Come Saturday, there are five more weeks until the Air Force Marathon. Even typing that makes my heart race just a little bit. I should be out doing an easy run right now and counting up the weeks and realizing just how close it is makes it hard to sit here. But I know that is for the best. I am taking an interval class today and I'm slightly tired and I really have figured out that sometimes it's best to scrap a run than to do the run. We are running two very long runs in one week and I need to be careful, especially so close to the race. It is with baited breath that I say I am healthy. Nothing hurts, my calves are cooperative and I feel well trained and strong. True I've had some runs that make me think I suck, but I've been doing this dog and pony show long enough to respect what the awful feeling training runs are telling me.
It has been nearly two years since I've raced a marathon. I realize that strategy will bring me to my goal. The average pace I need for this race is achievable for me. I know this based on many things, but how I go out and execute it will decide whether I get it or not. The goal is for me to stick to my race plan. Don't let the start line suddenly make me stupid as it has so often done before. Don't let the official pacer with my needed time play any role whatsoever in how I run. His race strategy could be far different from mine.
I already know that if the forecast calls for a high of over 85 degrees that day, I will not race. I will run it at long run pace and race the Indianapolis Marathon 4 weeks later, which would put me to Boston 2014 instead of 2013. No biggie... it'll be there.
I know that if I indeed am racing Air Force, I will arrive with a strong and determined mind and nervous as HELL! I will not say "we'll see..." or "I'm just not sure I'm feeling it today..." or "this and that is bothering me...." Even if any of that is true, no one wants to hear it and I don't' want to hear it from myself. Last week I was telling Suttan that I read a funny article in Marathon and Beyond about a guy's recap of an ultra he'd done. He said that "perfect weather" is the worst thing for an ultra runner because they can't use it as an excuse for a slow time. He began to jokingly poke fun of the starting line list of excuses (he included himself in this group).... "I'm just using this as a training run...." was the most common verbalization. Then from somewhere in the back of the crowd you may hear "Yeah, doctor said it turns out I have no bones in my left leg. He said to go slow and make sure I take plenty of "S" caps." Not to be outdone by that, you then hear "Well my doctor said that my kidney should be available any day. He said to go extra slow and double up on the "S" caps." I was trying to read this to John and was laughing so hard I could hardly get the words out. What made it funny is that we all do it (maybe not the no bones or kidney transplant excuse, but still). We protect our precious pride early on from the critiquing of others and from ourselves. Not that there aren't any perfectly good reasons why we sometimes do terribly in a race. Weather IS a factor. So is making sure you are running injury free. Of course those things play a big role. So do pacing, fueling and many, many other things. So I am trying to get these things ironed out BEFORE I get there... ok, I can't iron out the weather, but I have a plan for hot weather :)
If I don't get my time goal, I'll be disappointed. I won't, however, be crushed. Knowing that may be the difference in how I approach the start. Previously, I was heartbroken, but I will not be this time. I don't want condolences at the finish line or well intended apologies on my Facebook page, because I won't need them.
Finally, I read something that I think about often and it makes me feel really good about the upcoming marathon. For anyone unsure of a goal they have set for themselves, this is good to read:
"Is there any satisfaction in reaching a goal that is easy? Goals should be a little bit scary. That small bit of fear will be what makes you work hard and train well." Jeff Galloway