Race Preparation Expectations vs Reality

With less than a week to go before the Casper Marathon, I’ve been working myself up into a frenzy, as I like to/am prone to do. There was a time when the marathon distance stopped scaring me because I did it so often, but that time seems long ago now. Now, I am a ball of nerves at the start line all over again!  It’s kind of funny how life works.

I started this training cycle out with enthusiasm but also the utmost respect for my body and a ton of patience. I was determined to build up my mileage extremely slowly, not put any added pressure on myself through speed or hill work, and just focus on building a strong base. As you saw through about 12 weeks of training logs, that’s exactly what I did. I took it slow and was patient with my body.

I expected that I would arrive to the starting line of the race ready to run healthy and relatively fast. Instead, I’ll be showing up half injured and be lucky to finish. This wasn’t the training cycle I had hoped for at all, but when I look back, I’m not sure I really could have done anything differently. I was diligent in my core work and strengthening thanks to my commitment to barre. I built up my mileage slowly, did not push my speed, and still saw steady improvements in my fitness. I cross trained on the bike and never ran more than 4 days in a week, and never more than 2 days in a row. I followed the plan.

I expected to run the Casper Marathon in a confident and relaxed place mentally. I eschewed my Garmin for this entire training cycle and only knew my pace when running with other people or at the end of a race. Although I didn’t feel good on every run, I could tell I was making progress throughout training. Today, I’m definitely not confident or relaxed.  I don’t know if I will be able to finish the race or at what pace.

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Have you had enough of the Kardashian/Jenner clan for this week? I thought not. You’re welcome.

I expected to run the race in my trusty old Mizunos, but in reality, I’ll be wearing my HOKAs for the first time! I’ve never run longer than 15 miles in them, but to be fair, I haven’t run farther than 15 miles this training cycle. I’m expecting to have a great, cushioned experience though. As much as I used to love my Mizunos, I’m really excited about taking the new shoes for a test drive! Interesting fact: I ran my first two marathons in Asics, but lost toenails. I switched to Mizuno Wave Nirvanas and ran the next 45 marathons in those. HOKA has big shoes to fill (ha!).

I expected to finish the marathon at a relatively fast pace for me. Although I didn’t know for sure, my secret goal was to run under 4:30, which seemed very attainable when I ran the half marathon in March easily at 2:01. I wanted to really stick to my training plan and see what I was made of. I wasn’t able to do that thanks to injury, so realistically, the marathon will be a very slow one for me. I’m counting any finish as a victory.

Because I had higher expectations for the race, I also expected to line up for the Casper Marathon feeling anxious and focused on my time rather than having fun with my friends. Instead, I’m going into it just hoping to enjoy the experience. If my back has a fit, I will not finish the race, and I’m mentally prepared for that. Hopefully, it will just be slow going as a result of being undertrained, and I’ll enjoy the day with my friends. That’s all I can really ask for at this point.

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Amanda will be greatly missed in Casper! But we had fun running together today.

I wish I could be more positive about getting ready for the race. In fact, I really am looking forward to going to Wyoming (it’s my favorite state) and hanging out with my long lost Tulsa friends! That part is great, but I can’t ignore the fact that I’m really disappointed by how my training ended up going, especially since I was being so careful and thought I was really taking care of myself. Oh well, live to run another day.

 

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