You would think that since I ran the same race last year that I would have a certain comfort level. I do in some respects. I know where we'll park, how great the spectators are, and what to expect at the finish in the Fargo Dome. That's all good stuff.
There's also some things I know that maybe aren't so good. I know how hard a marathon can be. I know how heartbreaking it can be to watch the time click by and your dreams about your finish time slip away. Fargo was not a good race for me. It was hot and windy. My heart rate sky rocketed over 170 before mile 4. I was walking on and off before I hit the half-way point. My 4:58 finish was a good 30 minutes slower than I had hoped.
The worst thing was that the whole race was very difficult for me. If I had run a good 20 miles and then had to walk the rest, I could have accepted that. If I had run the whole way slowly and still came in at 4:58, I could have accepted that. But I had trained harder than my race indicated and I knew it from the very first moments of the race. It sucked.
After Fargo, I regrouped and changed my training plan for Twin Cities. I ran much better and felt like I fulfilled my marathon dreams. I was really proud of my training and my race. I'm now trying to tap into that confidence and forget that Fargo just happened to be the place where I had a bad race. A year has passed and I have a lot more experience and miles under my belt.
Today I was really thinking about what solid steps I could take to make this race a good one. This is what I came up with:
- Remind myself daily that getting to the starting line injury free was my number one goal.
- Good nutrition leading up to the race.
- Hydrate well in the days before the race.
- Stay away from caffeine.
- Stretching well each day and before the race.
I also made a big decision about the race itself. I decided that I'm going to run with the 4:30 pace group. I've never run with a pace group before. Anyone ever tried it? At Twin Cities, I started out way too fast and really suffered at the end. I finished in 4:27, but the last 6 miles were really painful. I'm hoping that, even though I may finish with a slower time, that the pace group will help me run more consistently and that I'll feel better. I'm also hoping that the camaraderie and company of the pace group will help me achieve my number two race goal, which is to have some fun!
So that is my game plan as of now. The only other thing on my list is CONSTANT HAND WASHING. Everyone in my family is sick with a cold except me. Right now, my son is sitting next to me coughing and blowing his nose. My kids were home from school today because they cancelled school do to a probable H1N1 infection on their campus. My husband worked from home today because he feels so sick. While he's not busy at the computer infecting my keyboard, he's lying in bed feeling miserable.
Hopefully everyone will be back at school and work tomorrow and get their germs away from me! I hope that all of you who have races coming up this weekend stay healthy, too!