Well, it’s early Thursday morning on race week. I’m running Wineglass marathon on Sunday- my first stand alone marathon in 3.5 years. The last full marathon I ran was Boston in April 2016 where I ran a 3:42 and was extremely disappointed with my result. Sunday I’d be thrilled with a 3:58! Who knows. But you know what? I’m putting myself back in the ring. It’s not always easy but we have one life, we need to make the best of it. So, RUN the damn race! Get your ass kicked and live to tell the tale. Then? Go back and do it better with what you learned.
While the marathon is a race I’ve run many times, this is like a new beginning. First, I’ve only been training for about 6 weeks. While I do have an endurance base, I have no speed base. Because Geoffrey was concerned about my recovering from Lake Placid, my speed work only started a few weeks ago. Yes, I said Geoffrey. My coach. 😊 I never had G coach me before because he’s a running coach, not a tri coach. I had an awesome tri coach for years who helped me achieve some awesome things (and probably wanted to hit his head on the wall in frustration at many other times). But I’ve decided to head back to running for the next year and I just so happen to be married to a kick ass handsome coach. Am I concerned with my husband coaching me? No. Remember, he’s the one that told me to put on my big girl pants after crashing and arguing on the Keuka Century ride. He knows how to get me going. And even if I don’t like a workout and complain, he knows I will do it.
Why does it feel so different now? Mentally it is a very different race. In Ironman you shuffle along. Slowly. You stop at the aid stations and get cups of water, Gatorade, Coke, chicken broth. You eat snacks. Potato chips, pretzels, and anything else that looks good at the moment. You chat to the volunteers. Then you move on your way to the next aid station. In marathons you don’t stop. You drink on the run. Eat your Gu’s on the run. You don’t stop. Mentally they are totally different beasts. In ironman, when you hit the wall, your entire body hits the wall. It’s complete exhaustion with nausea and hard to keep your shoulders up. It’s pretty damn rough. It’s not if it will hit you, but when. In the marathon it’s pain. But pain, if handled properly, that is manageable until the finish.
What I was concerned about this cycle was training by heart rate. Now, G has several athletes who are training by HR and are KILLING it. G reads and reads and reads and does all the work. He knows his stuff. So, I knew this would be a big change for me. When I commit to something, I’m in. You know I’m going to give it my best shot and do what is asked of me. HR training has not been easy. Instead of training at 8 minute miles I now train in zone 2 at 9+ minute miles. “Run slow to get faster”. I have sworn at that quote in my head many times. I don’t look at my pace. I’m constantly having to slow myself down. This, of course, sets off my anxiety. I’m so slow! How will I run faster at the race! I’m getting slower and slower! I often complain to G about it. But that’s because it is new. I still do what he says. Mostly. He says he tells me to keep it in zone 2 and I run 2.9999. What? I’m still keeping it where he said. 😃 Technicalities! G has five athletes running on Sunday. We have our own little epic team!
So, I have a lot of anxiety heading in to Sunday. I just have no idea what to expect. I could run 8:40’s or I could run 9:40’s and I really have no idea which it will be. I know I have to do this HR training much longer to for it to really work. So then, what are my goals Sunday? I want to run a good race. I want to feel like a runner again. I want to build a foundation to help me step in to the next year of running on a positive, motivated, excited note. I want to enjoy this race with so many great people and smile. A lot.
This year Meb Keflezighi will be at Wineglass. If you don’t know who Meb is then we cannot be friends. Just kidding. Meb is now a retired American marathoner. He won a silver Olympic medal and he won Boston the year after the bombings. He lifted the entire city and running community up after the bombings. You need a positive, inspiring role model? Follow Meb. Even before Boston, I loved him. He’s won several other marathons but that’s not what makes him so special. One year he was running new York and had several issues. I can’t recall exactly but I think he had a bad stomach which caused several stops. He was way back from the elites and continuing to run with the regular runners. Most elites do not do this- they drop out and save their body for another race. Meb? He decided to run with and encourage other runners. He ran with a man to the finish and they held hands crossing the finish line. He’s just an amazing person. Meb will be speaking at the spaghetti dinner the night before the race. I honestly don’t know if he is running. But wouldn’t it be cool if he did? Maybe…the 3:55 pacer?! Can’t you see Meb and Meg running down Market Street to the finish holding hands?!?! Okay, I’m getting carried away. But a girl can dream. 😊
Seriously though, I adore Meb. I remember running Boston back in 2014. I was just heading on to Comm ave in to the hills and someone told us Meb won. I couldn’t believe it. I remember running with a huge smile on my face. After the bombing and how awful it was, to have Meb win it, it was overwhelming. It still gives me chills. He helped Abby and Kielin as well. After what they saw at the finish line the year before…to know this amazing American man stepped up and ran his heart out to win it…well, they know him and I hope they get to meet him at some point.
On second thought, I don’t know that it would be a good idea to run with Meb. There’s a very strong chance he would see ugly tears. I’m not sure that would be the picture I would want to leave him with. Do you think he would be able to tell me to put on my big girl pants?!
I’m really looking forward to the weekend. Wineglass is such a fun weekend around so many friends. I practically lose my voice on Saturday from talking so much. I’ve only ever run Wineglass half so this will be a new experience. With all the bad in the world, I’m very lucky to be here doing this and meet up with so many good people. I’m lucky that my body is still allowing me to do this. I’m lucky to have a wonderful coach and husband behind me. I’m just lucky. Period. And I will remind myself of that many times along the way.
So, no matter what, it will be a great day. A new beginning of a new adventure. Faster and stronger. I have many hopes for Sunday. I hope to make my coach and husband proud. I hope to make my kids proud. I hope to come out of the race happy. I hope to keep a good attitude, no matter what. We can’t control what happens but we can control how we respond to it. I know a lot of people who will be running their first full marathons and halfs on Sunday. It’s scary. It’s brave. But they are putting themselves in that ring and getting their asses kicked like the rest of us that toe the line. There is a whole lot of strength in that alone and I applaud them and wish them the best of luck. It will feel long and it will hurt. But that finish line? Totally worth it. Get it and don’t forget that it will be over before you know it. Be strong and be brave. When it hurts? Smile. It will help. And we will all celebrate after.
Time to rest up, carb up and get ready to GO!