One month from today I will be racing the Tallahassee Marathon. I chose this race because the course is flat and at sea-level, the weather should be ideal in early February, the timing works perfectly with my racing schedule, and because Tallahassee is the home of my very best friend.
February sounded really far away not very long ago, but then the holidays made December fly by, and somehow it is now January and race day is a month from today! It is crazy how fast time goes.
I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. I am. Last year had some bright and shiny race days for me, and some really tough ones. I started off the year PRing in the half marathon and the marathon in back to back days in the Goofy Challenge at Disney World, and then I managed to shave 10 minutes off of my marathon PR in September in Pocatello. I also won the Star Valley Half Marathon with a new PR, and won a 10k and a 5k with new PRs. Rangar Wasatch Back as part of an ultra team was a total blast. There certainly were a lot of great race days.
On the flip side, I got super excited and ready for my first Boston Marathon (expecting a big PR), and temps hit 90 degrees and it was a brutal race. Then I trained super hard (too hard, and without enough recovery time after Boston) and again expected a big PR going into the Utah Valley Marathon in June, and instead of a PR I ended up with my first DNF (did not finish). In September, I tried to race Denver Rock 'n' Roll Marathon just three weeks after setting a new PR in Pocatello, and my body clearly was not ready to. I refused to get another DNF, but it was a suffer-fest and certainly not a PR. And then of course I got all excited and pumped to run the New York City Marathon in November (no pressure - just for fun, but hoping for a great race), and the dang thing got cancelled.
With the poor race performances my confidence definitely was impacted. I struggled. Doubt crept in.
And then I knew I needed to be proactive and make changes in my training, and in my thinking.
Anyone who races a lot will have good and bad experiences. I am grateful for both as I believe that combined, they will make me better. I have learned a lot. I got a new coach who is extremely knowledgeable and experienced with marathoning at an elite level(which I am not at but hope to work my way to), and I got a training plan that I believe in. I recovered. I have trained smart. I have successfully run 100-mile weeks, feeling stronger than ever. I have worked hard at rebuilding my fitness and my confidence.
At Sage's recommendation, I got the book "Running Within" by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott. I have read a few other books on the mental side and the sports psychology aspect of running, and this is my favorite so far. I have found some really useful tools, and the information in this book just rings true to me. It has really helped me a lot in a short time, and I plan on continuing to use it and put daily work into the mental aspect of my running, just as I do the physical side.
One of my goals this year is for sure to get sub 3 hours in the marathon, however that is not a goal I am setting for Tallahassee. For Tallahassee my goal is to PR (hopefully by quite a bit), but most importantly, to have a strong race. I want to run well. I want to run strong. I want to run a race that reflects my commitment and my training. I want to race to my potential. I want to show my physical strength and my mental strength. I want to run a race I can be proud of. I want to run a race that shows I am making progress. I want to have fun. I want it to be a joyful experience (even though it surely will be painful too!). Those are my goals for the Tallahassee Marathon.
I still have a month of physical and mental training (including a tough 22-miler in the morning). I am putting the work in and looking forward to reaping the rewards in a month. I will be ready.
So yes, I am definitely a little nervous about Tallahassee. But I am also looking forward to it and am getting excited. I love the 26.2 miles of challenge, magic, trial, and triumph that is the marathon.
"It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up." - Vince Lombardi
“I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.” - Mae West