So here I sit, with my warm cup of tea with exactly 48 hours until my marathon (obviously this was written this morning), I’m just trying to process my thoughts and what to expect but I’m having a really hard time. This week at work has been absolutely insane and stressful beyond belief. Each day has left me worn out and tired and in a crazy, stressed out mess each day, not the way I was hoping the week before my marathon would be. I haven’t been sleeping well and I’m exhausted beyond belief right now but it is what it is and dwelling on this less than perfect week won’t do me any good come Sunday morning, so I write. I’m hoping that by taking a few moments to sit and write out some thoughts I will be able to better process what I need to.
I told Alex last night that I’m actually not stressing out or freaking out or overwhelmed by the thought of the marathon but rather I just can’t seem to process my thoughts well and that’s bugging me. I’ve run 18 half marathons and countless other races so when it comes to preparing for a half marathon processing my thoughts is no big deal. I know my threshold, I know my exhaustion levels, I know where to take a GU and what my starting pace should be and roughly how to pace throughout the race; I know all those things well and I could probably do them in my sleep. (Not that running a half marathon is easy, because it's not, I'm just more comfortable with what I'm doing out there when it's 13.1 miles) But the marathon is new and different and I’m inexperienced (which is not a bad thing at all, you have got to start somewhere) so I don’t know what my threshold is, I don’t know where to take my GU’s, I don’t know if I should take water or stop at the stops and I don’t know what my pace will be. All of these unknowns can be overwhelming.
My goal from day one has always been just to finish the race standing on my own two feet having accomplished the whole thing. I didn’t care about time or walking or anything else, I just wanted redemption for what happened in D.C. But as I’ve pushed myself and as I’ve gone on each run I’ve seen myself improve so much more than I ever thought possible. I’m so much faster than I thought I would be and I’ve set PR’s I wasn’t sure I would ever reach. And while my goal for Sunday is ultimately still to finish and be proud I can’t help but wonder what exactly I’m capable of. I don’t want to crash and burn but I do what a marathon that reflects the efforts I’ve put towards the training. I’m not sure if a 5 hour marathon goal is too lofty or not but it’s a number that I have in my head and so I’d like to try to be around that time.
The only thing that I’m actually really nervous about is pacing; I know that I cannot hold a sub-11 pace for a marathon the way I have been doing all my training runs. I’m thinking an 11:30 pace is something I would like to shoot for (clearly if I want a 5 hour marathon that’s what I have to shoot for) but running slower is actually kind of hard. I tried to keep it slow on Wednesday night’s run but I struggled to keep it right around an 11 pace. Honestly I just want to start slow, really slow and then take it easy from there. My 5 hour time goal is really nothing concrete; it’s more of a target to shoot for so I’m not just running aimlessly out there (like I would aimlessly run 26.2 miles, ha!) so we will see.
I have been somewhat concerned about the weather – it’s supposed to be unseasonably warm on Sunday morning. I don’t run well in the warm weather, hence why I chose a December marathon. But no amount of me worrying about is going to change it so I’ve just let that go. At least it’s not 90* out there…. I figured cold, hot, rain, snow I was going to be wearing the same outfit anyways so it is what it is and I will just be prepared to sweat a little more than I thought I would on Sunday.
I have decided on an outfit, grey capris (what I wore in Columbus) and a Nike tank. Simple and easy. I also realized I should probably wear my fitness belt so I can carry my GU with me. I haven’t worn it all throughout my training or in races lately because I’ve gotten to where I only need 1 GU during half marathons and I usually hold it or stick it in my sports bra. Well I’m not about to shove 4 GU’s in my sports bra! I also think having my phone on the course would be a good idea and I like that the fitness belt has toggles for your race bib so you don’t have to pin it on. So in realizing I needed to wear this I took it out with me on Wednesday night to make sure there were no issues that needed to be taken care of it and it worked fine, just like it always has. I’m still debating on whether or not I want to carry my handheld water bottle or not. I’m leaning towards no, but I’m undecided. If I do carry it I know I will always have water whenever I want it but then that means I have to carry it. I will have my parents along the course at multiple spots so I could give it to them if I get tired of carrying it. But I also could not bring it and have them give it to me should I decide I need it. Decisions, decisions.
Speaking of parents on the course, I’m very blessed that my family cares so much to indulge me in my crazy Sunday morning antics; not everyone would get up early and trek all over Dallas just to watch me run. I had a planning meeting (yes we have meetings!) with my dad last night and mapped out the course and spectator areas and place I would like for him to be along the way. I gave him a couple of GU packets and told him to have water. He and my stepmom plan to make signs and be there at the start. I will be sitting down with my mom tonight and going over the same thing. She plans to drop me off at the starting line and I definitely want to make sure she’s at the finish line. Alex will be doing the half marathon so I know he will be at the finish line. We also have some good friends coming in town to run as well. You may remember Mr. and Mrs. Thomas from when we did the Indianapolis half…
Mr. Thomas is doing the full and Mrs. Thomas was planning to run the half but she has been under the weather so I think she will just be a spectator for the day. I know they will be at the finish line too so I’m excited to have an array of people getting me across that finish line.
For those of you that have asked about runner tracking they do have it! You can go to this link here and set it up to receive text messages or tweets or facebook updates on my progress along the course.
(note: the page wasn’t working this morning so hopefully it will be resolved soon!)
In order to keep some privacy, if you would like to track me send me an email and I will get you the personal information you need that way rather than share for the with the whole wide world.
As for my legs, they feel fine. I haven’t done anything since Wednesday night so I think that’s helped some. They were still a bit sore Wednesday which is why I decided complete rest until Sunday is best. I don’t think Sunday will be completely pain free but at this point it’s all water under the bridge, I’m running no matter what.
So, am I ready? I really think so. I’m definitely much more prepared and better trained this time around but somehow that is amounting to more pressure in my mind. I’m being harder on myself because I know I can do better. Honestly, my body is just tired and done with training, it’s ready to finally reach the goal and take a week of much needed rest. I’m not sure if being so busy at work this week has been good or bad. On the one hand I haven’t had any time to dwell on Sunday and think about it or stress about it. But on the other hand I am tired and I don’t feel rested and my shoulders hurt from tension. So the plan tonight is to take it easy and rest and go to bed early. I intend to sleep in tomorrow before we have to meet the Thomas’s at the expo around noon. We have an early dinner planned and then it’s early to bed for me tomorrow night.
I am so excited to finally see my hard work come to fruition. And I feel so very blessed to be able to do something that I have become so passionate about. This journey has been incredible and while I know it's not over there is always something bittersweet to me about checking something off your "Mighty List". I plan to enjoy the moments and try to be present for the whole experience. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that my body can take me to places I didn't think possible and I'm excited to watch my training unfold. I'm also so grateful to all of the support that everyone and I truly mean EVERYONE has given me. My family, my friends, Alex, my mom and dad, all of you blog friends, the support is overwhelming. And just knowing that you guys are cheering for me on Sunday, wherever you are cheering from makes it all worthwhile to me. So thank you for being there and supporting me.
Here’s to 5 months of hard work and determination!
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever, Amen!”