That fact doesn't faze me too much. While I’m confident I’m physically prepared for the race, mentally it still seems a bit distant to me. So, partially to help re-engage, partially to self-assess, let’s take stock of where I’m at today, Oct. 7:
- Physically, I’m in pretty good shape. My left hip has hurt since I did the 20-mile run. That’s much of the reason why I’ve avoided the other two 20-milers on my training plan, opting instead for shorter (but sometimes faster) runs.
So my hip hurts at bit, and I feel like my ankles might have gotten a tad weak. I probably should have done more cross-training. And I definitely need to do a better job of icing my aches.
But I’m not injured.
That’s a BIG deal. So many people who train for a marathon end up getting injured at some point. Training puts a lot of stress on one’s body, and even if you do everything right, there’s still a chance you could get injured. Maybe you were born with a poor gait. Maybe you step in a hole. Maybe you get chased into a stump by a rabid goose.
So I’m lucky not to have injured myself (thus far). I feel good about that.
- Mentally, I’m not so sure. I never read that book I bought on mental toughness. The task was too daunting. That’s a joke, but it’s probably mostly true.
Anyway, the running has gotten pretty routine. And the hardest workouts are now behind me. And my training partner, Mike, with whom I would dream and fret about the marathon, was injured, so he can’t do most runs with me. (He’s still planning to go to Niagara, but he’ll be running the Half.) All of that has combined to fog up my mental windshield with regard to the race.
I’m not sure how much of a detriment that will be. I was, after all, pretty well engaged on my 20-mile run. I broke down a bit in the last third of the run. I walked for a few 1- to 2-minute segments. But I feel like I mostly made it through. The marathon won’t be easier, of course. It will be much harder. But I think I can do it if I just take a nice and easy pace. Which brings me to my third point.
- I’m not going to run a 4:15 marathon. Maybe if everything had gone right in training I could have done it. But it didn’t. My goal now is to finish, and to run a smart race, and to avoid long bouts of walking. I don’t need to be a hero. I think something like 5 hours is more realistic. I’ll be happy if I can do that. More specifically, I’m going to try for a pace of 10:50 per mile, which will put me at 4:44:03. Hopefully I can run most of the miles faster than that – more like 10:30.
- Finally, as I near the end of my training, I’m really looking forward to returning to my regular workout schedule. I won’t be able to take a post-marathon break from running. My over-arching goal for the year is to run at least 1,000 miles. I’ll be somewhere around 800 after the marathon. So I’ll basically need to run 100 miles each of the last two months of the year to make my goal.
That’s not nothing, but it’s also no major feat; Just one foot in front of the other. I’ll probably do something like two or three 5- to 8-mile runs during the week and then one 10ish-miler on the weekend.
After four months of Wednesday speed workouts and Saturday long, long, long runs, I’m looking forward to coasting back into my old routine.