With just over 6 weeks to go until my big goal race of the year, it’s
go time. My training thus far has been great – it’s been enjoyable and
fun. I’ve had the chance to run with a lot of friends and not having a
coach has afforded me additional flexibility in my schedule that
allows for more running for simply the sake of running.
Now, as my running buddies are either on their honeymoon (Asia),
tapering for their first Ironman (Brooke) or 30 weeks pregnant
(Allison), I am running alone more and I’m focusing a bit more. And
Several Fall races have come and gone and some of my (virtual or IRL)
friends have achieved goals and some have failed. I’ve allowed some of
their successes to boost me up and some of their failures to create
doubts. Now is the time to push all of that away and focus on myself.
Now is about me. My training is mine and no one else’s and my race day
is all about what I do, not what anyone else has or hasn’t done before
The Long Beach Half Marathon was a wake-up call. Not because I didn’t
PR. I’m very pleased with my time overall, especially compared to my
age group and overall results, considering the heat and that it was in
the middle of heavy marathon training. My race time was fast enough
given the conditions to indicate I have a sub 3:35 marathon in me,
especially on a faster course with much, much cooler weather.
It was a wake-up call because it really made me realize how much you
have to not only WANT a goal and FOCUS on that goal to make it happen.
I can’t simply go out and wish and hope that everything goes right at
CIM and BQ. I have to WANT it so bad that I don’t give up during those
hard miles. Because, there will be hard miles.
If I take my first few steps of the marathon and find that my legs are
heavy, I can’t let that allow me to give up. If I pass the half
marathon mark slower than I had hoped, I can’t throw in the towel. I
need to focus. I didn’t focus at Long Beach. I danced and sung to
Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off at Mile 10 of Long Beach. At Phoenix, I
passed through the half marathon arch 30 seconds behind pace and
mentally gave up. At CIM I need to dance in my head and focus. I’m not
saying I’m not going to engage with the crowd and have fun – that is
part of my race strategy – but what I’m saying is, in those last 6
miles, I will have one thought – get to the finish line. don’t give up
and don’t let this goal slip away again. I need to be on a mission.
With 6.5 weeks to go, I still can make a lot of progress. I can also
focus on the little things – getting enough sleep, reducing stress,
yoga, foam rolling, stretching, drinking less beer and eating healthy.
I also plan to do a lot of reflecting on the WHY. Why do I want to
qualify? What does it mean for me? At Bird Camp, Lauren Fleshman gave
a great talk on goals and I plan to think through everything she said
and do some serious reflecting. Why do I want to run down Boylston
street one day? And what pain am I willing to go through to get there?
More to come….
What tricks do you use to focus during a race, especially when it gets hard?b