So I’m 2 days away from my next marathon, eep! You would think approaching my 19th marathon would mean I’m not totally anxious about it but… that’s not the case. I know I’m in good company though since even the pros get nervous.
For me getting anxious for a race really means that I’m anticipating if I’ll be able to perform the way I hope/dream I want to perform. I’m trained enough and healthy enough to feel confident that I’ll finish but really it’s about all those unknowns.
Will I be able to set a new PR? Will I be able to run sub-4?
What demons will pop into my head while I’m out there?
Will I meet some wildlife? (they seriously put that as a warning in the race instructions)
Will my stomach be okay?
Will I enjoy it or will it be a struggle-fest? Will it…
Well, you get the picture and many of you probably are nodding along with all these questions. The marathon is a beautiful and complicated beast and each time I toe that line I think 1) how lucky I am to have the health and means to be able to run these distances and 2) WHY THE HECK DO I DO THIS?
It’s not rational but it’s fun to pursue the challenge and see just how far and how fast I can go on a given morning surrounded by my fellow runners.
So what are my goals for this race?
Finish – the reason for signing up for this race was to run another marathon before turning 30 and to check off another state in my lifetime pursuit of running a marathon in every state.
Finish in under 4 hours – a goal that I think I can manage
Set a new PR – this would be running sub 3:32 which seems like a stretch but there is some rational behind it
My training this year has been very consistent. I took the first quarter of the year to focus more on speed and less on mileage volume. I was running well and because of it, I set a new 5k and 10k PR so the speed is there. I then got into the summer and started inching up my total mileage by extending my long runs. I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to run a fall marathon so I started ramping up anyways to 14-15 mile long runs even though I didn’t have anything on the books yet. Finally, I found the Cheyenne Marathon which was the perfect combination of everything I needed from a race. However, I signed up with only a month to go. Yikes!
Luckily I ran 16.5 miles the weekend I signed up for the race so I felt confidence I had the distance. A quick ramp up to one 20 run and then a quick taper (really only 2 weeks) and here I am looking my next marathon in the face and I’m so freaking excited!
This is an inaugural race with an interesting course layout, including a point where we make a figure eight and have to cross paths with other runners. I’m wary about this but I just need to stay focused on the race I’m running and not worry about how others might choose to run the race (aka course cutting). At the end of the day I’m racing myself and need to not get stressed out about others around me. No marathon goes perfectly but I’m going to stay focused on just enjoying the run and remind myself that the main focus is to get another state in my marathon running log.
So with that I’m set. I have a shake out run tomorrow and then packing up my stuff, rolling out, and trying to find some zen as I approach my 19th marathon start line!