It has been a whirlwind past five weeks, from the Sharkman going away celebraish, to the Great Baseball Road Trip, to a Memorial Day Weekend visit from our dad and little brother, to a wedding in Pequot Lakes, to a trip to Ireland. The culmination of the crazy stretch comes this weekend, when we attempt to complete our third marathon. In that spirit, here are five things we will find out in about 24 hours.


1. Can someone put himself through the bodily rigors of Ireland -- massive amounts of walking, a spinning odometer of pints consumed and two very long travel days, one of which finished up barely 48 hours before race time -- and still expect to be ready to go on race day? This is perhaps the thing we are most interested to find out. We were able to keep fairly well to our training while on the trip, mostly because it was (luckily) into the homestretch of tapering down the miles by the time we left. But we did have to re-arrange some things and substitute some things. We honestly have no idea if we are undertrained, overtrained or in a good place. And we could sure use one more good night of sleep tonight before Saturday's 7:45 race.

2. Can we run a marathon in less than 4 hours? Granted, that is still nearly double the world record pace. But our two previous marathons, both Twin Cities, had no specific time goal. We just wanted to finish. And for us, 4 hours is fairly ambitious. The forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms, a relatively high humidity and temperatures that could reach 70 by the end of the race -- not ideal, but not terrible.

3. Can Sharkman run a marathon without seriously training for it? He has been planning for a while now to make the trek up to Duluth with us. Initially, he wasn't going to run; but he did a long run last weekend and has previously completed two other marathons. He's pretty sure he's going to give it a go.

4. Does the Duluth Olive Garden take reservations, and will they have the requisite number of warm breadsticks to satisfy our night-before-race hunger?

5. Will one or both of us live-tweet/Instagram the marathon? Remains to be seen. Is it worth wearing a fanny pack? Probably not.

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Postcards from Ireland: Golf, soccer and the good humor of the good people

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