Well, I did it. And by ‘it’ I am referring to my last major long run of marathon training that took place on Saturday morning. Even though this was my third 20-miler in the past 4 months, I was nervous as it approached. I know that one run doesn’t define your fitness level or predict how the race will turn out. But I was hoping for a solid run because I knew it would help me relax and really enjoy my taper. I got what I hoped for. It was my best 20 miler of training in terms of pace and how I felt. Now my taper has officially begun and I’m feeling a multitude of different things.
I’m feeling relieved for the break in mileage. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running. And I would still rather run than do any other type of exercise so I wouldn’t consider myself burnt out. But yesterday I only ran a little over 2 miles… on purpose… and it was blissfully simple and enjoyable. I feel like these next few weeks of shorter runs will be perfect for getting out and just running without all the fuss, not to mention giving my tired body a break.
I’m feeling anxious about the high goal that I’ve set for myself for this race. I have gone back and forth about the validity of this goal since training began. Some days I think I’ve got it… other days I wonder if I have any business ever thinking I had it. To be honest, I think that physically I am right on the threshold. If things go really well on race day I think that my body is capable of it. I know that ‘things going really well’ calls into question a lot of factors though, many of which will be out of my control. So right now I know that I should just focus on catching my mental game up with my physical training. Because being there physically will matter little if I can’t get up the confidence to let myself go for my goal pace.
I’m feeling on edge in general. Things have gone really well so far, so a certain amount of paranoia has set in. My co-worker came in to work with a cold yesterday. I had to keep telling myself that it is not necessarily proper workplace etiquette to tell her to go home so she doesn’t infect me. The sounds of her sniffling and sneezing at the desk right across the room from me were super unsettling and made it even more difficult to contain my socially unacceptable urges. I need a face mask, some rubber gloves, and an industrial-size can of Lysol – stat.
I’m feeling grateful that I have made it to this stage of training healthy. Probably the hardest part of training for and running a marathon is making sure you make it to the starting line healthy and injury-free to run the race. I feel very fortunate that, so far, I have achieved that. Sure, it is partially because I knew my limits in terms of weekly mileage, listened to my body, and treated it to lots of stretching and foam rolling. But I know plenty of runners who did all of those things too and still ended up injured this season and unable to run their planned races. Not all injuries occur because of improper training, many occur because of plain bad luck. To anyone reading this dealing with an injury, my heart is absolutely with you and I send you many good vibes for a safe and speedy recovery.
I’m feeling excited for race weekend! That’s what is truly important after all, isn’t it? All other feelings aside, I truly can’t wait. I have heard so many good things about the Richmond Marathon and being at a huge race (this will easily be the biggest I have ever run in) and surrounded by all the running nerdiness is going to be a blast. I get to see my parents and spend the weekend with my newly engaged brother and his fiance. I get to enjoy a vacation weekend with Jeremy and Juneau. Even though I grew up about an hour from Richmond, I have really never explored the area so I am looking forward to doing that and, yes, I am considering it a vacation. Regardless of the outcome of the race, or my time goal, or the pressure I have put on myself, I am keeping this feeling in the very front of my mind.
When is your next race? How are you feeling about it? How are you feeling in general on this fine Wednesday?