Today is Monday. This Saturday, I will join close to 7,000 runners at the start of the Myrtle Beach Marathon. The marathon and half-marathon both begin at 6:30 am. I was not happy about freezing my butt off at the early start, but the forecast is for lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s, so now I'm quite happy. I've been training in snow and ice. A too hot day will destroy me. Let's get in there and get this thing run before the sun really comes up.
How am I feeling about the race? Pretty zen. What will be will be. I'm still holding to my goal of trying for under a 3:40. I think I'm trained enough to reach it. Holding an 8:20 pace will be hard and will require some pushing, mentally and physically on my part, but the potential is there.
This is quite a different feeling from which I entered Boston. My head was in a dark place there. I was convinced going in that I was going to tank, in a very public way. I think I was nervous about proving that my BQ time at Chicago wasn't a fluke. Maybe that's why I'm calm here. I've qualified for Boston in my last two marathons. I don't feel like I have anything to prove in running this race, other than that I'd like to see to it that these last 16 weeks of speed work and tempo runs haven't been for nothing.
If anything, I am VERY excited about the races being run by the 6 women I'm rooming with. My friend Christie has come so close to qualifying several times and she is all set to go out and kill this race. Likewise, my friend Christine has been a training maniac with RunnerDude and I think she's planning something major like dropping 30 minutes off her last marathon time. Yes, you read that correctly.
Amy and Sarah have also been training with Runnerdude and both have picked up huge amounts of speed, as has Lori, who is just naturally fit and fast. Then there's Cindy, who's run a 3:10 marathon and is thinking she might try to better that time this weekend. Wicked fast, she is. WICKED FAST.
So I'm excited for my race, but just as jazzed to see the group do well as a whole. It bodes well that I'm approaching this Saturday as just another long training run. That's the mindset I had at the start of Chicago. I showed up and just thought, "Well, we'll see what the day holds."
My only concern is the long, flat stretch between miles 8 and 17. No turns, no variations, nothing. Just flat, flat, flat. Wondering how I'll handle that mentally. Me, who freaks out if she's bored for over 5 minutes at a stretch.
Anyway, I've got a few more training runs this week. I haven't worked out with weights or done yoga since I hurt my back. It feels fine now, but no point in tempting it the week before the race. (Or maybe I'm just lazy. Hard call.)
The great thing about marathon week is the sleep. I give in to my body completely. I sleep late and if I want a nap, I get one. Totally worth suffering through the training for.