I've written and re-written this post in my head at least once a week since I started training for the Philadelphia Marathon.
26.2 miles is a long way to run and I've been trying to figure out what goals are realistic for me.
The course has a few big hills in the first half, but is mostly flat for the last half. That works in my favor.
The weather is looking pretty good for Sunday. It will be chilly at the start, in the mid-30's, but should warm up to the high 40's by the end of the race. And it will be sunny. That's fairly ideal running weather.
I've trained well, but I'm still insanely nervous. Was it enough? Should I have done another 20-miler at some point? Am I really ready?
With half marathons, I'm always confident I will finish the race. I know I can run the distance. But the marathon is a whole different beast. Sure I've run the distance once, four years ago when I was a newbie. I'm a better runner now than I was back then, so I'm assuming I can do it again.
But still the nerves are there.
My success on race day will depend on a few things
First, am I able to reign in my nerves?
Second, running my own race. Taking it at my pace, following my plan and not getting swept up in the moment.
And third, overcoming some big mental hurdles. I know at mile 13.1 when the half marathoners finish and the marathoners have to keep going, I will struggle mentally. It's going to be hard being that close to the finish line, but not crossing it myself. I need to be mentally tough at that point and be able to regroup and keep pushing.
I will also need huge amounts of mental strength to push through the last 10K.
I feel like if I can do those three things, I'll have a pretty good race.
Now on to the goals:
Goal #1: Finish on my own two feet, regardless of time. Have fun. Goal #2: Break 4:45. Goal #3: Break 4:30. (This is the goal I am most hoping to accomplish) Goal #4: Break 4:26. (This means that I will have shaved an entire hour off my previous marathon time.)
With only three days until the race, it's time to carb-load, hydrate well and get plenty of rest.