Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goals of a Recently Calm Runner

There are 3 days until the marathon I've been waiting almost 2 years to run. To get to this starting line, I have participated in 9 races, run hundreds of miles, and spent more than $500 on membership fees and races. I'm ready.  

Yet, up until this week, I hadn't given the marathon a ton of thought. I was a stressed little thing! While running under normal circumstances is a stress-reliever for me, running 35+ miles per week is not. I realized this year that training for a marathon does, in fact, add stress to my life. I always tried to convince myself it was good for me, no matter how high the mileage. However, I was also crazy busy at work - planning off-site meetings in 3 different cities that I had to travel to while also trying to balance my day-to-day work. The combination of training and work made me feel stressed, unhappy and overwhelmed. 

I was mentally exhausted.

So when taper time came a week and a half ago, I welcomed it with wide open arms. I was ready to buy taper a round of heavily alcoholic drinks.

I'm just not one of those runners who freaks out during taper. While there is always an element of doubt about whether I trained enough, I look forward to weeks with long runs totaling "only" 12 miles. I see taper as a way to regain my confidence. I ran my last two "long" runs at a much faster pace than my previous long runs. My lack of exhaustion at the end of each of them gave me a sense of pride. 

I've even had the time and energy to fit in two yoga sessions in two weeks. On my first day back to yoga after months of running and mental exhaustion from work, I could hear my body and soul say to me "this is what you needed."

So now that I'm starting to regain my calm, and all of my work meetings are over, it's time to evaluate what I want from this marathon. After two years in the making, I've decided I only have two goals for this race - a peaceful one, and a competitive one.

Peaceful Goal - I want to have fun!
(this one is for you mom)
One thing I learned from my first triathlon back in June, is that you should make having fun a priority during a race. I spent a lot of that triathlon pushing myself, and thinking about how slow I felt I was going. I ended up doing well, but I sort of regretted not enjoying the day as much as I could have.

The number one thing I want from this marathon is to have fun. I want to savor every moment, and celebrate the fact that I'm running one of the biggest marathons in the world. After waking up all those early mornings, surviving killer long runs, sacrificing countless Friday nights for this marathon, I sure as heck want it to be a day I remember. The goal is to have a smile on my face from the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed that night.

The Queensboro Bridge is deceptively insane to run.
Competitive Goal - I want to beat 4 Hours
(this one is for me)
I would be lying if I didn't admit this was something I wanted. This number, breaking 4 hours, has been a huge motivator for me. On the days I had speedwork, it made me push myself to go faster. During my long runs, it was the reason I finished the last few miles strong, despite the pain I was feeling.

After coming in at 4:09 last year at Philadelphia, I think it's possible. I trained so much harder and longer this year compared to last, and I think it's in my reach. I want to go for it, because I don't know what the next year will bring. I don't know if I want to run another marathon next year. I only want to think about this race, and give it everything I have.

Unrelated photo of the gloves I've been wanting
to buy for two years.
While I will definitely be disappointed if I don't beat it, I want the focus of my race to be something I enjoy. I don't want it to be a pain-fest, like some of the miles were for me last year. I want it to be a celebration of running, and the city I live in. And even if I don't reach that 3:59 number, I think the beers and family time afterwards will taste just as good.

1 comment:

  1. Here's to peace, 4 hours, burgers, beers and - of course - family! It will be a great Sunday!