In 14 hours 45 minutes and 27 seconds I will be at the starting line of my very first marathon...but who's counting? I may or may not be panicking a little. I'm scared...I'm scared of feeling like I cannot go on. I'm scared of feeling like I want to quit. I know it's going to be hard...probably one of the most physically demanding things I have ever done...but what I also know is....I CAN do it. I trained for 18 weeks for this. Minus the week that I was dealing with my hip/glute I didn't miss a training run. I was 100% committed and I gave it my all. So, yes...I can do this.
When I first tossed around the idea of running a marathon my goal was just to finish, but as I got further into my training I started throwing around the idea of finishing with a sub 4 time. Call it "marathon ignorance" but I didn't see the big deal of making such a HUGE goal. I didn't realize how truly difficult a sub 4 hour marathon could be...especially for a first timer like myself.
Throughout my training I have regretted making that statement...because if you know me, I like to achieve my goals and the competitive side of myself will be VERY disappointed if I don't meet my goal.
Here's the deal...it's very likely that I won't run a sub 4 marathon...and I have come to grips with that. I am actually okay with it in fact. Last weekend I was obsessively following a few different people via trackers and social media to see how they did on their marathons. All 3 of these people set pretty amazing goals for themselves...and guess what? They all fell just a little bit short. Was I disappointed in them? Did I discount the fact that they just ran a freaking marathon? Did I think they had failed? Hell no...all I felt was admiration and respect for them. They just ran a marathon...and just then it hit me...it doesn't matter how fast or slow someone completes a marathon...just the whole idea of finishing a marathon is an accomplishment in itself.
So...whether or not I reach my goal tomorrow I am still going to be proud of myself. I am still going to be a marathoner...and become one of those people that tells anyone who will listen, that I ran a marathon ;-)
With that being said...I am not completely throwing out the idea of setting a goal for myself...but I am going to be a little more realistic. I am about 90% sure that I could on a given day run a sub 4 marathon. For this to happen though, my body will have to cooperate and as runners all know...the body doesn't always do what you want it to do. I have had training runs that were amazing...and I have had training runs that were not so amazing...and they have happened within weeks of each other. There was nothing specific that caused a bad run...it just wasn't my day.
So, what I am going to do is make a few goals. So, if in the case of a "bad" day I don't feel completely defeated and like I failed mid-race.
Goal #1- Sub 4 hours
In the case of a perfect "run" day, this is my goal. I would love to run a sub 4 hour marathon. To do this I will need to keep an average pace of 9:07. Doable? Yes...scary to think about? YES!! I have run 5 half-marathons this year and was able to keep this pace (and below) for all of them. However, the thought of doing it again for 13.1 more miles is what scares me. If I had been running a marathon on the day of the Go Girl Half (3 weeks ago) I could have definitely achieved this goal. That day was PERFECT...keeping an 8:55 pace for the whole race was not only doable, but it felt effortless. I have no doubt in my mind that I could have crossed that finish line and made another loop and finished under 4 hours. So fingers crossed that I have a day like that tomorrow :)
Goal #2- 4 hours 10 mins (or less)
This gives me a little wiggle room with my time. If I cross the finish line with a time under 4 hours and 10 minutes, I will be ecstatic. It is so close to my original goal, how could I be upset?
Goal #3- Negative Splits
One of the things I am going to focus on during the race is running negative splits. I want to run the second half of my race faster than the first. This will require me to take it slow for the first half. It will be difficult for me to hold myself back...especially with all of the excitement going on and I HATE letting runners pass me :) However, my plan is to run the first 9 miles easy...then pick up the pace for the next 9....and hopefully finish strong for the final 8.2 miles.
Goal #4- Finish with a PR
This goal is inevitable (obviously, assuming I don't DNF-but lets's not even go there) I WILL get a PR tomorrow. This is my first marathon and whatever time I end with is a PR for me. A time I should be proud of. An accomplishment I should be proud of.
Okay...I think I have a goal for every single possible scenario tomorrow. I WILL feel accomplished when I cross that finish line no matter how the race goes. I will be proud of myself when I finish...
I WILL be a marathoner :)
Any last minute advice before my run tomorrow?
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