The marathon is now just around the corner. With less than three weeks until the race, my running partner Staff Sgt. Jeremy Boutwell (ret.) and I each completed a solid and steady 19-mile run over the weekend. We both finished in about three hours, causing us to slash our goal in the actual marathon by 45 minutes, from 5 hours to 4 hours, 15 minutes.
“That’s my goal. I think that’s realistic based on training,” Jeremy said over the phone.
Last weekend was the final long run for each of us. Our schedule has us slated to run 12 miles on Saturday, but 19 miles is the highest we’ll get before race day. Like most marathon runners, we’ll taper, or decrease our mileage, during the final weeks.
And all things considered, we’re each feeling strong. Not too sore, just a little more hungry than usual from all the calories we’ve been burning.
Jeremy said he “felt like a million bucks” after completing 19 miles and experienced little to no pain during or after his run. I’d say I felt more like a quarter of a million bucks. I think we’re both doing surprisingly well. As Jeremy points out, the anticipation of a 19 mile run was worse than actually running it.
We also got our bib numbers this week. I’m No. 803 and Jeremy is No. 804.
In the midst of everything, we’ve found some new ways to keep each other motivated and even exchanged surprise training gifts.
Jeremy sent me a pink CamelBak as a response to one of my previous posts in which I wrote about how I haven’t found a hydration pack that I like. I have to admit, it’s been an awesome addition to my running gear. It’s lightweight, rides high on my back and fits perfect.
“I think I did pretty damn good. I don’t mean to toot my own horn,” Jeremy said over the phone.
Without the CamelBak, I would have never made it through my 19 miles.
I sent Jeremy a pair of neon yellow laces. One of the first times we spoke he mentioned that he’s generally restricted to one type of sneaker (which usually only comes in the color grey). Jeremy has to have a cobbler build up one of his shoes exactly one inch in order to compensate for a shorter left leg from a combat injury. Because of this, he has to be careful not to buy a shoe that has an uneven tread which cuts down on his color selection.
I thought the yellow laces would spice up his sneakers. I’m not so sure he’s as thrilled with my gift as I was with his.
“They’re a little bright for my taste. But they’ll work,” Jeremy said.
I suppose it’s the thought that counts, right?
We’ve also been in touch with Salina Jimenez, the widow of Army Sgt. David Almazan, who we’re running to remember. Members from our team, “Team ‘Doc’ Almazan,” which includes Jimenez, completed The Long Beach City Marathon and Bike Tour last Sunday.
“When someone on the route shouts out a ‘Hooah,’ it’s worth the training, the mileage and the drive to live for our fallen hero,” Salina wrote.
Staying motivated in these final weeks can be tough, but encouragement and communication with teammates around the country seems to be getting the job done.