On Halloween, I’ll be running my 49th marathon right here in my new hometown of Greenville, SC. I’ve been training in earnest (long runs and all) since early August and put in the closest thing to a full marathon training cycle as I have in years. That’s kind of weird, because I’ve previously been known to sort of hate full training cycles, but here we are.
AJ asked me last night (while we were watching a reality tv show about some sort of arranged marriage, as we are often apt to do) if I have any goals for the race this weekend. I thought he was asking as a means to stimulate a deep conversation about my running-related hopes and fears, but then I remembered that a) we’ve been dating since shortly after I ran my 4th marathon and, 44 marathons later, he’s no longer that concerned about it and b) he is actually planning to meet me along the course on Saturday and therefore just wanted to know approximately when I’d be seeing him. Oops.
I know I have been saying here on the blog that my only goal for this race is to finish feeling strong and happy, and for a while, that was true. Of course, those are still the most important things to me, but honestly? I kind of want to see what I can do out on the course. I believe I am in shape to run a “post-back-surgery-PR,” which I’ve decided is a thing. That would have me coming in under 4:54, which I believe is fully doable based on how my training has gone recently. Will it be easy? No. Is it a guarantee? Not at all. But I think that if I take it out slow and stay steady, it is possible.
Not that I was ever really the type of person to be devastated by not meeting my goal in a race – I’m honestly just not that competitive, especially when it comes to anything athletic – but this time, it even seems less important. It is kind of a weird feeling to set a goal but be perfectly ok with not reaching it while still knowing I will work as hard as possible to try. Normally, I just wouldn’t bother setting a time goal at all. This time, I feel inclined to give myself something to aim for while still being accepting of the fact that hey, stuff happens sometimes. But dammit if I am not going to try!
No matter what the results are on race day, I’m grateful for this training cycle. It has taught me a lot about my body (like foam rolling after a hilly run is a must) and has given me some degree of confidence again that running can be enjoyable. Furthermore, my back has held up pretty damn well through all of this, and I’m proud of myself for the way I’ve trained – I’ve listened to my body but still pushed myself when I can.
So I write this to say that maybe tomorrow, I’ll find the balance between pushing myself and still having fun. That’s been a tough thing for me to achieve sometimes, but as I get older and possibly wiser, it seems to be the most sustainable way to move forward without getting bored OR frustrated. So, wish me luck as Amanda and I take on the Spinx RunFest Marathon tomorrow! I’m notoriously late on race reports, so follow me on Instagram or Facebook to find out how it went first!