Saturday’s long run was a bear. The weather was insane. For the first few miles we ran through an unexpected snow squall and battled high winds (about 30mph) through mile 8 at which point we turned and had the wind at our backs for a while. The final 3 miles were once again fraught with the strongest wind conditions I have ever run in. The goal was to maintain an average pace of somewhere between an 8:30-9:00 mile and to try to push it at the end if we had it in us. I know I was pushing at race pace effort those last three miles, but against that crazy wind it doesn’t really show exactly how hard I was working. I ran with my buddy (and fellow Honey Badger) Chris and we finished strong despite the weather conditions. Average pace was an 8:34 which factors in a long stop light and a watch snafu at miles 11 and 15. It was an excellent run and I am proud of both of us for tackling it the way we did.
|blissful – and tired – after my 22 miler|
When I got home I thought about how this training cycle has been going, particularly with regards to my longer runs. I’ve run three 20+ milers – a 20 miler on the treadmill on January 21st which I completed with an average pace of 8:31 per mile, a strong 22 miler on February 11th (average pace 8:29) and Saturday’s 22 miler (average pace 8:34). I’ve also run three 18 milers (average paces were 8:32, 8:29 and 8:38) and a few really strong 16 milers with race pace miles at the end of many of these runs. This is when I need to tell myself to trust in my training.
I’m training for a 3:30 marathon finish (average pace 8:01) and the McMillan Calculator recommends that I run my long runs between an 8:30-9:30 pace, so I’m consistently hitting the faster end of this range. These paces have not been a problem for me, and I’m recovering just fine. This is NOT to say that it has been easy – I’m working harder than I ever have in all my life! – but in the moments when self doubt and negative thoughts creep in, in those instances where I think to myself oh my gosh a 3:30 is really really fast and that scares me to pieces – I have to take a step back and remember that I have done the work. I have to remind myself that the reason I am attempting a 3:30 marathon is because I KNOW I CAN DO IT. I know it deep down inside and I believe it with all of my heart.
Last training cycle I wanted to run a 3:40 so I could qualify for Boston. I was training at paces for a 3:40 consistently and I crossed the finish line in 3:41:56, less than 2 minutes from my qualifying time. My long runs were nailed nearly every single time at about a 9:00 average pace. This time around I am working harder – running faster, logging more miles – and I have got to believe that it will pay off on race day. When I compare my last (and only) 22 miler of my fall training cycle to the two 22 milers I did this cycle, it makes me smile:
I know that anything can happen on marathon day. There are so many factors and that is just how it goes. But I also know that I have never had a training cycle like this and that if I cross the finish line with a different outcome than I am hoping for, it will just make me feel even more determined to pick myself back up and try again. I have not come this far to give up.
My goal is to finish with a time under 3:39:59 – I want that BQ and I want a PR. But I KNOW that I am capable of more so I am DREAMING BIGGER than that. I have worked for more. I love the way Dorothy sets her goals, and I’m inspired to do so in the same way (please read her post today if you haven’t already – so so good). It totally scares me to do this, but here we go:
Marathon Goal: 3:39:59 – a PR and a BQ
Realistic Goal: 3:35
Dream Big Goal: 3:30
So, now I have less than 3 weeks until the big day. The “hay is in the barn” as they say. Before I transition into the official taper, I will run about 50 miles this week (including a 16 mile long run on Friday) and then from there it will be time to focus on reducing my mileage, staying stress-free and healthy, resting my legs and strengthening my mind and spirit as I prepare for race day.
I am SO excited. It’s almost GO TIME!