Way back before the New Year as I was planning ahead for 2010 my # 1 priority goal was to get in shape to qualify for Boston. I was hoping to do that early in the year at Tobacco Road but was looking for a back-up in the early Fall just in case. With Boston filling as quickly as it has the past couple of years I knew I couldn't wait too long in the Fall but I was hoping for later so at least I would have cool weather. The other criteria was that I would need a fast course. I found this race after searching the schedule on www.marathonguide.com and other than being a little earlier than I had hoped it seemed to otherwise be perfect.
As it turned out I did get my qualifier at Tobacco Road in March so now I have no pressure to qualify but I am still planning to go for as fast a time as possible. With the extra hot weather we've been having I was beginning to have doubts but it looks like we may get very lucky with the latest forecast for Sunday in Allentown looking very nice with a starting temp around 58F, cloudy and a chance of a little rain and the high by 11am of only 63F. Not perfect but I'll take it!
The race itself looks like it will be fun. A small marathon with about 300 runners, a companion half with around 500 that starts halfway up this point to point course and a relay. The course was designed by Bart Yasso of Runner's World and is flat and fast. It begins slightly downhill on roads towards the Lehigh River and then follows along the river on bike paths and a canal towpath through Bethlehem and finishes in Easton near the New Jersey border and the Delaware River.
My training has been going very well since I seem to finally have recovered from the two 50 milers this summer. I was worried with the hot weather because I still seemed to be struggling with the paces I needed to be running but on the few cool days we've had since last weekend I have noticed a big improvement and I'm feeling more confident now in running well.
My training partner Karla "The Marathon Princess" Werner and her husband Frank are going to be joining me in Allentown on Saturday. She is running the marathon and hoping for a fast time too and Frank will be running the half as usual. As always, a part of me would like to run with her and enjoy taking it somewhat easy while taking some pictures along what should be a very pretty course in places but it is not in the plan this time. We'll have to run # 12 together some other time. I'm ready to RACE ! I want to RUN and JUMP and SEE BIG FIRES !
Here is the race website