Grandma's Marathon - What I Learned This Cycle + Goals For Race Day

Wow, wow, wow. I can’t believe its finally race week! Agh this training cycle has gone on forever, but that’s what happens when you feel like you need more time to get back to distance. I learned so much this training cycle, and while I’ve still got a few days left before its over and I’m sure I will have lots of post-race reflections, I wanted to take a minute to share a few of those things with you along with my goals for race day.

 
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What I Learned

Don’t Run More Than 1 Marathon per Season: Ok, so I already knew this from my previous days of running too many marathons that led to burnout and over training, but I went against my better judgement (and I’m sure to my coach’s dismay). Running Boston this year was epic. I really needed that to help me understand again the aura and draw of that race for so many athletes who come to me wanting to qualify. I’m glad I did it, but it wasn’t smart even though I didn’t race it. The race caused some serious irritation in my hip because of the hills and due to the longer training cycle, its been challenging for me to overcome. Which leads to my next point…

I Don’t Need That Much Time: I was sooooo scared to come back to the marathon. For over 8 months, I was averaging 25-38 miles/week. I did 2 runs over 13 miles in that time and every workout felt like death. Going into the spring, I wanted to take a long time to build up my mileage and work hard AF to hit a sub 3 goal. Our bodies don’t lose fitness or muscle memory that fast. I still remained consistent even though my mileage was lower for those 8 months. 6 months of building caused an irritated hip to exhibit overuse symptoms (which I got an x-ray for last week, but nothing will be answered until after Grandma’s). A 12-16 week build would’ve been fine for me and if I had been smart, I would’ve just tried to race Boston or not done Boston at all and started my build up later for Grandma’s. I’m tired AF right now, physically, and really burnt out mentally.

Sub 3 Is Really Freaking Hard: Holy shiz it is no joke. Each training cycle it makes sense: the harder the goal, the harder the work, but damn this training cycle and the workouts humbled me. I can’t even begin to describe how challenging it is to even think about holding a 6:50 for 26.2 miles. I got really sucked up into the comparison game with myself - that a 6:4x is my current half marathon PR pace and I’m hoping for just 5-7 seconds slower over twice the distance? We are our own worst enemies in the mental game, but this training cycle opened my eyes to stepping up to that next level of competition with myself. This doesn’t eliminate or make anything I’ve done previously seem less hard, but sub 3 feels like a level that’s more challenging than I ever expected.

Goals for Grandma’s

Because the mental game has been so hard the last several weeks, it’s been challenging for me to figure out what kind of fight I have to hit the sub 3 goal. Nothing in training has changed since I’ve started to feel this mental defeat, but I admitted to my coach that I’m a little scared and not quite sure I’m there yet. While she affirmed that it will be challenging and hard AF, she thinks I’m fit enough. Having no races since Boston to really see where my fitness is at also presents a little mental challenge with confirming what I can do. That being said, here are the goals I’ve lined up for race day:

A Goal: PR. Anything under a 3:07:00 will make me feel like I’m back in this game and I can do this. Since I got a 3:07 over a year ago, it’s hard to feel like I’m back there again. But you never know what you can do until you actually try, right? I’m going to try hard.

B Goal: Sub 3. This is my B goal, because a PR is ultimately what I’m chasing and just getting closer to the 3 hour mark. If I can race smart, I can do a sub 3.

C Goal: Negative split and finish strong. Ahhhh this goal has eluded me so many times, but its a solid part of my race plan. I lack control in pacing, so if I can control my pacing in the beginning and maintain the understanding that I can finish faster if I conserve energy, I can negative split.

D Goal: Smile! And then cry happy tears, I hope. I will probably be almost crying and getting my ugly face ready when I get close to the finish if I’m on par to accomplish any of the A-C goals. If I’m not, I just want to smile because its over. I worked really hard and am happy to be getting some rest after this.

Tracking

If you are interested in tracking me on race day, my bib # is 4712 and you can sign up for tracking below.

Thanks to everyone for already sending kind messages my way! I truly think about all of that while I’m out on the course and it helps so much when I feel ready to quit - hoping to make everyone proud of me :)

J