Here it is. Decision time. I have done the training and run my last long run, and run it in strong fashion I might add. Now I have to decide how I will run my race.
In two weeks I will line up for the Flying Pig Marathon. My first Pig and first marathon was back in 2001 and I ran a 3:33 and hit the wall hard. I have never hurt so badly in my life. It is funny, I can’t remember exactly how it felt, but I do remember telling someone after the race that every part of my body hurt – even my hair hurt. I do not want to experience that again.
In 2004 I ran The Pig as part of my training for the Vermont City Marathon that was four weeks later. I ran a smart race, paced myself and finished in 3:38. I felt great at the end and ran even better at the end of the month in Vermont (3:37).
Then I blew out my left knee and faced a long rehab. In 2007 I ran The Pig again, just to prove I could do it. I trained using the “moderate consistent” plan and just wanted to finish in maybe less than 4 hours. I again ran smart, finished strong and crossed the line in 3:50.
Now this year. This will be the fourth time I have run The Pig and I may be in the best condition yet. I have trained very well. I have done speed work and increased my mileage to 48-54 miles a week. Last Saturday I ran my last 16 miler at an 8:05 pace, which started me to thinking – what if I could run a 3:30? That would be a qualifier!
The race predictors say I should be able to run a 3:35 based on my training and recent race times. So, if I push it a little could I get a 3:30? It would be an incredible accomplishment. But if I do push that hard is the wall waiting for me? Hitting it again would take much of the joy out the race, but qualifying would be like a dream comes true.
I suspect the decision will be made on race day, at the starting line. What the weather is like, how my taper goes, how am I feeling, all the usual factors. I trust that I will be able to change my goals mid race if conditions change. But I am already starting to feel like I may have to go for it.
And if I hit the wall and my hair starts to hurt again – well, I have a lot less hair now than I did in 2001.