Remember how I
bragged about said that I was super calm and collected on Tuesday? Yea, that tank of relaxation is slowly draining by the minute—consequentially re-filling with nerves and worst-case-scenario daydreams.
But, BUT! I’m actually not the fall-apart wreck of a human that I normally turn into. I know everyone talks about the taper-crazies, but I seriously think that I must get an exaggerated dose of them, because ordinarily I turn into a pitiful, blubbering mess of “what if?!”s and phantom broken legs.
Not so much this time. But, as my previously mentioned distractions start to move out of the way, the marathon reality is coming closer into view.
And just in time. I’m allowing myself these next two days to be as irrational as I want…within reason. Because the fact of the matter is that we leave for Eugene in just a few short hours, and once we hit the road—there’s no turning back.
I’ve found that I’ve been stressing out about the little things more so than the big picture. I’m hyper-conscious about my hydration and food, as my current intestinal misconduct (super-scientific term right there) has me more worried about my nutrition. I’m going to go with the basics, no weird food, plenty of carbs, salt, etc., but I also think I’m going to go with the “space the carbs out” approach more than I have in the past. Gimme the bananas and bread NOW!
I’m also still having clothing dilemmas. For whatever reason, I seem to be focusing my nervous energy more on chafing than, you know, running 26.2 miles. What gives, brain?
I’m sure it’s a bit of a coping mechanism. But more than anything, I really really don’t want an issue like the wrong shorts or an upset colon to take away from the work I’ve put into this marathon. I realize there are some things that cannot be controlled (although I’d argue that BodyGlide has the power to rule the world) but that doesn’t mean I can’t do everything in my control to set myself up for success.
And speaking of, I am planning on following a fairly strict-yet-flexible pacing plan for Eugene. Before I go into those details though, here’s a look at my goals:
“A” goal: BQ, also known as <3:35
This is the prize my eye has been on for months, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want it in a bad, keeps-me-up-at-night kind of way.
“B” goal: PR, also known as <3:42
As we all know, marathons are unpredictable. It may very well not be my day to BQ, and while I won’t be thrilled with it, I will be happy with a new PR—which I have a good feeling is probable. My current PR was set in Chicago, with an injury, on under-trained legs. This is going to sound so obnoxiously cocky, and I’m sorry it’s not intentional, but Chicago actually felt kind of easy. I know, it’s probably damning to say that about the all-mighty 26.2. But, if that race was any indication, I like to think I have a faster time in me somewhere.
“C” goal: Finish the race
This has been a goal in every marathon I’ve ever done…because when it comes down to it, hey, it’s 26.2 miles of running: you SHOULD be happy just to finish. And I will be. Obviously there’s more I’m after, but if it’s not my day, I’ll still cheers to being a 4-time marathoner.
There were lots of people last Monday who didn’t get to finish their marathon, and I’ve decided to try and bury my pride and consider myself lucky if/when I do get to cross that finish line (at Hayward field, no less).
So, as for my pace plan, I am trying to proverbially hammer “negative split” into the front of my brain. If it was possible to give your frontal lobe a tattoo by just thinking something hard enough, I’m pretty sure, “DO NOT GO INTO THE 7s RIGHT AWAY” would be etched front and center on mine.
Essentially, my not-plan/plan is to hover around the low 8 minute miles in the beginning; absorb the energy of race day, conserve as much as possible, and if around 8-10 I’m feeling good, crank it up a little bit.
If I don’t feel great, I’ll be fine sticking to that pace or even slowing down. Based on my long runs and some races earlier this year, hypothetically—this pacing should work out fine. But once again, it’s a marathon. Anything can happen.
So until Sunday at 7 am, when the horn goes off and the timing chip gets activated, I’ll be obsessing over details: playlists, water, bagels, nuun, BodyGlide, shakeouts, legs up, compression, etc. etc.
But here’s the best part, and it’s the part that I always tuck safely away in my head until I’m desperate for a sense of comfort:
Despite all the details, it’s just running. One foot in front of the other. Relentless forward movement. Running a marathon is one of the hardest endeavors, but it’s also one of the simplest. Isn’t that awesome? It’s so beautifully primal and authentically human—and despite all the goals, the worry, and the uncertainty of it all, I really just can’t wait to experience the magic of the marathon once again.
If you want to track me, you can go to this site, plug in some basic info, and you should be set. My bib number is 2411, but I’m pretty sure you can search by name too.
Track town, see you soon!
Good luck to everyone running in Eugene and all over the country this weekend! Hopefully I’ll see some of you in action 🙂