LA Marathon: Reassessing My Goals

A total of 10 weeks of training, too many hours to count, and hundreds of miles leading up to this Sunday's race. I haven't toed the line since CIM and I've put a lot of time and effort into this training cycle. I'm feeling nervous, not about my training or abilities, but about the weather. I've never considered signing up for LA before because it is so well known for its terrible and wacky weather (gotta love the CA heat waves in the middle of February, right?). We've had a very chilly winter in CA thus far. I've sucked it up to run in rain multiple times (which is hard and I hate it), and looking back at my history on my Garmin, I haven't run anything over 70°. The expected high for Sunday's race will be 90° and it will be about 60° at the start. 

Obviously, not every race goes as planned, and one needs to get over it, right? When you train so hard for one day, this becomes a difficult thing to swallow. Everyone racing will face the heat with me on Sunday. Some will be running their first marathon, some their 20th, but it will be hot for everyone and  a struggle for us all. Rather than wallow and be super bummed about a potentially bad performance (that hasn't yet happened), I've decided to adjust my goals for this race so I can walk away happy if things turn south, or even more proud if things go really well. Mark has always told me you have several goals in a race (A, B, C, D, etc). Accomplishing all or one is a success.

A Goal: Sub 3:25
A PR is the main goal. Initially, I wanted to go after a 3:20. Everything in my training tells me I'm ready and able to accomplish it. Given the weather, anything under my previous PR of 3:25 will be something I'm extremely proud of.

B Goal: BQ
This is part of the A goal since anything under 3:25 will be another Boston Qualifier for me, but a sub 3:35 will be my second goal and a BQ.

C Goal: Finish Feeling Strong
I ended CIM feeling really good until halfway through mile 25. I can't tell you how amazing that feels. I want to finish this race feeling like I can run mile 26 just as fast as mile 6. I want to make sure I'm well hydrated and avoid any issues with heat stroke or improper fueling during the race.

D Goal: Run Happy
This is going to be my biggest challenge, and should probably be my A goal. If I don't accomplish any of my other goals, it will be difficult to run happy, but I just have to remember how lucky I am to be able to run 26 miles at whatever pace I do.

Currently, I'm still in a sort of regret and "woe is me" mode - telling myself I knew the weather would suck, why did I sign up for this race, etc. Ultimately, I have to adapt to the weather. I can't change it. We can spend MONTHS training for a single day, and whatever happens on race day doesn't diminish all of the training and work that's been put in. I know what I can do - will I hit my current potential this Sunday in LA? We'll see. If I don't, I'm still so proud to have made it through one of the toughest training cycles to date. And if I do... I get to eat a pint of ice cream when I cross the finish ;)

Good luck to everyone running this weekend!


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