It’s getting close; I can feel it. By the time I get this up, it will be fifteen days to race day. Fifteen days to find out if I’ve got what it takes to be a sub 3 hour marathoner runner. Ironically, fifteen is also a poignant number for the marathon because that is the mile right before the onslaught of four hills culminating in Heartbreak Hill is set to begin. In a way, it is the calm before the storm, a time for all the runners to assess their physical and mental state before tackling the toughest part of the race.
So where am I physically, emotionally, and psychologically with the race now just fifteen days away?
Well, physically, I feel fine, or as well as I could hope for given all the heavy mileage (for me) that I’ve asked this body to train through. I’ve suffered many injury scares over the past several weeks, a pulled hamstring here, an Achilles’ tendonitis there, but they’ve all subsided to the point where it’s not noticeable or only barely so even as I’m running at marathon pace. As long as I don’t push hard and remember to run constructive miles (which builds confidence) rather than destructive miles (which break down muscle) I should make it through the taper with a realistic change to physically run a great race.
Emotionally and psychologically however, it is somewhat of a different story. For one reason or another, I’ve been having a hard time visualizing my personal success in the Boston Marathon. Maybe it’s from the lack of support from those closest to me (like my parents who only recently found out I’m heading to Boston to run a marathon and isn’t so pleased with my decision) or just my own inability to see myself as a good athlete, but I’m having a hard time coming to terms with what I’m hoping to do on April 20th. In a weird way, I feel like a career minor leaguer suddenly getting the call to pitch Game 7 of the World Series. Does this even make sense?
In an effort to “build up ammo” and strategize my attack on all the frailties of the mind that will threatening my chances on Marathon Monday, I’m going to confront my fears and list the ten biggest psychological stumbling blocks I have heading into race day. I figure if I know what I’m dealing with now, I have a few days to prepare mentally to put up a good realistic fight.
In no particular order then, my biggest worries for the Boston Marathon are:
- I’ll forget my underwear come race day. Not really, but wearing inappropriate clothing is always a concern.
- I don’t run well away from home. It’s not a coincidence that in the last four marathons that I’ve run, I’ve averaged at home, and away.
- Weather is always a crapshoot in
. If it’s rainy, windy, snowy, hot or humid, I can forget about sub-3 and just hope that I don’t break an ankle or end up in the hospital. Boston
- Catching speedsters. Did you hear Kara is running the race. And so is Ryan Hall. And so is this guy and this guy. If I find myself running with any of them at the start, I’m. So. Dead.
- Hills and me: not such BFFs? Like the setting sun, hills have been a constant companion on all my training runs. But what if on race day, those treacherous speed bumps along Miles 16-21 decide out of the blue to pick a fight with me? Will I have the mental fortitude not to be flustered by the dispute?
- I will meander off the course or meander off the pace. Ooh, look at that pretty statue there…or ooh, look at those beautiful houses…Hey, hey, where did everyone else go? Or…, , , …hey, where did that come from? You get the picture.
- I will forget why I’m running. It always happens. Somewhere in mile 21,22, or sometimes 23. I start to lose focus and forget why the hell I’m running. So, why am I running this race anyway?
- I can’t say no to a kiss. If some pretty lady offers, can I not oblige? And if I just happen to fall off my pace by twenty seconds running through
, can you really blame me? Wellesley
- I will be emotional…at mile 2. Again, if I have the sniffles even before my first water stop, I am not sick nor will I have tears of joy at mile 26.
- To spite me, they’ll cancel the race when I reach
. Who knows? It might happen. Boston
Hope you all are having a good weekend.