Happy Saturday sentient beings! Tomorrow is May 4th: International Star Wars Day, and, more importantly, The Tacoma City Marathon! I started this blog to document my training and fundraising efforts for the Seattle Humane Society. The past four months of running, writing, and raising funds were all in preparation for tomorrow. The experience of using my training to fundraise has been incredible. Together we raised $730 for the animals. I am overwhelmed by the support I have received from my family and friends. There aren’t enough diamonds in the Smithsonian Museum to express my gratitude.
So I’ll give you something better: a Giant Lop.
Thank you for donating, for putting up with my workout schedule, for listening to me prattle on endlessly about running. Your support gives me strength; you will be on my mind as my feet pound the pavement tomorrow. Thank you for reading my blog, for giving me feedback on my writing, and for putting up with the excessive amounts of selfies I post.
I have been blogging about how I have been training for this race for the last four months. I’ve run through the rain, done Yasso 800s, progression runs, and managed not to drive myself crazy during taper week. I ran 590.77 miles over the course of my training plan: I’ve got 26.2 left.
The race starts at seven am. The course takes us over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (a.k.a “Galloping Gertie“), through Point Defiance Park, and along the waterfront before ending in downtown Tacoma (motto: “The City of Destiny”…really).
The day before an endurance event is a day for carbo-loading and mental preparation. My day started with some oatmeal (surprise!) and then I headed in to the lab to analyze the results of yesterday’s survival assay, and to start some cultures of Bacillus growing.
I always get pre-race jitters in the days leading up to an endurance event. I’m terminally overly-analytical. If left to my own devices, I will meticulously analyze EVERY single decision in the days leading up to the big occasion:
“Should I take the bus to work today instead of biking so my legs are fresher?”
“Does this banana have enough carbohydrates to fuel my glycogen stores?”
“Did I run enough? Did I run too much?” What’s that weird feeling in my left butt-cheek?”
“What if I get lost driving to the race?” “What if suddenly everyone decides that they need to be commuting at five in the morning and there’s lots of traffic?”
“What if a meteor hits the Tacoma Dome?”
“Oh god AM I EATING ENOUGH CARBOHYDRATES?”
Normally when I’m feeling overwhelmed and my mind is racing I go to my default form of stress relief.
Today I chose not to go running. Most training plans agree that a short, easy workout is great the day before a marathon: it shakes out the legs and quiets the mind. However, I know myself: once I am out running, I like to KEEP running. Four easy miles could easily turn into eight, even though I KNOW that that would be a bad idea. Newton’s law of inertia holds a lot of sway in my life; once THIS body is in motion, it likes to stay in motion. I needed a way to get myself out of my own head today, and I had some time to kill at work while my cells were replicating
I had two options to tame my brain:
I chose to hit the pool, not the bottle. While I was swimming I took some time to think about my goals for this race.
The author of one of my favorite running blogs, runeatrepeat, has a great post on setting goals for race-day. She sets three goals: an “A,” “B,” and “C” goal. The A goal is the aspirational goal: what you hope to achieve when the planets align in your favor, the running gods are smiling upon you, and the Virgin Mary is giving out holy water at the aid stations.
The B goal is your baseline: ambitious, yet attainable. The C goal is what you can still accomplish even if everything goes catastrophically–if the dome DOES get hit by a meteor, will you dodge the wreckage and finish strong?
I like this approach to goal setting. Endurance events are LONG, and there are a LOT of factors that are out of your control. In the end you have to trust your training, genuflect to an altar of energy gels and give it your best. If things start going south midway through it is better to have back up goals than be devastated because you aren’t having a Meb Keflezighi-day.
With that said, here are my goals for the Tacoma City Marathon:
A Goal: Finish in 3:45
B Goal: Finish in under 4 hours
It is REALLY important to me that I beat Paul Ryan.
C Goal: Finish injury free and without gastric distress!
I have learned my lesson and I will be avoiding salted caramel Gu. Luckily there are other flavors to choose from!
OK. It’s time for me to put away this blog post and put myself to bed. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m sleepy. I’ll be sure to write a re-cap once everything is over and done with!