Less than a week away! After five months of training, hundreds of miles, three pairs of shoes, a few practice races, countless hours, a lot of pain, a few destroyed toe nails… In seven days it will all be behind me.
My goal for the Flying Pig? Run a smart race. I’m not sure I’ve ever run a smart race. I always let the adrenaline of the race start get to me and go out too fast. And logically, I know banking time is a bad race strategy. But in that first few miles when you feel fresh and excited, it’s easy to talk yourself into thinking you can carry that pace for the whole race even though I know that’s not what you’ve trained for. For this one, I’d actually like to start conservative and finish strong. A negative split would be awesome (though probably unlikely for me).
Of course I still have time goals. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have time goals. But this is my first time with 26.2 so all I have to go on when setting my projected finish time is my training runs and half times – which project me finishing anywhere from 3:29 to 3:37 depending the source – some pretty lofty projections I’m not 100 percent sure I’m physically capable of holding for 26 miles yet.
I’ve studied the course route and elevation and set a solid pacing strategy. I’ve got my nutrition plan. This week is all about easy runs, relaxation, good nutrition, and excitement. There is nothing better than the build up of a good race.
I’m still not certain how I went from never wanting to run further than a half to training for a full. I guess it comes down to proving to myself I can. And that I can do it well. And maybe it will be a disaster. But maybe I’ll go out there and surprise myself. As long as I walk away (or more likely limp away) knowing that I left everything out there – knowing I couldn’t have given it any more effort – knowing that I pushed through mentally at the end, when my legs feel like lead and I just want to cry/stop/collapse/give up – then I will be the happiest person alive.
So, time to sit back, enjoy the buzz of pre-race excitement, a good race expo, the fun of a city that rallies around its runners, and four hours of my first marathon experience. There’s probably something mentally wrong with being so excited and thrilled about putting my body through its hardest test yet. But you know what they say – pain is temporary. Pride is forever.