Friday 4.0 miles/33:02/8:16 average pace
This run felt so good. The schedule said "easy" but this pace felt very comfortable. I could feel my body settling into race pace very easily and naturally. I was pushing a little in the last mile, I just had so much energy and was so excited!! :)
Some thoughts on the race and my goals and other things:
Today was cold, frosty still, but I didn't feel as cold. I'm used to it now I think. I'm grateful to have experienced a week of this chilly weather so that on race day it doesn't phase me.
There weren't too many runners out, but the few that passed me I gave the standard mini-wave and "good morning" but I felt like I was getting some encouragment from everyone I passed. I know this is totally weird and out-there, but I felt like I was drawing a little power from everyone I saw, like they were wishing me good luck and giving me an ounce of extra juice. Ok, that's even weirder when I write it out. :D But I've felt this way before my previous marathons so I thought I'd share it.
My goal for the race is to qualify for Boston. So, technically, I need to finish under 3:40:59. I believe the pacer will try to run 3:40:00, so that will be my actual working goal in the race. I like the little cushion.
I believe I can run even faster, but I don't want to risk everything to do that. I really want to finish under 3:40 so I won't risk a crash-and-burn by going out with the 3:35 pace group or something. So, if I really feel strong, I will increase my pace slightly in the final miles. No sooner than mile 20. This might now happen at all, and I'm fine with that, but I think there's a good chance I will finish in around 3:38.
I've decided to wear shorts, even though it will be really cold in those early miles. I'll wear pants and an extra sweatshirt and check them (or toss them, who cares), and I will wear lots of layers up top to keep me warm while running.
I am going to wear my fuel belt, like I always do. It carries a large (well, standard size) water bottle. It also has a pouch for my snacks. I'm going to start the race with a water bottle in my hand too, so I don't have to stop for water in the early miles. I will have Zach carry a water bottle when he's watching at various spots on the road, so I can take the water from him. But I'm not counting on it (in case I miss him). I can always get water at the aid stations.
I'll eat my Clif Shot Blocks along the course. I'm thinking I will eat 3 of them on the hours (so at the 1 hour, 2 hour, and 3 hour marks). I might throw a couple extras in my pouch for good measure.
I'm not really setting any "B" or "C" goals, because I don't want to give myself the option of wussing out and I know unless something unforseen happens I CAN run my goal pace.
That said, there are many things besides qualifying for Boston that will make me happy about this experience. I'm so proud to be running my THIRD marathon! I have had an incredible training cycle, where I really blew my expectations of myself away. I discovered that I'm capable of a lot more than I thought. I can easily handle 55 miles per week. I am fast. I am not a baby. I might complain a lot, but that's just cause I want special treatment from Zach. ;)
Well... I think that's it. Feels good to get that all out of my head. I'm really happy right now and I know I am going to be really happy after the race. I'm super proud of myself. :)