And just like that, it's race week! I'm amazed at how fast this training cycle went. I think that training for a triathlon and a marathon at the same time for much of the summer made this cycle go by even faster than usual. I'm so thankful that I've stayed healthy and have felt good during most of my runs. Here's my goals and strategy for the race on Sunday and how you can track me!! (warning, lengthy post to follow, feel free to scan it or skip it if running isn't your thing!)
I usually set A, B, and C goals for a race but this time around I only have one "real" goal which is to finish in less than 4 hours. Sure, I want to have fun and finish with a smile on my face but I'd be lying if I said that my sole focus wasn't coming in under 4 hours, even if that means 3:59:59. I came fairly close in Des Moines when I ran a 4:03:34 so hopefully I can shave ~ 4 minutes off of that time. I know I am a stronger runner than I was 3 years ago when I ran Des Moines so hopefully all of my hard work pays off on Sunday.
That said, I am trying to prepare myself mentally to not reach my goal. It will be challenging and I don't want to beat myself up if I don't run a sub-4 hour marathon or if I don't PR. After my RA diagnosis, I never thought I'd run another marathon so I will also be focusing on appreciating that my body has healed enough to allow me to run this race.
My plan is to line up with the 4 hour pace group but try to run my own race. I want to stay slightly ahead of them, but not too far ahead as I need to be careful about not going out too fast. John and my run club buddy will be running with me, too, so we'll be able to cheer each other on and motivate each other. I'll definitely bring headphones and listen to some Taylor Swift as soon as I need the motivation/distraction which could be earlier in the race.
For fuel, I've changed plans as it was just too hard to carry the number of apple sauce packets that I will need. I thought about carrying 3 and having Phil hand some to me when he is spectating but I felt it was too risky to rely on him as it can be tough to spot spectators, and vice versa. So 2 weeks ago, I started training with Huma gels. They were recommended to me as they are not super sweet, they are chia seed-based, and they are all-natural. I felt great on the 2 long runs that I had them on so I feel confident about using them on race day.
For a distraction, I'll once again turn my pace bracelet into a prayer bracelet and will dedicate each mile to a different person. It was fun to look back on my last race recap and read my reflection on my prayer bracelet:
'The prayer bracelet proved to be a great strategy, though. I prayed for
marriages, both new and seasoned, babies, a friend who is trying to have
a baby, nephews, a niece, and faux nephews and nieces. I prayed that
single friends would meet their husbands soon. I spent the final 5
miles praying for an aunt who has cancer, as well as the sister and mom
of two friends that are battling cancer, too. I said Hail Mary's and
Our Fathers and thought to myself (and said out loud a couple of times) -
this is so hard. But I made it through, with a bright, shiny PR (and
very sore, beat up legs/feet).'
A couple of those prayers have been answered, 2 of which I bolded, which is neat to see. It's always fun to decide who to pray for during each mile and it really is the best distraction. I know for sure that I will be dedicating the last 3 miles to a friend's mom who is losing a battle with lung cancer; hopefully thinking of my friend, her mom, and her family will give me some perspective during those miles.
How you can track me:
If you care to follow along from afar, you can sign up to track me. You can look me up by my name, which most of your know, or by my bib number which is 6320. The cut off for signing up to track me is Saturday night at 7 pm. Thanks in advance to those of you who will be cheering me on from afar! I really appreciate the support and encouragement!
One last note:
The local Black Lives Matter chapter has announced their intention to disrupt the marathon and shut-down the course. Their plan it to stop the race at mile 25 and not allow runners to finish the race. I hope and pray that this does not happen. I don't want to get into a debate about this organization in this post because it's too complex for a post about a marathon but I will say that it would be very heart breaking if they succeed in doing this. So while you are sending me good vibes for my race, if you could also send up a prayer that the protest is a peaceful protest and doesn't prevent me from finishing my race, that would be great. I've got enough to worry about without having to worry about this!
And now my focus this week will shift to eating well, drinking lots of water, and getting as much sleep as I can so I will be ready to attack my goal with gusto! Wish me luck and send me lots of good vibes on Sunday!!!