Rome Marathon: Pregame 

“Going to a new level is scary even if workouts show if you are there. In races, be committed. Be brave. That’s where the PRs live.” –Greg McMillan via Twitter

I got chills when I first read that tweet last Tuesday. In less then 140 characters, Greg defined where I am before this race and gave me the motivation to really go for this coming Sunday.

I am going into this race better prepared than I have been for any of my other marathons with the possible exception of San Francisco. With Spinx I had no idea how to properly train for a marathon. I decided to run New River only eight weeks out. My long runs for Savannah were some of the worst I’ve ever had. (I ended up racing better than I expected but I still hit the wall hard to run mile 17 and 18.) training for San Francisco it really well but my body have not adjusted to higher mileage. Marine Corps Marathon got derailed by a last-minute injury. I also expected much more out of identical training to San Francisco. Twin Cities also almost got derailed by injury and ended up getting sent back a slight decrease in intensity to avoid a full-blown hamstring injury.

Two things strike me as I look back at the previous paragraph. One, it’s crazy that I run so many marathons it still feel a bit like a newbie. Two, it’s nearly impossible to have a perfect training cycle. Okay, there’s actually three observations. Three I’ve been dissatisfied with my performance in only one marathon, Marine Corps.

Bringing it back to Rome. 

I really want to qualify for Boston. Before starting this training cycle, I analyze my previous training so I can isolate when I needed to work on most. Two things jumped out at me: long runs in tempo runs. Both improvements oil down to one thing. I had to stop giving myself excuses. Unless I was dying there was no way I would and the tempo run or turn it into intervals. I would take that same mindset to long runs. 10 minute intervals at slightly faster than marathon pace at the end of an 18 miler are crazy; I can do them.

I kept finishing long runs incredibly pleased and amazed with my effort. I mentioned this feeling in nearly every weekly training recap.

Confidence boost came with Hilton Head. Without training specifically for the half, I meant and surpassed my goal feeling, comparatively, fresh as a daisy. I still can’t believe how good I felt after smashing my PR by four minutes when snagging and PR by only a few seconds in San Francisco last year left me feeling a bit like death warmed over. That’s when I realize just how effective those tempo runs have been.

That leaves me now facing the land of no excuses. I no longer have a training cycle between me and the big BQ attempt. I have no random injury or lackluster just meaning to give myself as an excuse come race day. 

I had a mantra for Hilton Head, “sub 140 or bust.” I didn’t lineup at the starting line to take it conservatively. Every time at home had that I felt like backing off I reminded myself of that mantra. That’s what I want for Rome. 

It’s time to be committed. It’s time to be brave. I want to be with the PRs live.

To make it even better, I making the One Republic song, “I Lived,” The first song on my marathon playlist. With lines like “I did it all./ I don’t every second/that this world could give/I saw so many places/the things that I did” and the Coliseum behind me, how could I ask for a better motivation?

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