Race Week – Dallas Marathon

It’s finally here!

On Sunday, I will be running the Dallas Marathon for the third year in a row. Right now, my biggest focus is to not obsess over the weather.

In 2011, it was my first marathon. Raining, cold (40s) and north winds made for a less than ideal first marathon experience – but I was still hooked. 2012 race day weather brought temperatures in the 60-70s with humidity. Dehydration for me.

The forecast as of Tuesday morning for this year’s race:

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I’m glad I ordered new gloves last week. They’ll be here by Wednesday. I hope.

I’ve been trying to evaluate my race day goals, and I’m kind of stuck. Since Texas weather can be so unpredictable, I am rolling into what I’m calling “my marathon season.” I have Houston in six weeks, and I plan to do the Cowtown Marathon again in February. I don’t want to knock myself out completely with this one race, but I also know that I’m capable of a PR. Just for the sake of putting it in writing, here are the goals I’m going with.

1. Don’t forget anything essential

Water bottle, Gu, Nuun, gloves. I will be making my list and checking it over and over. And over. It’s okay to be OCD on this one.

2. Don’t cry.

Seriously. This applies to before the start or during the race. I will allow myself to cry after I finish only if it’s because I’m so blown away with joy from a positive race experience.

3. Beat my February PR of 4:22:12.

I have been training for a four hour marathon, and I’ve used the McMillan running calculator to predict my marathon times. According to my recent 10k PR I should be able to qualify for Boston, but something happens to me in the longer distances, and I know how my body works with this. My legs need more experience at 26.2 to get faster. I’d love to run a sub 4:00:00 but I don’t want to overshoot and go out too fast. I’m going to stick with the plan of starting my first few miles slower than goal pace (9:20-9:30) and take it from there.

Meanwhile, for the rest of the week, I’m going to focus on my nutrition and fueling properly. Right now, I feel like this:

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I do feel rested after the Thanksgiving holiday, but I’ve been feeling slow with the cutback on mileage. I will remember the motto to “trust your training.”

I’m ready for race day!

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Getting Ready for OKC

It’s the final days before the Oklahoma City marathon, and I’m suddenly seeing exactly how much housework needs to be done.

Actually, I look forward to tapering for a race because I need that extra time to catch up on mom things like cooking actual meals for my family, laundry, clearing out some clutter, and sleep. But what I most look forward to is catching up on reading.

Just a sample of the material I will devour in the next two weeks.

Just a sample of the material I will devour in the next two weeks.

This will be my last marathon for a while. I don’t have anything planned until the Dallas Marathon in December. We have been house hunting the past month, and the thought of high mileage training and moving does not sit well.

In preparation for Sunday’s race, I took a look back at my post from last year. With everything that has happened, I expect there will be a few tears this year as well.

On a lighter note, here’s my motto for the rest of the week as I begin to carbo-load for Sunday.

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What do you look forward to when you taper for a race?

 

Getting Ready for Cowtown

I’m in my taper week for the Cowtown marathon this Sunday, and I should be excited and well rested. But instead, I feel tired. I was going to run this morning, but decided to go back to bed. I haven’t really followed a plan since the Dallas marathon, but I’ve done my own training based on what I’ve studied. So far, it seems to be working okay. I did set a seven minute PR in my last half marathon.

This week is where the mental part of the training comes in. I will start to question myself, my training schedule, and my abilities. I will probably have a few times where I think I didn’t do enough long runs – and maybe I didn’t. But I know I can run the distance. I’ve done it before. I know I can manage the pace. I ran my fastest twenty miler last month – in warm temperatures. This is just the mental test, that comes with the extra time on my hands due to reduced mileage.

As of right now, the forecast for Sunday in Fort Worth is not my ideal racing climate. But on Sunday, I will follow my plan. No matter how great I feel, I will stick to the pacing plan from my twenty miler. I want to be able to write about a great marathon, where the only tears I have will be from meeting my race goals.

Goals for Cowtown:

Miles 1-5 at 9:55 pace

Miles 6-10 at 9:50 pace

Miles 11-15 at 9:45 pace

Miles 16-20 at 9:40 pace

Miles 21-26 – I will use whatever I have left in the tank (hopefully under 9:40 pace)

Finish time goal: 4:15:00

Taper Time!

I can’t tell you how happy I am to report the Dallas Marathon is in less than two weeks! In the past four months, I had my first forty mile week ever and several weeks later, I ran over fifty. I have completed workouts with distance and pace that left me feeling strong. When I completed my longest run (22 miles), I was confident in my ability to cover 26.2 miles. Then last week, I began the first week of my taper, and all my confidence started unraveling.

This morning when I stepped on the scale, my weight was up and my energy level was down. The latter part of last week was rough on me. Some of it may be due to being overly thankful for the food on Thursday. It also didn’t help matters that I had an upset stomach for two days over the weekend. I covered my long run on a windy day, and on the speedwork day, I couldn’t quite nail my 10k pace. Due to my schedule this week, a four-mile run on the treadmill didn’t help my mood much.

It may be a combination of busyness and training fatigue, but when I looked at this week’s schedule (and saw the missing nine and ten-milers), I breathed a sigh of relief. I am ready to taper. My house is cluttered, my cooking lacks effort, and my time spent writing lately is pathetic.

I know I need to focus on the successful training runs I had in the weeks prior to tapering. Instead of worrying about my weight, I should imagine the extra muscle powering my legs through the marathon (even though I’m tired of hearing, “It’s just muscle.”) I will also continue to be thankful that I had an extra week after Thanksgiving to burn off some apple pie.

Now, is it too early to start obsessing over the forecast?