If You're Scared, Say You're Scared: 7 Days to NYC

Thoughts have been dancing around my head haphazardly lately, like odd little bubbles that get startled when they come too close to each other and burst out of reality before I can wrap my arms around them.  I have been unable to organize them into anything recognizable, and so I sit, stone-faced, thinking all of them, thinking none of them, writing nothing.  Eventually, they scatter into the air, leaving no evidence of ever having existed.

The Taper has arrived, complete with its characteristic madness. 

7 days left until the NYC Marathon.  My first New York Marathon.  The biggest marathon I've ever done.  For the first time in the plan, I am scaling my running back a little.  That's not just because I am tapering (and my last "really" long run of the season was cut short by not feeling well and a really sore left calf), but also because I am going to be at a conference for the week of the marathon walking around a lot.  There is no point in tiring out my legs a whole bunch this week when I'll be running-a-little-yet-walking-a-lot next week.

Sure sign that it's marathon time!

This is where I really enjoy the break, but it's also where I begin to worry a little.  The worry isn't whether I can run 26.2 miles; not only have I done that 5 times over the last 7 years, some of that while at my illest (I'm a living breathing Beastie Boys song), I've done it within the last few months, sometimes over just 36-72 hours.

No, at this point the question - the inevitable question - is can I really make my goal? 

I only run 1 marathon a year most years, so I don't have the luxury of having a "fun marathon" and a "race marathon" -  I get one or the other.  So if I'm going to pick, I'm going to make my 5k, 5miler, or 15k my Fun Race and make my half or full marathon my Goal Race. And yes, I would eventually like to BQ, which is a giant and - truthfully - terrifying goal.  I have almost 2 hours to lose.

If you're scared, say you're scared.

If you aren't at least a little scared, your goals aren't big enough.

I've pulled off some crazy PR's at the marathon.  In 2011, I did two marathons: one was a 30+-minute PR and the other was a 40+ minute PR on top of that.  In one year I took over an hour off of my marathon time.  I turned around just 3 months later and completed an almost unplanned century ride at an almost 20mph average. Now, I started out slooooooow, so it's not realistic to PR by that much every year, but still - I know what I'm capable of.

I know what I'm capable of.  So it's hard for me not to expect a lot.

If you're scared, say you're scared.

Last year I absolutely trained my ass off, and then a mild stress fracture and a bad upper respiratory bug set my training back.  On top of this, I faced a hillier race than expected and unplanned humidity.  I managed a 6-minute PR, but my goal was to finally get under the 5-hour mark, and I was still 29 minutes off.

Did that ruin the time I had or spent with my family afterwards? No.  I had a freaking blast during - and after - the race.

But I trained even smarter AND harder this year. And I gots me some unfinished bidniss with this 5-hour mark. And I'd like to handle that bidniss in The Big Apple.  And considering that I'm The Girl Who Once Scored Two 30+ Minute PR's in the Same Year, I feel like I ought to be able to handle ONE 30-minute PR at ONE marathon.

If you're scared, say you're scared.

I get sucked in a lot by critics, whether it's the Little Voices in My Own Head or Other People Talking Shit.  The truth is, in the end it's HOW I feel that matters much more to me than how fast I ran. I'd rather run a Good-Feeling Normal or Slow Race than an Awful-Feeling PR. But sometimes I let people make me feel bad for having lofty goals.  I let people make me Feel Like I Can't. 

I get kind of scared.

My goals are big.  My goals are scary.  Some of them are reasonable now; some of them won't be reasonable for months or years to come.  And there are a lot of them I may not reach.  But I will tell you this: I'm going to have a hell of a time trying.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

Alili said...

And this is why I adore reading your blog and think you are a rockstar. Big scary goals make life more fun.