Thursday, January 22, 2009

Have A Stress Free Weekend

As I write, it is thirteen weeks and two days until race day. In looking forward to the race, I cannot help but reflect back on the historic event of this very week. As you are all no doubt aware, Tuesday, January 20, 2009 marked an unforgettable and historic day in the world – the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia got underway with seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong returning to the professional competition after a three year absence. Lance, as you know, is a two time finisher of the ING New York City Marathon. But, I digress.
I assume everyone’s training is also underway and I certainly hope it is going well. Having run a couple of Spring marathons and, prior to my involvement in planning the KDF Marathon and miniMarathon, having run this event seven or eight times, I understand training this time of year can be somewhat difficult. Of course, training for a Fall marathon invariably means running 18 and 20 milers in high heat and humidity. But, somehow that does not seem as daunting to me as doing it with temperatures in the 20’s. Either way, having a training partner or group makes all the difference in the world.
As a runner and a marathoner, I realize there are two stress components to preparing for any race – especially a race you have not done before. The first is, of course, logging the miles and the right kind of miles. The old rule of thumb is when training to run a race over a hilly course, train in the hills; when training to run a race over a flat course, train in the hills. If you live in and around Louisville, you have no problem finding good ground to train on. If you live in a flat area of the country, that may be a bit more difficult to accomplish. You can get some training on up hill grades using a treadmill. But, my experience is training for the down hill grades is equally important - especially if you want to walk normally for the two to three days after the race.
The second stress component is all the questions running through your mind about the day or two prior to the race and getting to and from the race itself. Where is the expo in relation to my hotel/home? Where is the start line? The finish line? How do I get to the start line? What should I take with me? How will I get back to my hotel/car/home? You start running through those questions early (at least, I do) and start pre-planning in your mind and, to some degree, worrying.
There is not a lot I can do for you on the first stress component. We have available for free on our website a training guide you can utilize. Other free ones exist elsewhere on the net as well. As for the second, however, hopefully you can find all the answers you need on the website, especially accommodations in Downtown Louisville (Discounted Rates!!!). The Bluegrass Family Health Running Wild Expo and Pasta Dinner will be held this year at the Kentucky Exposition Center. For those of you new to the race, that is not a change at all. For you regulars, it is quite a change. For those of you who will be coming from out of town, it means you probably need a rental. KEC is located just off I-65 at the Watterson Expressway (I-264). It is only a few miles from downtown and right across the expressway from the airport. Luckily, it is only about a ten minute drive from downtown.
The bigger change which regulars need to account for is packet pick up rules. Those from out of town will not notice the difference (unless you have relied on locals to retrieve your packet for you in the past). Every runner (except teams) will have to appear in person with your confirmation and ID to get your packet – no more sending the pal in the next cubicle. I know . . . it is sooo inconvenient. The bottom line is that over the years, a few people ruined it for everybody. Every year someone picks up a packet for someone and fails both to tell them about it and to sign the sheet saying they got it. Shortly thereafter, the lucky recipient of this kind gesture shows up and goes headlong into panic mode when there is no packet for him. He then gets to wait in a line over what he figures must be our mistake and leaves at the end of it all frustrated. Although they never call to say so later, I am assuming they feel silly about the whole affair when they get home only to discover their training partner was the actual culprit.
So, now you have two changes and, for you out there prematurely worrying, two questions are answered. The other questions I posed are all on the website as are the answers to many other questions. But, if you have a question and cannot find an answer, e-mail me at If I don’t know the answer, I will either find out, refer your e-mail to someone who does, or just make something up. (Just kidding on that last part.)
So, enjoy your training. In the end, it will be worth it. If you come across a day when it just seems to be too much, just reflect back and try to remember my philosophy of life: When the going gets tough, that means things have gotten harder.

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