Do I feel prepared? No. Do I ever feel prepared? No. Do I back down from a challenge? Well, see my previous two responses.
I registered for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon back in February. Each marathon has been different than the one before it and after the last one I always swear that I won’t sign up for another. But, I’m a goal setter and this is the terrible (or, awesome!) habit I’ve fallen into. I expect this one to be no different.
When repeatedly asked what my goal was for this race, I struggled to come up with a response. Goals are expressed in finish times, right? And your finish time MUST be better than your previous time for any given distance, correct? As the summer dragged on I found myself focusing less on time and more on other aspects of 26.2 miles. There is so much that goes into the planning and preparation for a marathon. I never once tried to convince myself that I could do better than my 4:15:23 PR from two years ago in Philly although a PR is always nice. I skipped my fair share of runs and performed my obligatory speed work here and there. But, I feel as though I’ve made huge advances this year in how I fuel and how I pace myself and that is my goal – to run the smartest race I have ever run before.
After all of these years of running, I never had my fueling under control. Long runs were riddled with near instantaneous GI distress once my foot crossed a finish line or the threshold of my house. I would drink too little, maybe eat too much, and then panic.
But, after careful assessment, I shifted towards using Generation UCAN and Picky Bars exclusively and have witnessed a 110% improvement in how I feel during a long run and immediately after. This isn’t a product endorsement by any means. This is the winning combination for me that has left me feeling confident that I can effectively manage 26.2 miles. This was the smartest thing I could have ever done as a runner.
I have also noticed a significant change in how I pace myself. My runs have been more “tempered” per se and I have worked to negative split during training as well as maintain a steady pace while leaving some gas in the tank. There were many times that I would just run to run to see how much I could tax my body. If you’re not running fast, then you’re not really working for it I would often think to myself. Wrong.
Could I be…growing up?
October 12th will be my last marathon in the 30-34AG. I am determined to make it my smartest.
A marathon is a celebration of life. It is the greatest sense of fulfillment and pride I have ever had bottled up inside of me at once. While I don’t think I will ever physically or mentally feel ready, my heart is prepared for yet another 26.2 miles.