Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's Here! Pre-Race Jitters!

Two days. Actually 36 hours. I've never been more nervous for a race. Even when I actually was "competing" (in quotes because I was never anyone's competition) in high school track, I didn't get nervous two days before a race.

Here are the random thoughts bumping around in my head this week....

Can I do it?
How fast can I start?
How fast can I finish?
Should I take a banana at mile 17?
How about 21?
How bad will the hills be?
Am I drinking enough water?
Am I getting enough sleep?
Did I train long enough?
Did I train hard enough?
Should I run tomorrow?
Where should I set my goals?
Should I listen to music?
What should I wear?

Those and about 35 other random thoughts need to stop bumping around...enter this blog. Here is where I get it all out. I've been looking forward to this post all week and afraid I wouldn't have time to get it all out.

I've been doing all kinds of research on marathons for the last 10 days or so. Here are few of the sites I have poured over.

Tips for Your First Marathon
First Time Marathon Stories

I've also been digging through my favorite running blogs...

Another Runner Mother
I Drink Soda While I Run - Ran Chicago
Just A One Girl Revolution - Running Grand Rapids
Baby Weight My Ass
Deanna's Happy Place
See Meggie Run - Ran Chicago
Shut Up + Run
Tongue in Chic - Running Grand Rapids
Your Super Awesome Life - Ran Chicago
Chubby Chicks Run Too - Ran Chicago

You may notice they're all written by women around (10-15 years +/-) my age. I find them all so inspiring! I've learned so much from my running community of people that don't even know I exist. :) I've enjoyed watching them prepare for marathons during the same weekend, or one prior, to mine.

With all of that said, my favorite site this week has been the race site itself. It's a good race. I ran the half last year and PR'ed despite the hills. That doesn't mean I'm not nervous because, holy cow, I certainly am. The butterflies hit me on Tuesday morning on the way to the airport in California. I'm really doing this. Time to get ready.

I've really been struggling with how to pace myself. I've worked hard on negative splits in my training and I think that's the route I want to take. But, I'm just not sure how fast to start. I tend to start faster and then slow down. I think it does make good sense to start a bit slower and then speed up if I have it in me.

According the McMillan Pace Calculator, I should be able to run at  9:14 pace (or 4:01:42 finish time) based on my previous Half Marathon best.

I'm thinking we will head out at around a 9:30 pace. If I finish with a 9:30 pace, I'll finish at 4:08 and change. That would make me very happy.

With all of that in mind, here are my goals. I have become accustomed to setting a few goal times so that if one slips away within the first few miles, I don't have the wind blown out of my sails. Alternatively, if I'm having the perfect day, I have the chance to accomplish a big one.

D Goal - Finish - I keep reading about how the first marathon is all about finishing. And, I know I will have a huge sense of accomplishment regardless of my time!

C Goal - 4:30 - 10:18 pace - this should be attainable barring unforeseen circumstances

B Goal - 4:10 - 9:31 pace - if I finish here, this will be right at my very first half-marathon pace - this is the one I'm really gunning for and I think is within my reach.

A Goal - Sub 4:00 - 9:10 pace - this one is hard to even comprehend. I'm not even sure if I should go for this one because it would mean I have to start fast. I'm just so uncertain as to how much I'll have left at the end, I feel like if I take off shooting for this one, I may end up not able to achieve my "C" goal because I'm so tired.

I know my training has brought me to this point and I'm always nervous but I've even more so than normal. I know it's to be expected, but those 20 milers seem so much a part of my distant, very distant, past. I hope my legs remember what to do!

Mom and I will be running together for the first half and I'll have a friend spectating. Both of which are firsts for me! Who knows how much that will help as well.

I am excited.nervous.anxious to get to the start line. But, I'm also stoked. So excited to see what these legs can do and, more importantly, what my brain can accomplish. 4 hours of running is a long time, but that reminds me of a quote I love.

"The time will pass anyway."

Might as well pass it doing something remarkable. I plan to do just that on Saturday morning.

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