I’m a runner who can whip myself up into a nervous frenzy weeks before a race. I worry about everything from the weather to my competition to the parking situation, only some of which I have any control over. This time around, however, I find myself extremely calm going into Sunday. I’m excited for sure, but the panic that usually takes over my brain is missing.
Much of this is because I’ve had an exceptional training cycle: 13 weeks at 65 miles a week, no injuries, no illness, no missed workouts. For the first time ever, I have a coach that I trust completely. Instead of worrying about paces or scheduling, all I’ve had to do is run, rest and repeat on his word. Workouts have been crushingly hard (seriously, 16 by 400 followed by 5 all out 400s? 13 miles with 9 at steady state pace?), but just when I felt like I was going to crack, I’d get a much needed rest day or adaptation week. All of this has translated into fitness that I really trust and a confidence that I’m ready to compete at Philly, not just show up and see what happens.
My race plan for Sunday is simple. Tempo effort for the first set of miles followed by a few miles of agony. I’ve practiced my tempo and steady state pace weekly since August and at this point, it feels like second nature. As I was doing my last workout yesterday (1200s at said tempo pace), I found myself calmed by the rhythm of my breathing, the turnover of my legs. Every time I finish a tempo workout, I find myself realizing that although I was happy to stop, I didn’t have to. I still don’t totally know what “comfortably hard” means, but I’m getting much closer.
As for my tactical race plan, I’m hoping to not have to do all the work alone in the forecasted wind and with marathoners and half marathoners running together, I shouldn’t have to. After the frenzy of the first mile, I’m hoping to latch on with some runners of similar pace and hang together until it’s time to move. Just like the steady state run with Chris and Seth that felt like jogging, racing in a pack feels significantly easier than going it alone. Once we reach mile 9, however, it’s every woman for herself and I’ll be happy for the track speed I’ve been working on in this last phase of the cycle.
In Govind we trust…