I talked in my last blog about the compulsion to sign up tons of races right after you finish one. I’ll be running my second marathon in a month on Sunday because of that specific compulsion. I’d just gotten over my “I am never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever going to run a marathon” feeling after the Marine Corp Marathon last year (my first) and on an impulse, without telling anyone or seeing if anyone wanted to go in with me, I signed up for the lottery. I didn’t actually think I’d get in.
I should be so lucky with Powerball.
After I got into Chicago, I guess I could have deferred NYC. But I decided that this year I was going to really challenge myself and do two marathons in the fall running season. I figured I’d be trained up anyways, I might as well do both. Makes perfect sense, right? It’s amazing how easy and logical that sounds in your head when it’s over 6 months away but when the time comes to do it all, you wonder what the hell you were thinking.
After finishing Chicago, I have had mixed feeling about running a second marathon this season.
Well, in truth, I have mixed feeling about running ANY marathon. The training completely overwhelms your life for five months. Running for four and half hours without stopping is really, really hard and the pain that hits you somewhere in those final eight miles is truly exquisite – like nothing I have ever experienced before. Marathons are exhausting – both mentally and physically.
However, call me crazy, but I love the discipline and “suffering” that is a part of training. And while I’m running for that four and half to five hours, there are people cheering and that’s pretty amazing to listen to for all that time. Most importantly, when I’m done, I get a shiny medal. I also get to walk around knowing that I have done something that less that 1% of the US population has done. Those are all things that work really well for me and apparently make all the less desirable aspects worth it.
I’ve only done two of them, but both times I’ve stood at the start line and felt a combination of excitement and fear. That’s pretty much how I’m feeling about NYC. On the one hand, I’m super excited to be running in completely uncharted running territory – and it’s the New York friggin’ Marathon! The crowds are supposed to be epic and this one of the “big ones” (although admittedly so is Chicago.)
BUT – since Chicago, I have only run seven times and done probably five or six cross-training workouts and while I know I wouldn’t lose all of my fitness and ability to run a marathon in four weeks, I’m now wishing perhaps I’d done a little more in those four weeks to maintain. I’ve been telling everyone how this marathon is just going to be about the race and the experience, that I’m just going to have fun and “enjoy” it and I’m not going to worry about my time.
The thing is – I apparently AM concerned with my time to some extent. I’m ok with not hitting another PR, but I also know that I would not be happy if I didn’t at least beat my first marathon time of 4:55. I have no doubts that I’m still trained up enough to finish but I will be really irritated with myself if I come in over 4:55. So, I have been telling everyone that I don’t care about my time – which is actually a big, fat lie.
Well, the hay is in the barn at this point. Nothing I can do but hope for the best and do what I can to optimize for a good run. I’ve gotten a few good nights of solid sleep in, I started carb loading on Thursday and have increased my intake to 60 – 70%. I did try to track my carb count this time and it’s just too damn hard since I’m traveling and not in control of portions and what I can eat. I do know that I definitely overdid it on the sweet potatoes this time. I’m so off those for a few weeks.
I am SUPER excited about my pre-race dinner. The restaurant has gluten-free gnocchi. Need I say anything else? I know it’s not exactly paleo but since cavemen very likely didn’t run 26.2 miles regularly, I figure I can cut myself a little slack from time to time.
I finished this blog up after the race is over (as it’s Monday and the marathon was yesterday) – but in the spirit of keeping this “pre-game” I’ll save the rest for the recap.
- NYC Marathon A Goal: Targeting @ 4:45 to finish
- NYC Marathon B Goal: Under 4:55
- NYC Marathon C Goal: Finish – I’m never going to minimize the achievement of finishing, no matter how many of these I end up doing.