Vancouver Marathon Goals (Sub 4 or Cry)

I’ve had a very specific goal this training cycle: finish under 4 hours. This is my A goal. I certainly think this goal is attainable, but the marathon is a tricky beast. A lot can go wrong in a marathon. This is my third marathon, but it’s the first time I’ve been really hung up on a time goal. After reading blogs, learning about marathons, and watching my Dad’s marathons as a kid, I know that disaster is possible when pushing yourself to your limit.

Pushing myself for a sub 4 might lead to a total blow up, a total confrontation with the wall that I have yet to experience. But that’s OK. I want to finish this race knowing that I pushed myself to my limit and did the very best I could. I’m not running this for fun and to “enjoy the experience.” There is nothing wrong with that goal and that’s how we approached Portland last year, but I am running Vancouver to see how fast I can go, and I’ll celebrate and have fun once I cross that finish line. Fun for me in this race is kicking marathon ass and setting a huge PR.

There are different kinds of fun and goals, which I learned when I was a gymnast in high school. For my first two years, I had amazing coaches who pushed us to be the best we could be. Practice was long (4-6 hours) and tough, and I cried a lot (especially during beam workouts). We won state my freshman year and got second my sophomore year. That, my friends, was FUN.

For my last two years, I had a horrible coach who didn’t push us and only cared about having “fun” during practice. We barely made it to state my junior year and placed fourth (out of four teams), and didn’t make it to state as a team my senior year. That was not fun. That sucked. In fact, nearly ten years later, I’m still kinda bitter about it.

Moral of the story? Fun is working hard and pushing yourself, even if it is uncomfortable, to be the best athlete you can be. I pushed myself this training cycle and I’m ready to push myself on Sunday. Just in case I do blow up or sub 4 doesn’t happen, I have other goals to keep me moving.

A: Finish sub 4:00
B: Finish sub 4:10
C: Finish sub 4:21 for a PR.

My pacing plan is to run even 9s for the first half to build a slight cushion (9:09 min/mile average equates to just under 4). I know it’s going to be hard. I know there will be a moment when I have to choose between sucking it up or giving up. I’m mentally preparing myself for this moment and hoping this helps me suck it up when times get tough. Because I know it’s supposed to be tough. If marathons were easy, everyone would do them.

Three more sleeps until the big day!!

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