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Marathon Mindset II: The Phoenix Marathon

So I have 48 ish hours between myself and my 3rd marathon. To think that I have run a single marathon, much less 2, much less that I would be excited to run a third…. Holy $h*t who am I? What happened to that kid who only ran if “someone was chasing” her? Um, somewhere else? I could have said something really awesome there, but you all would have seen right through that. Honesty = best policy. 

Merci, Spoons!

Merci, Spoons!

Last time that I discussed my thoughts leading up to a marathon, I got pretty darn emotional, but this time, I am going to be a bit more straightforward. My original intention in taking on this marathon was to go for the Boston Qualifier. But, as you will see, my thinking has changed a little bit. I’ll try to keep this to a palatable length for my non-running friends (who will might at least be entertained with my witty banter), and for the heartfelt nubbins, well just read through until you reach them. I can’t just skip the middle 10 miles, now can I?

phoenix marathon

When I first declared that I would be running the Phoenix Marathon, I was in the midst of the aforementioned infatuation with the treadmill, and had all of these delusions of speedwork grandeur. Well, as I also already mentioned, I had to retool these plans a bit. So where does that leave me heading into tomorrow? 

chicago sunrise

Thoughtful emotional sunrise moment

Factors working against me for the BQ or PR (day of)

  • The threat of rain. I don’t tend to run in the rain, and I definitely don’t usually run marathons in the rain. Chafing (don’t worry, there will be Body Glide involved. You know me), malfunctioning equipment, slipping (we are running downhill, after all), and a myriad of other issues arise as a result. 
  • Warmer temps: I haven’t run in temps like these since…. yeah. And with the rain threat, who knows what humidity and real feel we are really looking at? Plus, HOW WILL YOU BE ABLE TO SEE MY OUTFIT?
  • Running downhill. I don’t even run uphill here in Chicago. This might also be an issue by burning out my quads. 
  • Lack of speedwork: The intense cold of Chicago winters, mild or not, makes it very difficult to do speedword–snow covers tracks, ice complicates matters, and, what’s more, your muscles just don’t fire as well. Plus, because I had to be more careful, I didn’t feel comfortable pushing my luck with speedwork and risking overworking my strains. Plus with the traveling and getting holed up at work… And I haven’t gotten any faster. Period.
  • My digestive system hasn’t made it all the way through a long run in a very, very long while. It doesn’t cramp, it just will not wait a second longer. And when it goes, it goes. I can pick up the pieces after, but a) I don’t want to embarrass myself and b) I’ll already be cutting it tight as it is.
  • Lack of Garmin. Yup, it got stolen. 
  • The fact that I will be running quite a long distance….

are we there yet

Factors working in my favor for the BQ/PR:

  • I don’t have much to “chop off” of my time–a matter of minutes, not major portions of an hour.
  • I have been known to surprise myself before. I pushed through the discomfort (not pain) in Twin Cities, I can do it again.
  • I will likely end up running with Erica, and she is kind of the boss. And there will be plenty of other people around me.
  • I will be running downhill. 
  • I’ve gone into a marathon situation before having no idea what would happen during it, and come out for the better. If I am smart, I have a chance.
  • I have the endurance for the race, that much I know. And I’m pretty dang stubborn.
  • That lovely little thing called adrenaline.
riggins hungover

get like tom.

So where does that leave me?

I am going to put myself in the best possible position for achieving my original goal, but I am going to be smart: I would rather run a strong, solid race without fireworks at the end than go all-out only to bonk, exhaust myself, or, God forbid, get hurt. So while yes, visions of a BQ/PR do dance in my head, I just want to be happy, have a good time, and put myself in the best possible position for whatever is to come next. And I don’t know what that is yet! Maybe another attempt, or maybe just getting into NYC (I’m in the lottery for it). All I know is that I have Ragnar coming up in June, and the option for some other things in the interim. Plenty of time to get faster, if I so choose, or change my mind completely. 

All I wanna do? Is have some fun. To meet so many people that have become my friends (and add to my blog friends in real life wall!), to cheer Smitha through her first marathon, and to get a vastly different change of scenery. I am really proud and in awe of my body–it continues to amaze me and to remind me not to take it, or this incredible life that I lead, for granted. The last marathon training cycle (for Twin Cities) really served to bring my life and the upcoming battles that I know I am facing into perspective–it helped me face some fears that I have of the mental and physical battles ahead. 

This marathon training cycle has, I hope, cemented those mental victories–I feel more free in my living, more able to accomplish these feats on my own. Like getting your driver’s license–I am on the road, alone in the car. I can’t fall back on my yoga membership, or whatever. I have to make the right decisions for myself by myself. Actually, I would liken it more to graduating from college–I was making decisions before, but now it is truly up to me. I can “go home” if I want to, but I also have the pride to want to avoid that. And, just like any graduate, I’m a bit short on cash!

prostitute gilmore girls

Bottom line? I want to cross the line with a tired, but genuine (and hopefully exhilarated) smile on my face. Bonus points for a Boston Qualifying time, Personal Record, and looking like a supermodel. Also for it not raining and leaving me with a matted mess of hair. No bonus points for not getting hurt–that is a must. I want to put it all out there, but I want the rights to get it all back when all is said and done!

What is something that you are currently going after? Running or otherwise–like trying out new recipes, etc.

How do you usually feel before a big milestone event? Nervous the whole week, or at peace, or at peace the whole week until just before?

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