So here I am, six days out from my first marathon in almost nine years. I am scared to death and excited all at the same time. I want to record how it feels now, and not try to recapture what I was thinking after the event is done, knowing that depending on how this all goes down I may pretend to develop amnesia. Marathon? What marathon?
This is one of those things that sort of fell into place. And once the idea of running a marathon was simmering in my brain and I googled “can I run a marathon in 7 weeks” I realized that it is just not the sort of thing you process in public. Mostly because the responses tend to be along the lines of “Why would you do something stupid like that? Don’t you know you need 20 weeks? Are you seriously asking that, dummy?” Very encouraging. And so this race, aside from the two friends I have in various parts of Colorado, 2 women runners whose blogs I follow, and the runners I run with in Sterling, oh, and my Dad, has been shared with almost no one. I guess I feel like I can always shove it under the rug, so to speak, if it turns out to be a really REALLY bad idea. (But then someone mentioned it on Facebook the day before and suddenly it wasn’t my clandestine marathon anymore. Which was okay.)
Here’s the thing, when I decided that it might be worth jumping aboard this marathon seven weeks and one long run out, I had just come across an intermediate marathon injury prevention plan in Runner’s World. For all intents and purposes it was not at all what I wanted to train with since I felt like it screamed: marathoning for the underachiever. It maxed out at 47 miles (which I bumped to 50 for the sole purpose of making me feel better) and only included one 20 mile run. The “for fun” running I was doing allowed me, almost seamlessly, to jump into the plan thirteen weeks in. Even so, there comes that point during the taper where you’re supposed to rest, hydrate, and “trust your training”. Psychologically I am hitting the panic moment of wondering what training I am supposed to trust if I haven’t trained like a “real” marathoner. Will trusting a third of my training get me through?
On the other hand. I feel good, am injury free, have not managed to get myself pregnant which has happened all the times I started “real” training, and don’t feel burned out from 20 weeks of following a plan with small children and their erratic sleep getting in the way of the running I am supposed to be doing. So my body feels good but my mind, which wants to be all hakuna matata about the whole experience but which, deep down, wants a 3:30 and to qualify for Boston is all over the map.
My biggest question, having done this only once before, is this: having done one of my 18 milers and my 20 around an 8:45-8:50 pace, can I really run faster on race day and hold an 8:01 for 26.2 miles? That is where I would like to have a little more training to trust. A few more long runs where I run at race pace and feel good. Oh yeah, never mind that the course runs down hill and is several thousand feet higher than where I’ve done my training. Details!
But you can’t have it all, I guess. I am happy to be feeling good, I am glad I signed up to run regardless of the result (hakuna matata!), and in six days I will have all of my questions answered!