Yes, it's true: "heavy" rain and 18 mile-per-hour winds. If I'm reading the course map right, we'll be running right into those winds for a good chunk of the course. The race is still five days out. I'm hoping that wind forecast will be revised. You can't do anything about wind except maybe draft off of other runners (and when you do that it's only polite to take a turn being the trailblazer yourself)......or revise your finish time expectations.
Rain, however, I can handle. This being high and dry Colorado, I didn't train in it even once, but I used to run in it all the time in Houston and New York City. Here are the tips I plan to follow on race day:
1) Wear a garbage bag while waiting at the start.
2) Wear a baseball cap to keep water from dripping down my face (thanks, Raina, for this one!).
3) Lube up with Body Glide and (on my feet) Vaseline.
4) Have a friend hold dry socks and shoes somewhere on the course. Lucky for me my old friend Angela is coming from the Bay Area to watch, though she may change her mind when she sees that forecast.
5) Change quickly after finishing into dry clothes.
You can't do anything about the weather except try to make the best of it. Those of you who ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year know that all too well.
My taper runs this week have gone well, including the 4x1 mile at race pace workout I had yesterday. I ran it on the treadmill at a 1% incline with each mile at an 8:27 pace. My heart rate cooperated nicely, staying between 155-163 on all four miles.
That positions me nicely to go with the plan Darren and I discussed on Saturday afternoon. Darren, like my husband Dan and like me, said his only concern is whether I've done enough time on my feet (long runs). Due to my back issue and a September cold, we couldn't ramp up to the point where I could get in a really good number of 3-hour-plus length runs. But on the other hand, I did well in my half-marathon in October, I've felt good during the training since then and I'm feeling healthy and rested. Even my twingy hamstring has cooperated for the last three weeks.
So Darren thinks if all comes together, I can get the Boston qualifying time of 3:44:59 or better.
So that's my goal: 3:44:59
Here's how he wants me to execute:
1) Run about an 8:30 pace for the first half. That would put me through the half-marathon mark at 1:51:30. A little slower is OK, but he absolutely does not want to see anything faster.
2) After the halfway point, I'm allowed to pick up the pace if I'm feeling good. He thinks 8:20 to 8:25 miles at this point would be safe, but NOTHING faster than 8:20. I'm to hold these paces through Mile 22 if possible.
3) After Mile 22, if I've been able to hold the pace, I can either speed up more if I'm still feeling good OR slow down a tad if I'm feeling tight or tired. If I do slow down, he thinks I should still try to maintain 8:40s in order to make my time goal.
4) I'm not to worry about my heart rate, though I do plan to have the strap on (liberally lubed with Body Glide) so I can analyze it later.
Here are some additional things I plan to do:
1) Start with the 3:45 pace group. As long as they are not running faster than 8:30/mile, I'll stick with them through around 15 miles. If they're a little slower (like 8:34 or so), it's probably to my advantage. Slower at the beginning is good.
2) Wear my pace bands from Races2Remember in case the pace group doesn't work out (maybe because they are going too fast). These will save me from trying to do math with an increasingly addled brain.
3) Turn on the tunes at Mile 18. This really helped with "the Wall" in Houston and I hung on to it as as reward for getting through the earlier miles according to plan.
4) Carry a bottle for the first few miles at least so that I don't have to scrum at crowded aid stations. Ditch the bottle when things spread out and it starts to bug me to have it in my hand.
5) Stick to my trusty Shot Bloks with water every 4 miles or so for fuel. (Darren thinks I need to learn to love sports drink, but we agree we'll save that task for the next marathon.)
I'm rooming with Tricia, and am very excited for her to finish her first marathon, which I think she'll do in style. There will also be numerous other bloggers there. I'm excited to meet Amanda, Margot, XLMIC and others.
And I'm VERY excited to see Angela. I've known her since first grade. Her whole family is an inspiration and not just in running (though they excel at that). She's mentioned in my first post on this blog. It would be an honor if I could qualify for Boston with her there.
Getting back to the issue of the wind....I will be unhappy if it doesn't turn out to be the perfect day. I'll be disappointed if I don't meet my goal for this race. But I'm determined that ONLY something like weather, which is totally beyond my control, will keep me from it this time. Damnit, all you can do is try. In marathons, even on perfect days, you NEVER know.
As the author I mentioned at the beginning of this post put it: "There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose."
I'll see you guys on the other side!