This is the post that I wait for other bloggers to post before they head off to their goal marathons. It's the post that states their goals, their thoughts, and their plans. And now, finally, I get to write mine. My marathon is coming up in four days. The weather is looking dry and a little warm, and I've got all kinds of plans that I can tame and corral and others that I just can't. I don't know what to expect. It's a scary place to be. I'm no half marathon expert, but because I've run 7 of them, I know what to expect while running 13.1, where it's going to hurt, and when to do everything that I need to do. I know when in the race I can determine if I'm going to hit my goal time, and I know when to speed up or slow down. I like knowing. It's nice to know. Going back and reading through my first half marathon post, I laugh at myself a little, but at the same time, I appreciate my perspective. That perspective is what I'm facing right now. I feel like I'm going to climb a mountain that is currently encompassed in clouds. I don't know how tall it is, and I don't know what the journey to the top is going to be like.
What I do know is that I'm prepared. At least, I think I'm prepared. I started a training plan in September, 5 and a half weeks after a pretty serious surgery that didn't allow any exercising at all, and I didn't look back. I stepped it up one time to a slightly higher mileage plan, and I didn't miss a run (until today, but it's a 2 miler, and I'm fighting tooth and nail not to get sick). I ran the tempos when I was supposed to and the long runs when I was supposed to. I did everything that Hal Higdon would want me to do. I wish that I could meet him and tell him that. I imagine he'd pat me on the back, smile, and tell me how proud of me he is. I also imagine him telling me that I can hit every goal that I've got in the back of my mind, and that it won't hurt at all. That last part would probably be a lie, though.
I know it's going to hurt. I know that there will be a time or two that I want to quit, or walk, or just be done. But someone told me that I just need to keep pushing, because eventually I'll feel better. I've run 20 miles twice in preparation for this, but 6.2 miles is a long way beyond that. Remembering what I felt like after those two 20's, I'm nervous for the 20.5, the 21, and beyond. What I am incredibly excited for, though, is the finish line (and the medal).
Heather left a comment on my last post telling me that when you look back on it it goes by a lot faster than you realize. It's funny, because it was a thought that I had had and snapped out of my head a time or two before she mentioned it. With all the long hours I've logged in preparation for this culminating event, it makes me a little sad how quickly in fact it will go by. I guess in my head I can think of that when I'm running. This is the party to celebrate the hard work I've spent so much time putting forth.
And it hasn't been easy.
There have been runs that felt like I was riding a unicorn from rainbow to rainbow, and there have been ones that I felt like a brick wall had been built in front of me and I was running into it without moving. Because I've done 90%+ of this training alone, I've gotten to know myself really well. I have had time to think through so much stuff, and I have enjoyed that time alone to think, space out, and decompress. I ran to celebrate my birthday, and I ran after frustrating days at school. A marathon training cycle is no joke, and looking back on it, I can't believe how long I've been on this journey. And I can't believe this journey is about to end. In a grand fashion.
So without further ado, here are my goals:
My main goal is to have fun. I want to celebrate everything I've done so far (because it's plenty to be proud of), and I want to celebrate knowing that I'm truly a runner. Though all you have to do to be a runner is run, I certainly must be one now, right?
And for time goals...I know some people are against creating them for first time marathoners, but I can't not. I'm an incredibly competitive person, and if I don't have time goals I won't know what's possible and I won't push myself as hard as I can. Because I swam throughout high school and grew up focusing on numbers, I do the same thing while running. I won't apologize for it. But I will say that I won't let my focus on time supersede my feeling of accomplishment when I finish (because of that I'm sure...I'll finish, in whatever fashion necessary).
I'm creating three time goals in case I'm feeling good: A, B, and C. My only real goal again is to finish and have fun.
C Goal: I want to run the whole thing (except possibly a few water stops, which I sometimes walk in half marathons in I need a mental boost) and I want to have as much fun as possible. I would shoot to finish in under 4:30 for this goal.
B Goal: 4:20 or better.
A Goal: 4:10 or better.
This all depends on so many factors, and that's what I don't know about. The weather is looking steamy and humid, and if it heats up faster than normal, I'm pretty sure I'll be throwing that A goal out the window and will be quickly striking through that B with an A. The high is 80 right now. That's HOT for running, but that's a sauna for a marathon.
I'll be in Corral C, which goes off at 5:48 AM I believe. Depending on paces and goals, I'll be running into early 10:00, so I just need mother nature to hold back the heat and the 70's and keep us in the 60's all morning. In the end, just finishing with a smile on my face is what I want. Setting time goals is just something I need to do for myself.
I'm headed over to Disney tomorrow to check out the expo and do some serious hopping (I hope; I hate when expos disappoint me). Saturday I'll be sleeping in and rooting for the people running the half marathon, and then Sunday morning it's my turn!
I'll be back tomorrow or Saturday to share about the expo! Good luck with your runs, races, and plans this weekend! Think happy, uplifting, cool thoughts for me on Sunday morning!