Saturday, December 02, 2006

24 hours to go

24 hours to go until the California International Marathon and I am, without a doubt, the most prepared, physically, mentally and emotionally that I have been for a marathon. It is not a question of will I break 3 hours 30 minutes, but how good will I feel I doing it.

The rational for this confidence.

1) By the numbers. I am coming off three-to-four months of very consistent training, including:

  • averaging 38 miles a week running only four days a week (the big five being 46, 42, 42, 41, 41)
  • long runs of 11 miles a week (the big five being 19, 17, 16, 12 and 12)
  • running a 12k race two months ago at 7.01 pace (the day after a hard 10 mile run)
  • running my final long run, 19 miles, at 3.25 marathon pace despite purposefully trying to run slower than 3.30 pace the entire time
  • I have run every single step the last four months faster than eight minute/mile pace.

2) The focus. There is something to be said for running races for fun. However, there will be no distractions tomorrow. If I start to feel discomfort, I am not going to justify slowing down as a search for more pleasant feelings. It's all or nothing.

3) Camaraderie. Rather than seclude myself in my hotel room in Sacramento (as if the cultural wonder of the state capital isn't enough of a temptation), I am going to hang out with members of the SF Tri Club. I can now comfortably admit that I am one of them.

4) The course.

Nuff said.

5) Inspiration. A month ago, Lance and my dad put on performances for the ages at the NY Marathon. Lance broke three hours, my dad nailed four hours and thirty nine minutes in his first marathon after only two years of running. I am taking the baton and will bring it home in style.

6) For fallen comrades. OK, this is exaggeration. I signed up for the race with two co-workers. Ari succumbed to a bad ankle, and Gina. Well Gina ran a great half marathon, and then crumbled under the expectations of the marathon. God bless her.

7) Positive thoughts. I am not inherently a positive person. The glass is half full but I don't think I necessarily will do a great job of chugging it. No more. There is no chance I will fail to achieve my goal of sub 3 hours 30 minutes. Failure is not an option.

8) The clock. I will be an endurance athlete for the rest of my life but the window is slowly narrowing on achieving my time-related goals.

The big four are

Half Marathon: 1 hour 29 minutes (best is 1.32)
Marathon: Qualify for Boston/3 hours 20 minutes (best is 3.37)
Half Ironman: Five hours 29 minutes (best is 5.47)
Ironman: 11 hours 59 minutes best is 13.28)

No more time to screw around.

It's over. Eight ball corner pocket. The fat lady is singing.