The race is Sunday! This week flew by and I can’t believe there are only two nights of sleep between me and yet another marathon. While I swore off 26.2 mile races wholeheartedly during the New York Marathon, I am very glad that I decided to train for Mountains 2 Beach because the journey, as corny as it sounds, was certainly worth it.
I finally feel like I’ve surpassed by pre-baby fitness and it feels really, really good. While I have yet to have a PR to show for it, I really believe that I am capable of one on Sunday. While the weather gods didn’t exactly shine down on me for the race (sunny, high 60s and a partial headwind forecasted), I know I can still race well in these not ideal (but not terrible by any means) conditions. Not to mention, we start at 6 a.m. so that should keep things cool for a while. The course is a net decline of about 700 feet, but there are definitely some hills to climb as well as descend (I underestimated the hills at CIM for sure and did basically zero hill training). For the first time ever, though, I’m not scared of hills. And while this is a “fast course,” I know that it doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. Marathons are never easy, and I’m mentally ready to fight for that PR.
Looking back at my training log (aka this blog!) has been incredibly helpful in boosting my confidence going into the race. During the last 17 weeks of training, I’ve ran an average of 42 miles per week, peaking at 59 miles. I’ve done 15 speed workouts, usually ranging from 8-10 miles, peaking at 12.5 miles. I’ve done 13 tempo runs and have completed a portion of the final miles of my long run at race pace 6 times. I ran my easy runs slow and easy so that I could run my key workouts hard.
My long runs have averaged 16 miles per weekend and I ran 18-21 miles 8 times! 80% of my long runs included serious hills and many miles on trails. I’ve consistently strength trained (using 21 Day Fix) more than ever before a marathon (besides when I started this blog and did P90X while marathon training, but the goal then was just to finish the marathon) and my legs literally feel stronger than they ever have. I’ve stretched, worked my core, foam rolled, and been smart about nutrition. I’ve honored the taper and have rested well. No matter what happens on Sunday, I cannot blame my training. It has been nearly flawless.
So what is the plan for the race? The race starts with a 3 mile gentle incline that gradually grows steeper (about 210 feet of climbing in those first 3 miles) so I plan to run these 3 miles behind pace (I’m expecting one mile to be in the 9s, that’s how slow I will take it!). After that, I’m going to head back into town and allow myself to run only 10 seconds below pace on the descent, no more. After that, I’ll get right into goal pace and until the biggest downhill section between miles 13-14, where I’ll let myself make up a little more time. By the halfway point, I hope to have nearly made up the time I lost in the first 3 miles. From there, I’ll be running about 5 seconds under goal pace until mile 20, where I will decide if it’s time to push the pace a bit more or just hold on, focusing on my form and repeating my mantras along the way. Ideally, holding myself back in those first three miles will lead to a strong finish and I’ll be passing all those people who passed me early on.
I definitely think that I’ve made errors in pacing in previous marathons, so I do really want to stick to my coach’s pacing plan the best I can. Several runners in my group have given me the advice to listen to his pacing plan – it works! So that’s what I am going to do. It’ll be REALLY HARD to hold back in those early miles when everyone is passing me, but it WILL be worth it.
So here we go…all that is left to do is drive to Ventura tomorrow and race on Sunday! If you want to track me, I’m bib 919 and you can track me here. We start at 6 a.m. so I might just be finished before you remember! 😉
To all of you that have followed along in this training and wished me words of encouragement, support and advice – thank you!
TIME TO FLY!