Race week has finally arrived! And for the first time in my marathon history, I’m actually not freaking out…
But truthfully, I feel much calmer than I ever have before the big 26.2. And while I’d like to credit having been through the experience three times before, I think it has more to do with my satisfaction in my training. Sure the experience helps, but more than anything…I’m feeling as if there wasn’t much more I could have done to prepare for this race.
Also, for better or for worse, I’ve had some distractions these past few days which have diverted a lot of my attention from race day. To summarize:
1) I took a certification test yesterday for work, which required a good deal of studying and preparing. Let’s just say that this English major had a lot to learn about the investment industry, and lucky for me—I now understand more of the nuances of my job significantly better. Score! Ongoing education!
2) I’m really busy at work. I know I know…everyone is “so busy at work.” But, the distraction of deadlines has helped divert my energy from focusing solely on pacing and honey stingers.
3) My digestive system isn’t exactly…working. I’m having a pretty awful flare up of the IB disease I have, yes I know…so pretty. It’s not completely debilitating, but it’s certainly not convenient. Thankfully, I was able to get to my new doctor yesterday just in time to get all medicated. This issue hasn’t really affected my running, and I’m 99% sure it won’t impact race day (cross fingers please!). But, it has—once again—consumed a lot of the attention that would otherwise be thinking about finish lines.
But, distractions aside, I still have the end game in mind…and while I might not be the jittery mess that I normally am, my excitement and readiness are starting to feel top notch.
There’s a lot that happens during tapering. A lot of it has to do with muscle repair and glucose absorption, but I like to think that an overall psyche cleanse happens as well.
It’s like the ups and downs of training has left us a little jagged and rough around the edges, and by allowing these days to pass with fewer miles and wear-and-tare, that roughness starts to smooth out. I’m getting that familiar feeling like I’m floating to the surface of all the good and bad of what’s happened over this training cycle; slowly getting fine-tuned and ready to dive head-first into race day.
I have a race strategy planned, which I’ll write a bit more on later, and I also have a number of goals. I think it’s important to hope for the best but also to remember the nature of the beast: the marathon is an unpredictable and very long race—a lot can happen. Long runs and tempo runs and speed work can all help, but there’s not way to 100% prepare for 26.2 miles of running. So, while I certainly will not be happy if the race goes awry, I can accept that it’s possible.
(Quote me on that if needed, will you?)
So, until Thursday night comes and I need to start packing, solidifying my playlist, and inevitably start to believe my femur is broken, I’ll be narrowing my focus. A lot has been distracting me, but it’s only a matter of time until there’s only one focal point in my line of sight.
I finished my last long run on Saturday (12 miles) with a very real visualization of Hayward field, of the finish line, and of a very particular time on the clock. That’s the image that I’m hoping will continue to stir my excitement, and it’s the image I hope isn’t too far from being a reality.
Who’s running in Eugene this weekend? Cheering in Eugene?