The Pittsburgh Marathon is Sunday. My best wishes to all who run that day.
I have run three marathons - all at Big Sur in California - and once walked the New York Marathon with a party of people supporting a woman who has MS. (It took us about seven hours from start to finish.)
But my marathon days are over. I still run a bit and I am perfectly carbo-loaded, as my shape attests, but my legs would never make the distance.
In my first two marathons at Big Sur, I managed to break four hours. The last one I did was under five hours but not by much and I was perfectly rigid after it. I could have been standing outside later and been strung with wires by workers mistaking me for a utility pole.
My advice to Sunday's runners is not to go out too fast, unless you think you can win. If you were like me, just finishing is winning.
Drink lots of water and put Vaseline on your nipples - seriously, because whether you are a man or a woman, those little babies can get very chafed. Do not regret what you are doing, especially if you are past 40. If you are going to have a mid-life crisis, running a marathon is cheaper than getting a red sports car.
Good luck and wish my legs and I could be with you.