing a little, because I know how hard running a marathon can be. As I sit here 10 days before my second marathon, I realize I’ve become rather reflective over the past year. While I’m antsy, I’m not scared. I do sort of know what to expect. I thought I’d share some of the things I know this year versus last year at this time.

You can’t control the weather. Sure, the extended forecast has October 9th showing up, but checking it now and obsessing isn’t worth it. The forecast is going to change a bunch between now and the middle of next week. I find myself not looking and relaxing. I can run in the cold or in the heat. I’ll submit my race plan with “what ifs”, the weather being the big one.

Enjoy the taper. Last year I thought I was going nuts. I didn’t understand right away why I wasn’t running more, training harder leading up to the marathon. I now know you have to rest and let your body recover. For those training the last 17 -18 weeks, you need the rest. Stopping and thinking about it, I’ve been going since last October, with this race as the goal. I find I’m enjoying the step back. I’m also trying to spend more time with my family, and doing fun things with them.

Show your appreciation to your loved ones. Part of why I’m trying to do more with Pam and the girls is because,I’ve trained so much. I’ve been gone many mornings, gone most Saturdays for huge chunks of time. Pam has been understanding and so have the girls. Has it been perfect? No. I still, from time to time, under estimate how long I’ll be.

Take some time this weekend, not only to rest, but to spend time with your loved ones. Say thank you to those who have supported you as you’ve trained.

Trust that you are ready. Last year I tried to buy in. I tried to take Coach Jen’s and Dave’s word for it. And I mostly believed I was ready. I dwelled on the “what if”. What if I wasn’t ready? What if this happens? What if that happens? I couldn’t get out of my head.

This year I know I’m ready. I trust that Coach Jen and Ashley have me prepared. I’ve done the work, it’s time to go out and have fun.

Visualize. This is something Coach Jen and I talked about last year too. Visualize the race, especially when it’s going to be tough. Last year, not knowing what to expect, I found that tough. I typically struggled at the same point last year while training. I didn’t think of that…duh! This year, I’ve taken mental notes during training. And I know exactly where I struggled last year; I’ve stared at that spot on the map. Mile 20- I don’t remember most of it.

Have fun. Sure I’ll be nervous between now and the 9th. And sure I’ll be nervous race morning. So will you. Just remember, it’s just running. We all have our reasons to run. If you’re a charity runner, it’s for a cause. Or maybe you run because someone dared you too. Whatever the reasons, remember this one- we do this because we love it.

Last year was a blur for me. My goal was to enjoy the whole day. The marathon was the exclaimation point fo the year for me. It highlighted all the hard work I put in, all the weight I had lost and how far I had come. I feel like the race zipped by and I missed a lot.

I’m approaching the marathon the same way this year. The 9th is the exclamation point of this past year. Enjoy it, you’ve worked hard to get here. Take it all in and enjoy what Dave calls, “a well catered long run!”

Ten to go!

More later!


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  • Great insight, Dan! I hope you enjoy these next few days and bring home a sub-5 on the last! Good luck! I will be thinking of you.

  • In reply to fult23:

    Thanks, B! Your half is this weekend, right? Good luck! You're going to rock it!!!

  • Bring a few wipes for the road:)

  • In reply to David Wallach:

    Good plan. I hadn't even thought of that! Seriously, those were handy last year!

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