Wednesday, October 21, 2015

MCM: Mantra, Goals, Race Plan

Just a few more days until MCM. I am well-trained and I am ready!


My mantra for this race is: This is Someday

It has two meanings for me: 
  1. It is the powerful phrase I saw on March 11 on my commute home, after the bizarre day that started my marathon journey seemingly out of thin air (click for the story). The phrase that pretty much pushed me over the edge to accept the challenge.
  2. It also means "this is some day" - I want to recognize how special the day is, how special the race is, be in the moment and really soak it all in.
the advertisement I saw in Runner's World


I listed my goals in my recap of training week #12. They were:
  1. Get to the starting line injury-free
  2. Be in the moment and really experience MCM
  3. Beat the Bridge
  4. Cross the finish line
  5. Time goal? Uncertain if I will have one. TBD...
Those are still my goals. As for #5, I would like to finish in 6 hours, and I would be thrilled to finish in 5:30. But my primary goal is #2, to be in the moment and really experience MCM. If I achieve that, I have succeeded, no matter what else happens.

Race Plan

This is my plan for the race. The segments align with those in my course guide (four 5-milers and two 5Ks).

Miles 1-5: Settle

During these early miles, I will settle into my pace. I will start slowly (~13:00), especially for the first uphill miles, moving closer to 12:30 after the hills level out.
  • Gel at Mile 3 - visual prompt, Moms Run This Town cheer station close to the Italian Store on Lee Highway
  • Water - sip from my hydration vest during my walk intervals throughout the race
Gel #1: Arlington/Alexandria MRTT Cheer Station

Miles 6-10: Relax

Relax into my pace, stay in a groove and keep rolling along.
  • Gels at Mile 6 & 9 - visual prompt, after passing the photographers
Gels #2 & #3: After smiling for the camera

Miles 11-20: Focus

Stay focused on my pace. Recognize that I will feel tired at times and that this is normal because of the distance I've run. Expect this, know it is okay. It will feel predictably uncomfortable, don't panic about feeling this way.
  • Gel at Mile 12 - visual prompt, approaching the blue mile. Swallow gel before I start crying, which I suspect will happen here. (take Clif Shot at food station to have as an option later)
  • Gel at Mile 15 - visual prompt, leaving the Hains Point peninsula behind
  • Gel at Mile 18 - visual prompt, mile marker sign, which signals I have passed the cluster of photographers (take Sport Beans at food station to have as an option later)
  • Reload Gels - I should see lots of friends/family during this section. I will stop and get help taking gels out of my vest & reloading my front storage pocket.
  • Water - add water to hydration vest at Mile 19 water stop as a precautionary measure
Gels #4 & #5: at Miles 12 & 15

Gel #6: at Mile 18 (after the photographers!)

Miles 21-26.2: Evaluate

I will wait to evaluate until I am coming off the 14th St Bridge and heading towards Crystal City. The question to be evaluated - how do I feel?
  • Terrible? - stick with what I am doing, try to hold the pace
  • Great? - pick up the pace 
  • Not sure? - pick up the pace a little
I will evaluate periodically throughout the remaining miles.

  • Gel at Mile 21: visual prompt, I am across the water. If the bridge is rough, I will have it sooner, or eat some Sport Beans as a treat
  • Gel at Mile 23.5: visual prompt, the munchkins I am not eating
  • Gel at Mile 25: optional bonus gel - see how I am feeling at this point
Gel #7: still on the bridge but across the water

Gel #8: instead of a munchkin
Gel #9: bonus gel if I need a pick-me-up

And that's my plan. Between now and Sunday, I am going to focus on two things:
  1. Imagining different things that could go wrong during the race (e.g., my shoe comes untied, I slip and fall at a water station, I drop some gels) and plan for how I would handle them. Then if something does happen, I am more likely to stay calm and know how to fix the problem without derailing my race.
  2. Visualizing myself running the race, crossing the finish line, and successfully executing my race plan.

    My vision board - I'm ready for this!


  1. Wow, you've worked so hard and come such a long way, Kimberly! Good luck - enjoy the marathon!!

  2. I can't wait to see you out there, cheer you on and hear about how you had the #bestraceever! You've inspired so many others to just get out there and RUN! Thank you, Coach Kim! Great luck on Sunday! You are more than MCM Ready!

    1. Thank you for being such a great friend and helping me get MCM ready. You rock!

  3. You are so ready for this, Kim! Very, very excited for you!! And I *love* your vision board!!

  4. You've got this! Good luck, and have fun!!! Can't wait to read all about it next week.

  5. You are going to totally charge up that hill and kick butt! Enjoy yourself have a great day!

    1. Thank you Marsden - for both the inspirational words and for inadvertently starting me on this journey in the first place :)