Thursday, May 3, 2012

T-Minus Three Days to Flying Pig

Hi. I'm not dead. 

I've just been a terribly non responsive member of society lately. Aside from my day job, most emails have gone unsent, volunteer work has not been done, planning or writing or anything has been on hold.


I don't know. It's like I suddenly stopped caring. Perhaps I reached that edge where having a lot on my plate was suddenly not a motivator and instead, it was a paralyzing factor. Or maybe it's because I really enjoy training and after I train, all I want to do is sit on my butt and think about training/watch tv. Whatever the reason, if my begging off on my friend/volunteer/teammate/anything duties affected you, I'm sorry. I came home on Monday night and had a small cry about how I let everyone down and all this that and the other. Chadd got ready to go to the gym, told me to make a list, lock the cats out and just go one by one down my task list. It's embarrassing how little time it took to do everything.

So, now that I've put my big girl panties on, it's time to talk about a big event that is happening in 3 days:

My third marathon.

I chose the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati because...I have no idea why (honestly). My recollection is that part of it was timing (late Spring marathon!), part of it was that Runner's World said it would be fun (if you love hills!), and partly because I had just spent too much time at the Marine Corps Marathon Expo when picking up my 10k bib. 

This has been a really weird pre-race experience. It's all jumbled in my head, so let's try to break it down:

1) One is the Loneliest Number. This is the first time I'm doing a major race (read: marathon) without support crew. The first time, my mom, my then boyfriend, and Chadd were there. My second marathon, Katie and Chadd came out...but this's me and the road.

I totally underestimated how awesome it is to have crew. During the RnR National Half, I saw Chadd at 6, accidentally saw Cyndi at 10, and my coach just after 12. And every time I got tired between those, I started to think about how I would see someone soon and that powered me on. This is not to discount the friends I'm going with (including Justin, Ayla, and Amanda - some of my Ragnar rocks). But these amazing friends will be running their own races. 

I suddenly feel naked.

I've been told that this is a VERY friendly marathon. I think it may be one of the reasons I saw in the RW article. They apparently close the course down after the allotted time, but they continue to support runners after they've moved them to the sidewalks. Now THAT is friendly.

2) Holy Hills, Batman. So, in a moment of true intelligence, I didn't look at the course elevation profile prior to registering. And now that I've looked at it, I have the pre-race nervous pees. I'm amazing with rolling hills. Probably because of my spinning, I'm totally cool with glorious rolling hills. May go towards explaining why I loved the RnR National Half course. What I do not particularly love is a 3+ mile incline. This gives me flashbacks to Ragnar PA where I had 10+ miles up Mt. Pocono. There is actually a photo of me somewhere slumped on the ground, considering death after that.

Ah. There they are.

Y'all. My COACH had a temper tantrum in 2010 when she did this race. Granted, she also placed second in her age group...but, yikes. The positive to this is that my coach knows this race and has been able to give me a lot of insight into it. We've agreed that I shouldn't go out trying to bank time in the first half. Instead, I'm going to hold a 9:30 for the first half, check my watch at the 10k, the half, the 18 and the 22. The back half of the race is my strong suit - again, cue rolling hills.

3) As in...Sub-4. This may have been the wrong race to try and have such a strong PR. But I WANT that sub 4. I mean, that's the real reason I'm running another marathon (or that's my publicly facing reason, I could keep a shrink in business forever if we went into my addiction to endurance sports). 

I keep telling myself that the last marathon I did, I did not run a smart race. I ran without regard for strategy. I got a late start in the wrong corral, I fought my way back to my group and was totally spent by 20. 

4) Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger. It's weird to have a marathon simultaneously be a non-event and cause me anguish. I've been impressively nonchalant about it in the past months. Mostly because I spend all of my anxiety time thinking about the 70.3 in August. Maybe it's also because I've distracted myself with unemployment, two job changes, and a bunch of other stuff. It's not like worrying MORE about a marathon makes it easier. It's not like this is a part of training, but in the back of my mind I feel like I'm behind on worrying. It's almost like I haven't gotten over my worry process and now I'm not going to be prepared.

In reality, I should be confident. I haven't been worried because I have this awesome thing called a coach. Coach T has taken all the pressure off of me because all I have to do is what she says. And I've done just that. I haven't been sore after any of my runs. I have comfortably held 9:30's and below on all my training runs. I need a steady 9:07 to pull this out of the bag, which means I trained at the right pace and I should be able to pull out a sub 4. I will run a smart race because I was smart when I was training.

5) The Future. Unlike the last two times I've trained, I haven't gotten sick of training. Sure, I wasn't stoked about going out for 18 miles, but it's not been the same imposition as it's been in the past. I've actually enjoyed it. I'll credit my coach with a big part of this. I've already started thinking about marathons for the fall if I don't hit sub-4 (and let's be honest...even if I DO hit sub 4...). So, unlike the last times where I've had goals (a time goal AND a goal to never do a marathon again if I made my goal), this time I just have one goal: sub 4. And if I don't make it, I just have to try again.

So, in just 3 days time, you will see a very brief post. It will hold the results and probably another marathon goal - sub-4 or not.

Let me know if you'll be in Cincinnati! I'd love to say hi!


  1. Dear Girl, I will be there in spirit. Be safe...xo

  2. I promise that you will have an awesome race, even without a crew. I've done it a lot, and in a way it is nice to be able to focus on your race and not give a thought to whether or not your fan club is bored/tired/cold/etc.

    Go have a great race! Be relentless.