In Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin tells Pooh “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Wise words from a children’s book…
My teammates have spent much of this week encouraging me that I’m stronger than I think going into tomorrow. Like many runners in snowy climates, this winter was hard on training. Between snow and ice plus coaching, I spent much of the winter just plain exhausted and although my mileage volume was fine, my legs feel pretty darn rusty. I’ve done some targeted workouts but I’m not nearly as sharp as I was going into Philly. It’s hard for me to view a race as a training opportunity and to lower my expectations. I’m still at a place where my ramped up training over the past couple of years has reaped PR after PR, so not being ready to PR is hard to swallow.
My plan for tomorrow is simple: run hard, work on the small things and get 18 miles done. The course is a combination of Philly and New Bedford; it features a 4 mile downhill section in the middle of the race and hill at 12 like New Bedford, but significant hill climb between 5 and 7 like Philly. My hope is that I can get through the hills at tempo effort, work hard to use the downhill to my advantage then dig deep to grind out the last few miles. Time and place is a tertiary thought.
The rain and cold provides a different challenge. Low 40s and wet is very different than racing in low 40s and dry and I have no less than 15 outfit combinations with me to try to be prepared. In the end, the really important detail is keeping feet and chafe zones comfortable with as much Body Glide and Vaseline as possible.