When you’re getting ready for your first marathon, and there are only 35 runners in the whole darn race, and you’re not exactly a speed demon to begin with, this thought goes through your head:
Will I be last?
I’m just looking to finish this time around, so I’m planning to go pretty slow – around 12 minutes per mile, or 5 mph, which ought to have me finishing in a little under 5 ½ hours. The time limit is 6 hours. Just out of curiosity, I decided to look up last year’s finishers to see what times the slowest runners ran, and whether any of them were entered again this year.
I was somewhat relieved to see that someone who finished less than 2 minutes ahead of the time limit had entered again this year – until I noticed that she’s entered in Saturday’s marathon as well as Sunday’s. Which means she’s probably one of the six runners race director Doug Yoder says are planning to attempt the “six-pack” – six marathons six days in a row, culminating in the race I’m running on Sunday.
The first four races, which began Tuesday, are to be run on the outdoor track at Goshen College, while the two weekend marathons are to be run on the indoor track at the college athletic center.
So while I was doing a 5-mile outdoor run on Tuesday, fretting about which taper philosophy makes the most sense, some of my “competitors” were out running a marathon. Kind of puts the whole tapering thing in perspective, doesn’t it?