Qualify for, and run, the 2016 Boston Marathon.
Almost a year ago, I qualified by running the Wisconsin Marathon in 3:25:50. Step 1, Done.
In 5 days, barring any freakish occurrence (knocking on wood right now!), I will run the Boston Marathon.
In preparing for this race, I have read a lot, and have worked on mental training as much as physical training. Last week, I finished reading The Runner's Brain. Regardless of source, a given of race prep is setting a number of goals. Call them what you will (e.g., "good/better/best", "A/B/C"), they all boil down to the same concept.
I have had a central goal since beginning training: Run this sucker in 3:15. However, I have a more nuanced race plan after talking to my coach and doing some thinking.
Worse case scenario: In the words of my coach, this is the "oh, I feel like shit today" plan. If I show up to the start feeling like I am on my deathbed, I just enjoy the experience and take it in.
It is good to have a back up plan, but I'm hoping not to invoke the worst case scenario. So let's talk about how this is going down.
Start line: START SLOW. I want to run the first three miles at 8:00 pace, the first five in around 39 minutes. Ease into the 7:30 pace land. If at 5 miles, I'm feeling good, continue with 7:30.
At 10 miles, check in with my body and evaluate. If all systems go, continue with 7:30.
At 15 miles, check in with my body and evaluate. If all systems go, continue with 7:30. Here is where the hills come in. If I'm feeling good, continue to try to do 7:30 on the hills.
At 20 miles, if I'm feeling good, all systems go. Finish strong.
What does this look like time wise? My physical training would have me believe that a straight 7:30 pace should be doable. Finish time: 3:16:48, within the 3:15-3:17 zone. I would be happy with this.
Of course, I don't dream of that. In my visualizations and deep down, I want to finish strong (7:15 pace land) and finish in 3:15 or under.
If I don't make any of those time goals, I at least want to PR, which would be to run it faster than 3:25:50 AND negative split the race.
As my coach reminded me, regardless of the outcome, I should be happy and proud of the process and my training. I was consistent, as consistent as I have ever been, and I kicked out some hard HARD workouts. I am proud and happy with my training.
But, if I'm honest, a little part of me will be disappointed if this is a total flop. Luckily, I have had a great block of training and the chunking of thinking of the race in 5 mile increments is a mental strategy that I have invoked, and have had success with, in the past. Finally, THE CROWDS! Really looking forward to the boost that will give me as well!
Emotionally, I am riding high right now. If I think too much about it, I get tears in my eyes. (Indeed, I was welling up while listening to the "race prep/race strategy" convo with my coach last night!). Every time I imagine crossing the finish line, the tears come. The key will be to channel that, especially at the start!
This is my last post before the race. I am back on Tuesday night and will do my best to get a recap up next week sometime. You can follow me via the athlete tracker system (or download the app!) and enter my bib number 14233. And if you don't already follow me on Instagram (@amyschlott) I have been known to overgram more than one occassion :)
Thanks so much for reading this 1 year, 5 month and 29 day journey I have been on!