Monday, May 4, 2009

On My Mark!

The Fargo Marathon is quickly approaching. It seems like it's been months away forever, and now it's surprising close. It's kind of freaking me out! Since we have to travel and do the hotel thing, there are all those extra logistics. All of these little planning details are making the marathon more and more real.

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!


Mark H. said...

Have a great taper and a great race in Fargo! Like you, I had to walk a lot in Fargo last year and then cut that time by 30 minutes when I ran the Twin Cities. Stay hydrated during the race and have fun running it.

Melanie said...

Ugh! Hoping you stay healthy! Good luck this weekend, I'll be thinking of you saturday!

I Run for Fun said...

You have really planned well this time. You will have a great race. Hope you can keep the germs at bay!

Porkchopwi said...

Good luck from both of us.

I'm sure we'll read about a successful day late this week or early next week -- forget last year. You have a whole new opportunity this year, take it have some fun with it... whatever the final time is.

J sez: "The hard part is done, and the race should be the fun part. It's the frosting on the cake. Unless you don't like frosting or cake..."

Really, that's what she just said. Then walked off mumbling something else about following good lookin' guys.

Have fun, we'll all be pulling for you from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Mark said...

Beth, good idea to run with the pace group. I would like to try that sometime. I sure hope you stay healthy!

Jean said...

Beth, I hope you and your family get well soon! That is no fun. Rest up, and best wishes for the weekend! I am sure it is going to be great!

Jean said...

Oops, I read that wrong...I see you are not sick, so please stay well! :)

Chad said...

Have a great race!

Nitmos said...

Good luck in Fargo! You'll probably do much better without all the pressure. Start slow and build. In fact, start a short ways behind the 4:30 pacer and then catch up over the first few miles. You'll have those extra 2 minutes in the bank and not even realize it at the end!

Velma said...

Good luck!!! I ran near a pacer in my first marathon, but she was chatty and had an annoying voice. That said, I think it would be nice to be with a group. I would line up near the pacer and see what the day brings. You know the course, so visualize making good progress and staying on track. If you feel good at 20 - go for it!

SteveQ said...

I've never run with a pace group ("Hey, could you start at 6 minute miles and sorta fall apart half-way? Thanks.") but have known some pacers. They tend to be locally famous runners, so good to meet. Last year at Twin Cities, I saw Danny Ripka pacing the 5 hour group (he holds the Minnesota record of running 136 miles in a day).

Best of luck!