You know what the best thing is about having a crappy taper and a mental meltdown over a short-lived injury? It’s allowed me to set aside a huge chunk of my ego, particularly the part which controls goal setting.
I’m not saying I no longer have a goal for this marathon. I do, but it really is down to the bare bones. It is what it should have always been. I want to finish, plain and simple. I don’t care what the clock says when I cross the finish line. Whether it says 4:55 or 5:55, it doesn’t diminish the fact that I will still have run 26.2 miles, a feat almost none of my real life acquaintances have ever entertained let alone attempted.
I will be a marathoner. I will be a birthday girl. I’ll be able to eat my weight in gelato with only a modicum of guilt. Life will be good.
But the simplification of my goal doesn’t mean I’ve thrown my race strategy out the window. On the contrary, it’s the glue holding my crazy ass together.
The Florence marathon provides pace leaders, a first for me in a race. The slowest pace group they have is for a 5 hour finish, which equates to an 11:27 per mile pace. This is the group I’m hanging with at the start and, hopefully, for the duration of the race. I’ve run nearly all my training runs on my own, but the idea of a pace group sounds wonderful to me. I won’t need to obsess about how fast I’m going. I’ll just keep up with the people around me, leaving me able to enjoy the scenery and soak up the experience since I won’t be looking at my watch every five seconds.
If at any point I feel like I can no longer keep up with the pace group and need a walk break, I will switch over to Plan B: run for 10 minutes and walk for 1. Being on my own, I’ll need to be able to cut down the marathon into smaller chunks, because if I think about the entire distance I have left to run I’ll just end up weeping. But since I’ll probably be too dehydrated to shed tears, it’ll look more like I’m dry heaving and that, while also being severely unattractive, is not conducive to running.
This strategy, though making me very dependent on my watch, will hopefully distract me from focusing in on the distance I have left—a possible spirit killer depending on where I am in the race.
Other incidentals in my race day preparations:
-Don’t drink truckloads of water within three hours of my bedtime on the night before the race in order to prevent me from waking up frequently during the night to relieve my bladder.
-Use the port-a-loos at least three times before the race starts. An empty bladder is a priority issue for me.
-Eat a good breakfast two hours before the race start. I don’t want to be running with a lead weight in my tummy as I have done on several of my training runs.
-Apply BodyGlide to any part of my body that has even the remotest chance of chafing.
-Pin emergency gummy bears supply to my pants/shorts. (I haven’t decided which to wear yet.)
-Remember how unbelievably fortunate I am to be hale and whole and have the opportunity to run in Italy.
Anything I’m forgetting?