Here I am, sitting on the porch, a storm rolling in, and Yardarm IPA by Royal Docks Brewing cracked. Trying to reflect on what has been a very weird, yet fun, training cycle. It seems like spring trainings are always interrupted by things. Whether it be sickness, home improvement projects, or just life. I can’t seem to find a groove, and just make due with what I put in. I’ve been sick more times than I count, and attribute it to IBS from stress, and am hopeful that I can get that under control moving forward. I laid new flooring throughout our entire first floor, and that just took it out of me.But this training has had one aspect that many seasons previously have missed. I had fun. When I went out on my longest run, 18 miles, I seriously enjoyed it. If it weren’t for having to go to work, I would have done more. The Columbus Marathon last year left so much to be desired, and I earned my first DNF (finished the half, not the full). But I realized something, I got so wrapped up in a BQ, that when an incident happened on the first water stop, I was so distraught that I magnified the pain and gave myself an out. It wasn’t fun anymore.
Isn’t that why I got into this? To have fun? Sure, I love the accomplishments and the medals, but every time I look at that half medal from CBus, I cringe a little bit. I hung the shirt up in my basement gym, aka the “Pain Cave”, as a reminder. It says “MOTIVATED” on it. This time around, I was MOTIVATED to have fun and enjoy the process and the miles.
The weather forecast for Sunday is far from ideal, although I have a feeling it won’t be as bad as we’re expecting forecasting it. But I find some comfort in it. While I want to have fun, I have to set out for some kind of goal. At the beginning of this training, I set out to earn guaranteed entry to Chicago 2018. That requires me to run a 3:15. More modest than a 3:05 (that wouldn’t even get me to Boston), but good enough for a two minute PR and a sweet prize. But with the weather, I’ve decided I don’t really care. I just want to have fun. My idea of fun isn’t having a terrible race plan for the conditions and hating the last 8-10 miles of the race. My idea of fun is to go out and leave it all out there, but finish strong.
This is what I’m doing, and I encourage you to do the same, or similar.
1.) I am hydrating like it’s nobody’s business. It doesn’t help I’ll be racing an 8k the day before, but I have got to make sure that I do everything I can to have my body ready for the big day.
2.) I am going to start with the 3:15 pace group. Usually in a marathon, I would evaluate things at mile 10 and half, see where I stand. I’m going to eat this race one 10k at a time. I’ve been doing a ton of 10ks this training, and see that as a good marker to evaluate my effort. After the first 10k, if it’s too much for that day, I’ll back off for the next 10k. The 3:20 pace group will find me by half, maybe, and I’ll just hang with them the next 10k. Then there’s only 12k to go, and maybe I can race it a little bit.
Now I could be completely overshooting here. This cycle has been absolutely awful, but maybe, just maybe, I am in better shape than I think, and peaking at the right time. Only time will tell. Fortunately, there isn’t too much time until we find out.