Saturday, I ran my last “long” run of marathon training with the Fleet Feet Huntsville group – a nice brisk 20 miler. I use the quotes because marathon training really distorts your view of running distances. Long runs are defined as something near 20. We have a short run this Saturday – it’s 13 miles. I remembered when I first started running – 1 mile was a huge accomplishment.
Lately, I have been terrified of this impending marathon for multiple reasons.
1. I’ve only made it to a few group runs and was unsure if there was anyone who would run a decent pace. I am looking for somewhere between superstar fast and casual jogger – maybe a superfast jogger speed.
2. Training has been challenging. With the busiest Fall of my life (engagement, house buying, wedding, honeymooning, travelling constantly for work, new job, etc.) , I have struggled to get into any semblence of a routine as no day is ordinary, and I am always in a different place. Also, I hate hotel gyms and their treadmills. It takes a swift ninja kick to my motivation. This is something I really need to work on as I have many more hotel nights in my future.
3. I don’t want to suck too badly on marathon day.
My PR is 4:32:05 (Dallas WR Marathon 2010) which is an average pace of 10:23. I ran that race with a severely pulled hamstring and each step was absolute agony. This was an improvement over my first marathon time of 4:53:40 (Rocketcity 2009). So, I shaved 20 minutes off while being extremely injured. Not too shabby. Do I think I can shave 20 minutes off my PR this year? Not really – still up in the air on what I will try on race day. But, seriously, what if I run a crummy race?
Saturday, running with my training group, I was reminded of a few things that put me a little at ease.
1. There are people in my training group who are not balls-to-the wall fast. This is a good thing because I can’t run a marathon pulling sub 9 minute miles (yet…) and I prefer running with nice people than with the thoughts in my head. My goal next year is to run fast – much, much faster. But it’s still 2011, and I am not super speedy (yet).
2. There are only 3 weeks of training left – I will dedicate myself to sticking with my training for those few weeks – enjoying the reward of some cross training that will come post-marathon during the month before training for the Country Music Marathon starts. As my reward, I may or may not hit up some glorious hot yoga classes or buy myself a present or both. Yes, Coach purse – you look like pretty sweet motivation to me.
Or maybe a nice date night with this guy, rumor has it – he is pretty awesome and he LOVES John Deere.
3. Runners run against themselves. Let’s face it, most people will never win a race, but you race against beating your PRs. Because most of your running compadres don’t memorize your PRs (or read them on your blog), you are always your worst critic. Sometimes, we, as runners, loose sight of the fact that only 1% of people ever run a marathon and only 1% of those marathoners ever qualify for Boston. Moral of the story – lace up your shoes, get on that course on race day and don’t step over the finish line without giving it everything you have. That may mean a new PR, that may not.
I cried a ton as a kid (sorry Mom and Dad), and my Dad had to constantly calm down my hyperventilation inducing tears when I got an A- on a test or was picked pretty close to last for the PE team (sidenote: former classmates, this was a great decision on your part, I really am awful at sports that involve doing 2 things at once – hence the love for running). My Dad used to always ask me “Did you give it your best shot?” I would always respond back with a weak and overly emotional yes. For this race, I’ll take Dad’s advice (Dad – this is now public record that I value your advice) and give it my best shot marathon day. If that means a new PR, GREAT. If that doesn’t mean a new PR, I will hyperventilate cry be ok.
What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents?
I could do a whole post on the awesome lessons I learned from my parents. They are pretty stellar.