I hadn’t pinned down a definite goal for the marathon until this week. When I first started training after Fargo, I think I told myself I was going for a 2:55 or 2:56.
The dilemma was: I’ve been racing better than I ever have. I’ve surprised myself in 2 5ks, running in the 17:40s, and in the 10 mile, running a high 1:01. Did that mean that I was faster than 2:55/2:56?
The other dilemma… how do you start out? Do I start out in a 2:55 pace and then pick it up after half way if I’m feeling good? I ran a 1:49 minute negative split at Fargo, but you can’t count on that fast of a second half. Even if I did, going out with a 2:55 pace meant that my maxium potential was about a 2:53.30-2:54. Again, that’s assuming that I was able to negative split (which I’m almost always able to do… but you never know!!). Argh. I went back and forth. I want to race a little conservatively, but not too much so that I can’t run to my potential (like what happened in the 10 mile).
I was really glad to see Dave Christopherson (the Vakava coach) at Finn Sisu on Friday when I was working. He talked to me about my goals and helped me to decide: I’m going to race a little more aggresively than I’m used to, with a goal time of 2:53.
Reasons why: In the last month, there have been 2 races where I’ve started out with a goal time that I thought was reasonable, but found out that I was capable of a lot more. Because of that, I wasn’t able to see what I could really do. My only goal with my running now is to “see what I can do” — and there’s no way to do that if I’m racing conservatively all the time. Plus, I am in the shape of my life.
Another way Nate put it: I ran 6:08s for the 10 mile (if you count it by the Garmin distance). So, 6:36s for 20 miles *should* feel pretty easy. Then, the real racing starts. I think I believe his reasoning… but then I think to myself, 6:36s? For 26.2 miles? Wow… that’s really, REALLY fast…
So, I’m mentally preparing myself for this weekend. I have to prepared to HURT, I know this will be easy. I have fond memories of Fargo because it felt so easy (and didn’t hurt!), but I know I won’t have that & shouldn’t have that again. Not if I’m going to go for it. But, I’m good at out-hurting my competition :).