I woke up this morning and, after a few swigs of caffeine, had this thought “Shit, was I supposed to run a marathon today?”
I think this little tableau best represents my mental state regarding tomorrow’s race. I don’t know if I’m relaxed or in denial. If you’ve been following this blog, then you know I’ve had 21 – 21! – weeks of training. It’s not like running this marathon was a last-minute WTF type of decision. But a few things have happened in the past six weeks that have put me in a strange mental space for the marathon.
The very obvious thing is my small injury five weeks ago, which caused me to lose two weeks plus of valuable training. This was the sharpening phase when my MP miles and tempo runs were supposed to be peaking; instead, I was icing and resting. Emotionally, I dealt with this by downgrading M2B, and I no longer view it as my A-race.
The factor I underestimated was my holiday. What kind of idiot plans an international trip three days after a marathon? And it’s not just a regular going to another Western country type of vacation. I will write about it in a later post, but there is an element of “adventure” and uncertainty. My husband has gone ahead to the first meeting point, which is in itself stressful. We’re hardly ever apart, and this is the first time he’s flown away from me, so it’s been a little sad and lonely…but not gonna lie, I have enjoyed having the bed to myself. We’re also traveling with three other people, so having to coordinate that is an added element. In short, I have been distracted.
So here we are, less than 24 hours away from my marathon, and …Holy shit! I better get it together! Here are my goals:
C-Goal: Complete the marathon injury-free.
B-Goal: PR (sub 4:30:49).
A-Goal: 4:20ish range.
In some ways I feel my C-Goal is a bit of a cop-out, but considering my last two marathons have ended with IT band injuries in both knees, this seems a respectable goal, especially since I did not do the cross-training/leg strengthening I had hoped to do this training cycle. Being injured post-marathon has interrupted and stunted my improvement for almost two years now, and I am over it. Finishing injury-free but slower than I hoped will do more for my running than killing myself to get a small PR that puts me out of commission for 4-5 months. Plus, my trip. I have two weeks of walking following the marathon, and I’m not screwing up my dream trip when there’s another marathon in September.
I have two plans for the race, and both focus on me not focusing on my Garmin. The first is to run by feel. I saw a helpful graphic on running by color based on perceived effort. Yellow Zone is for the first 14 miles and at an effort that you should be able to talk to someone; Orange Zone is a moderate effort for miles 15-24 and is more like one-word answer capability; and then Red Zone is for the last 2.2 miles. I hope there’s a Red Zone.
I also plan to start with the 4:23 pace group and hang with them as long as I can. Either way, I’m not going to be checkity-check-checking my Garmin.
I’m curious about how my race will go tomorrow. I haven’t run a marathon in a year, and the last one I did was on this course….I got injured and was out of serious running for six months. So there’s a little fear there too. I’m also disappointed about those two-plus weeks of training I missed and the lack of cross-training I did. However, I listened to a podcast with Greg McMillan about pre-race freakout, and one of the suggestions he had was to counter these negative thoughts by listing what went well in training. So here goes:
1-Added up to thirteen MP miles into my long run.
2-Had a great run over twenty miles.
3-Ran some beautiful trails.
4-Lost weight! Yup, I stepped on the scale today, and I lost 0.2 pounds since Day 1 of training. I won’t be stepping on the scale tomorrow as I plan on eating only white things today.
Anyway, last night I did start to get a some race excitement when I picked up my bib and t-shirt. See swag below.
So off I go. I have a busy day until 3:00 and then it’s just resting and carbing in bed while watching English rom-coms. Next post will be the recap! Ready or not. Gulp.