While going over my race plan (again) last night, Matt and I both shared a thought that I’ve often had, but not often verbalized. 26.2 miles is a long f***ing way. It’s the distance from Waterbury to Burlington when you drive on 89. And right this instant, the thought of running 8 minute miles for that distance seems insurmountable despite the fact that I’ve done it in every marathon I’ve run. What we settled on was that racing a marathon is an amazing feat, which bears repeating in the days before the marathon when I’m fixated on hydration plans and race strategy. It’s amazing. As daunting as it seems now, I have to remain confident that I’ve done it before and that I’ve put more into this training cycle than any prior one.
When I ran my first marathon, I had no idea what I was doing. I followed a training plan that peaked at 35 miles a week, did one 20 mile run and crossed my fingers and ran. I felt good for most of the race and upon finishing exclaimed, “When can I do that again?!” I ran a 3:17 on a hilly course.
My second marathon (Rock and Roll Las Vegas) just plain sucked. I had done all of my training on nice rolling dirt roads but raced on a flat, paved course. By mile 10, I was in some serious pain. I had also only focused on long runs with no real race pace or uptempo efforts. I came home in 3:15 with a last mile at 9:40. Hello, wall.
Boston was a decent marathon for me. My training cycle was good until 6 weeks before the marathon and the week before was suboptimal, but I balanced increasing miles with uptempo work and turned in a 3:11. I was in good spirits for the whole race and never met the wall.
For VCM, I have no idea what to expect (per usual). I’ve run more miles this cycle than I ever have and long runs have been almost 2 minutes faster than in prior cycles. I’ve done tempos and intervals and huge weekends of 30 to 40 miles of running. All I can do is go out slowly and be patient until the race starts at 16.