I’m not nervous and overwhelmed in the same way that some athletes are about training for their Ironmans. The actual training for this marathon has not been all-consuming (although it’s been difficult with 4 20+ milers on hills). What consumes me is the realization that this is it and my strategy on HOW to race it keeps changing. My attitude about time goals and finishing changes on a minute to minute basis and that is the part that’s stressing me out. A couple of my training partners have decided to now race it for potential PRs. This is a new decision for many of them. When it first hit me and I actually signed up for Boston, I joked that I didn’t care what my finishing time was…I would walk the dang thing for all I cared. The important thing was that I got there in the first place on my sheer will, determination and practice, practice, practice.
Cut to 6 months and many miles later….With the exception of a couple of bad days, I’m feeling stronger than ever. I’m running faster than I was in Chicago. I’ve lost a couple of lbs and gained some valuable muscle. More importantly, I gained confidence…7:11 pace at the 3M Half-marathon, sub 7:00 pace at the 5K a few weeks back…In fact, if I was racing ANY other course, I’d shoot for a sub 3:30. Physically and mentally, I think I’m there. However, this is NOT any other course. This is BOSTON.
So there’s my mental drama for the day. Race it or thoroughly enjoy it and not think about time?!? I want to savor it so much and soak in every sight and sound, but I also want to take advantage of all of the training and hard work during the last 6 months. I don’t want the hill training, track workouts and speed drills to go to waste. Of course, there are so many Boston uknowns–a 12:30pm start time, weather, hilly terrain…All obstacles that can psyche out any runner, no matter how trained they are.
Go out with the 3:45 pace group which would be about an 8:35 split. (I actually may start off closer to 9:00s for the first couple of miles.) After Mile 19-20, see what’s in the tank and go from there. The hard part will be holding myself back on those miles that feel too good.
That’s this moment’s strategy. I’m sure it will change as the days unfold. Right now, they’re predicting partly cloudy and a high of 53 degrees. perfect…