Cruise control

It’s marathon week for thousands of us heading to Duluth for Grandma’s Marathon, and this year is a little different for me.

Even with several long runs under my belt the past few months, I don’t really feel ready for this race. And with the handful of injuries I’ve encountered the past 4 months, and having not really shaken them, it’s hard to know whether I’ll run well.

But one thing is guaranteed: I will have fun.

There’s nothing quite like going to a big marathon – Grandma’s is one of the largest 15 in the country – and feeling the energy, optimism and spirit of the race.

Each year I go to Grandma’s, it seems to be more and more fun. Friends from all over the region will be there. The atmosphere of the race, and the city that embraces it, is special, partly because there’s nothing else competing with it. When you go to other big marathons, in much larger cities, there’s other events going on. The Chicago and Twin Cities marathons are terrific, but you find yourself in a bubble – not everyone knows, or cares, about the marathon.

That doesn’t seem to be the case in Duluth. Everyone knows about it, and has some tie to it.

In the past, I’ve run my first and some of my best marathons at Grandma’s. The goals for this one have been lowered – and I don’t have any plans other than to run it. My hope is that it will be mostly pain free, and afterwards to revel in the accomplishments of friends who are running it, too.

Over the past month, I’ve slowly worked on getting myself pain free. A little at a time, I’ve started picking off the issues that have hampered my running – all in an attempt to put myself back together stronger than ever and rally for an all-star performance in a future, yet undetermined, race.

There are some key factors that will play a role, and once Grandma’s is over, I’ll start writing about some of those – all in an attempt to rise to faster and better times. Until then, I’m on cruise control and gearing up to do my best come Saturday.

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