My mantra for this race is: This is Someday
It has two meanings for me:
- 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.
- 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:
- Get to the starting line injury-free
- Be in the moment and really experience MCM
- Beat the Bridge
- Cross the finish line
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- Visualizing myself running the race, crossing the finish line, and successfully executing my race plan.
My vision board - I'm ready for this!