Saturday, October 20, 2007

Returning Home for The Marathon Experiment

It is Saturday noontime in China. I am presently on a flight from Chengdu to Shanghai. In Shanghai, I will connect to take my American Air flight back to Chicago. I will arrive around 4:45 PM on after gaining 13 hours.

I am very excited to be returning home to Chicago and my home in the suburbs. I miss my wife, my cats, my running gear, my bed, my house, my high-speed Internet connectivity, my coffee maker and private stash of Starbucks, my control over my schedule, my Itunes library, my car and my freedom to live in my own space and neighborhood.

I had a very successful and interesting visit in Chengdu during my assignment. The delivery of our final report to our business partners went exceptionally well yesterday. Quite simply, we nailed it. I could feel the genuine praise and appreciation for our team’s work the Chairman was giving, even though I needed an interpreter to understand him.

My experience in China has changed my perspective of the world in a positive way. I found that I am more adventurous, more patient, more understanding, more tolerant and downright wiser in the ways of the world than I was five weeks ago. It is so different in the Far East as compared to our Western lifestyles. The people of Chengdu are very kind. I also recognized how much I love my country and my way of life.

I even managed to recover reasonably well from the marathon. I ran 13 miles last week and added some swimming. I have run 21 so far this week. Two of these runs were 6 and 7 mile runs that were comfortably hard. However, I am not certain on pace since I left the Garmin at home. I plan to do 12-13 tomorrow on familiar terrain to get me to around 34 for this week.

I am signed up for another marathon that takes place in one week. It has been less than two weeks since a very difficult Chicago Marathon. What’s more, I need to turn around for the airport on Monday to fly to the Corporate HQ in Connecticut for four days. I suppose it beats being in China. I will do light mileage before Saturday.

I am calling this upcoming marathon an experiment. It will be a true experiment to see how my body has recovered. In addition, it will be a test as to what degree I was able to maintain my peak running conditioning that I know I had a short four weeks ago.

I honestly do not have a gauge of my current running condition. The Chicago Marathon was an anomaly. A statistical aberration created by extremely rare conditions, so that’s not an indicator. My 20-mile training run two weeks three weeks before was one that would likely line up in the 3:00-3:03 range. However, I have no idea what the difficult, intensively hot and humid Chicago Marathon did to me.

Am I in anywhere near the same shape that I was five weeks ago? We will find out next week. Truthfully, I am not all too worried about it. There is no self-induced pressure for me on this marathon go.

For this upcoming marathon on Saturday, you will hear no talk of a sub-3 attempt from me. I do really want to run a Boston qualifying time, however, and will give it my best shot. If I don’t, however, that’s OK. I will be out there enjoying the Chicago Lakefront with my wife cheering me on. It will be the first time ever that I will have completed two marathons 20 days apart. Most importantly, I am just glad to be getting home to the United States.


Love2Run said...

Speaking from experience (I just ran MDI last weekend with a 3 weeks taper since the previous marathon) I'd say you have a great chance of running well. If Chicago was 'just' a long tough training run, then starting out slow and cautious on a flat course on a good day might just work out! Good luck!

wayfool said...

Hey Ryan, you're going to do great! I've heard of many runners who have run two marathons 3 weeks apart and have done better on the 2nd one. I think the Chicago debacle has made you mentally tougher. You'll have no trouble getting a BQ

Running Jayhawk said...

Glad to have you back. :)

And you'll have more support than your wife out on the course! Oh, and when you lap me a few times, be sure to yell at me to go faster. I have no expectations on Saturday but to start slow and taper early.

Do you want me to pick up your packet the night before or are you all set?

jen said...

Welcome back!! Sounds like you had a great couple of trips to China, I would love to go there some day. It sounds really interesting. Great job on the presentation! :)

Sounds like you have reasonable goals for your crazy marathon experiment :P Have fun out there, but don't underestimate yourself! See what the day has in store for you. Can't wait to hear about it. Good luck!

Perry said...

Good luck in the race this weekend. It looks like we'll have better weather than the marathon. Congrats on your performances this year. I could only hope to have the year that you're having. Keep up the great work and maybe I'll see you on Saturday. I'm joggling the 50 miler.

Just Your Average Joggler