A few days ago, I was really nervous about the marathon. Yes, it's my 3rd one. People say I shouldn't be nervous because I know what to expect. But the reality of it is...both of my marathons have been completely different. You can't really "expect" anything on marathon day and things always seem to go...not wrong but, in another direction. I've actually gone from really nervous to really excited. I can't wait for it to be here (and be over)!
I'm really good at expecting the unexpected. I'm really good and not freaking out during the event when something unexpected happens to me. Those are definitely positives. Now my main concern is what pace I'll be running.
Granted, I should have this figured out by now. The reason why I don't? There are a few. First of all, my pace has changed this training season. With all my physical injuries and the anemia that I was diagnosed with in May, my running pace really suffered. I was incredibly frustrated too because I was much faster in 2010.
But after not having any lower body injuries this time around and getting my iron somewhat under control, my running pace has gotten a little better. I'm about 45 seconds to 1 minute faster per mile for my shorter runs and at least 30 seconds or more faster for long runs than I was the first half of the year. I'm sure running in 100 degree days, although miserable, helped my pace a little for these cooler temps too.
So after thinking about this for a while, these are my options right now for pace:
1. Start with the 4:30 pace group. (I did this for the IL marathon and felt like I was chasing them until I dropped back. However, I'm in better condition this time, so this might be an ok option).
2. Start with a pace of 10:30. I came up with this pace after thinking I couldn't handle the 4:30 pace group.
I'm planning on starting with my friend Shelby. And depending on the run, we will just hang together until we can't anymore. So I emailed Shelby to find out her thoughts. She was having hip problems the last few weeks but took a week off and is a little better. Depending on her hip, we may or may not start together.
The other thing I'm pretty good at is running by feel. I'm very good and knowing what pace feels good to me at the time. So if I just listen to my body, I should be ok.
My goals have been pretty simple this time around. For the first marathon...how do you pick a goal? Usually you just want to finish. For the second marathon, with all my injuries and missed training...I was worried about even finishing the marathon!
For my third marathon, these are my goals.
1. Minimally I would like to beat my best marathon time of 4:53. It should be totally doable. I still have doubts sometimes but all-in-all, I think I can definitely do that.
2. Ultimate goal for this marathon is 4:35. Why 4:35? I picked that goal back in June when I was asked to write it down (prior to training). I wasn't sure I could get to 4:30. A 4:35 time is a 10:30 pace. Sure, it may be challenging to keep that average pace, but I think I can do it, if it's a good run day! Or at least get close.
3. HAVE FUN! What is the point of running, training, doing these races if you aren't having any fun?? I want to enjoy myself. Sure there will be a few miles that may not be the most fun, but look around at the spectators! Slap some hands! Enjoy the scenery a little bit, you are in Chicago after all! If there are friends or family down there, find out where some will be so you can say hi while passing by or give a few hugs. All of this mentally helps you get through the run.
What helped me last year was knowing where people would be. I knew my parents were going to be at certain mile markers. So at mile 15, if I wanted to walk, I decided to wait because I knew my parents and friends would be around mile 16. "Just get to mile...." It really helps me keep going.
Also, know what side of the street they are planning on being on. Some parts of the course are crowded. It will be easier if you know what side of the street to look for someone on so you can be on that side. Of course, if you are directionally challenged like my dad, he might tell you he is on the north side of the street...in which then you find out, the street goes N/S and people are on the E/W sides. Ugh...then you have to wing it!
The marathon is now 1.5 weeks away. All season we have been wondering about the temps for the marathon! The summer at times was far hotter than last year with many days in the 100's! But come August and temps sometimes didn't make it out of the 60's! Even this month, we have had 80 degree days (near 90) and 60 degree days (even 50's) a week later! It has been very difficult to predict the temps for the marathon! I didn't even try! I just ran whether it was cold, hot, rainy, sunny...
Now it's looking like the temps are going up a little bit each day for the next week or so. 69, 70, 71...lol. It's like what happened last year for the marathon. Right now my prediction is 50's to start and low 70's to finish. Maybe a few degrees cooler than last year. Still a little warmer than we would have liked, but I'm ok with this. I guess I will see as the week goes on. Stay tuned... My thought is...no sense in freaking out about something you have NO control over.