Today's run brought back fond memories of last October's Twin Cities Marathon. It was very wet, a little windy and there was a definite chill in the air. I did a tempo workout on the Dakota Trail by my apartment and it felt great. I got my pace down under 6:00 per mile for the final 20 minutes of the tempo and it felt very comfortable. Along with getting in a good workout in the rain I tested a new piece of running apparel during my workout: arm warmers. Many elite runners have been seen in marathons over the last few years wearing these on cool days as a way to keep their arms warm without having to wear a long-sleeved shirt under their uniform. After wearing them in cool wet conditions I can totally understand why many runners have begun to wear them. I have a pair of Asics warmers and they cover my arms from my wrists all the way up to my shoulders. A great benefit to them is that if you get warm and no longer need them, you can pull them right off without having to remove your shirt or uniform to get them off. The particular pair I have also kept my arms dry from the rain as well as keeping them warm.
I know for sure that if it is a cool morning in Fargo in 2 weeks, I will be wearing these on the starting line of the marathon. With less than 2 weeks until the race now, the tapering is really beginning. I still hit 60 miles this week but next week I'll drop down to around 50 miles with one day off as well. The week of the marathon I'll probably get 30-35 miles in prior to the actual race. In the past this level of tapering has proven fairly effective for me. I am also going to begin getting to bed a little earlier this week. During a normal week I can get by with around 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night. My goal this week is to get at least 8 hours a night and the week of the marathon between 8.5 and 9.5 hours a night.
It's going to be a good couple of weeks. Getting past this rain this weekend and the next few days coming up, the weather looks to be very good in favor of some ideal marathon conditions. Next weekend I am going to head out to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to watch the 1st annual Eau Claire Marathon to check out the race and the course to see what it's going to be like. May is quite the month for marathoning in the upper midwest: Eau Claire, La Crosse (Wisconsin) and Lincoln (Nebraska) next weekend, Fargo the following weekend, Green Bay in 3 weeks, Madison and Stillwater in 4 weeks and Minneapolis in 5 weeks. With these new marathons I am looking forward to checking them out to see some potential future races that I may run in springs to come.