Less than 5 days until the Missoula Marathon!! Typically, I stop functioning at my normal mental capacity (which isn't all that high anyhow) and start obsessing unhealthily about the coming marathon about three weeks out (just as taper starts). For some reason, it was different this time. Maybe it was the short turnaround (8 weeks) between Fargo and Missoula and the consequently brief period of intense training. Maybe it was the three shorter races I ran in between that distracted me. I really don't know, but Missoula managed to sneak up on me like a hungry mountain lion. But, now that it's entered my mind, it's all I can friggin think about.
In case you don't know me, you should know that Missoula is my favorite place in the world. I showed up for college orientation in the summer of 1996 and was hooked like a junkie on crack. I lived there for four years while getting my bachelor's degree. I drank there (a lot). I hiked there. I fished there. I watched Grizzly football games there (while drinking....a lot). I even met my wife there. But, I never ran there. I moved away the day after graduation and have been trying to get back ever since. Someday, I'll retire there and someday I'll probably die there....hopefully not on Sunday:).
Sadly, running was just about the furthest thing from my mind when I lived in Missoula. I do remember running a handful of times one spring in a desperate attempt to get into shape for the coming fire season (I was entering my first season as a wildland firefighter), but I never went more than a mile at a time and my motivation quickly diminished after I passed my physical. So, Sunday will be my first real run in my personal paradise. Hopefully I don't tank it.