Less than 10 days to the Fox Cities Marathon. The typical taper issues are starting to rear their heads. Phantom pain (except some I'm SURE are real), concerns about preparation, and the desire to get in some extra training. Of course, gremlins are my specialty, and I've been dealing with them. The target is four hours or bust, and I'm feeling confident that the goal is achievable, barring any last minute fevers (like last year in Chicago).
The end of the marathon represents many things. It is the official end of my endurance season (assuming I don't buckle and run the Green Bay Marathon with Dean Karnazes). It is the beginning of off season training. It is very close to decision time for the next triathlon, assuming IM MOO '07 ends up completely out of reach. And it will be a gauge on whether I can target a Boston Marathon qualifying time in 2007. Mostly, it is the end of a great year of training, racing, blogging, and making new friends.
As the year starts to wind down, it is okay to take some well deserved down time. Well, a little, anyway. And then, it is time to get focused on the coming year. My motto has always been that a paid registration is the best motivation to train. So, find those races that are within reach, but only JUST. Sign up for the events that will push you and force you to grow.
And new for 2007, try to take people with you. It's easy to sign up and train alone. It's even easier to sign up and train with friends who already share a love of the sport. The exciting and rewarding challenge is to introduce newcomers to endurance sports and get them hooked. Along that lines, I will be working with the Fox Cities Triathlon Club and The Boy's and Girl's Brigade in Neenah, Wisconsin to introduce young people to the sports of running and triathlon. Our goal is to allow these 6th through 12th graders to get an inside glimpse of what we do, and give them the opportunity to train and complete either a short road race or triathlon.
In 2006, it was all about the kids challenging me to complete a triathlon. In 2007, the challenge will be taken back to them. Figure out who you want to challenge, and give them the opportunity to share the joys of pushing themselves to new limits. You just might find their success as exciting and rewarding as your own.