The Final Countdown

Just over a year ago, I stepped to the starting line for my first marathon and fourth race of my life. That day, November 19th 2010, at the Philadelphia Marathon, was the best day of my life thus far. Running a marathon transforms you in a way I cannot describe, but any marathoner out there will agree.

As I prepare to step up to the Philadelphia Marathon 2011 this weekend, I am filled with the same mix of emotions and mental instability as I did last year. This time, this will be my fourth marathon and 14th race of 2011, but those nerves before a big race never seem to go away. I can best describe the feeling as being almost the same before opening night of a theatrical performance. The hard work is done, and all you can do is focus, stay calm and run a smart race.

In full pre-race mode, my running dreams have returned. The dreams are my way of mentally preparing while my body rests. Nerves have set in, and tapering doesn’t help the nerves. Cutting back majorly on mileage while starting to second-guess the last 17 weeks worth of training is a bit unsettling, but part of the process.

My goal for Sunday morning is to run a sub-3:15 marathon, which requires a 7:25 mile pace. I have no idea how realistic that goal is. Plugging in numbers from recent races, long runs, and speed training present a positive result, but so much can happen on race day that can change the game entirely. While I now have experience on my side, I am also aiming to run the Philly Marathon over 17 minutes faster than last year’s 3:32:33. That’s a big difference.

I have promised myself that regardless to whether I succeed or fail at achieving my goals for Philly 2011, I will have fun and enjoy the journey. After all, I run and race because I love it, and at the end of the day that’s the greatest reward of all.

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~ by Elizabeth on November 14, 2011.

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