5 days to go.
Luckily, with only a few more days to go I don't have much time to worry about it.
I spent a few minutes this weekend really trying to decide how prepared I feel, what my race plan is and if I have settled on a goal finishing time.
I came to the following logical conclusions.
1: I feel fine. My training cycle has been legit. The one thing I wish for was to have completed a run over 20 miles with success... No point in stressing over that detail now- I run marathons happily *ahem* with my longest run at 19 so... fingers crossed!!!
I have been extremely happy with the vast majority of my runs, my pace, my legs feel good and my crosstraining has been significant. I signed up for this race with the goal to challenge myself and push beyond my comfort zone and I believe I will meet both those goals. I certainly have pushed thru the training and the race is absolutely outside of my comfort zone. **insert vomiting noise HERE!**
2: My race plan is still a work in progress but I have decided upon several things. I'm not going to charge out of the start like a lunatic but I'm not going to hold myself to a 10:00 mile either. That has not been working well in my training runs so why should it in a race? I know I can hold an 8:10 pace for 26 miles. I do not plan on doing so for 31. (according to the internet I should plan to add at least 90 seconds per mile to my current marathon pace. my goal is to keep it closer to 60 seconds.) I plan to hydrate after every lap (at races I hydrate every 4 miles) and to try to eat at mile 5, 10, 15 and 20 (as I would in a marathon if all went well.) I imagine that by mile 20 and beyond I simply will not be able to choke anything down and that's ok. Eric is all ready to run a couple laps with me for moral support and I believe I have coerced (aka blackmailed) Andy into being ready to run a lap if I'm dying a horrible agonistic death.
3: My goal finishing time is, as stated above, something around a 9:10 pace. I hope to finish in the general ballpark of 4:45. In this plan I have chosen to eliminate all rude variables such as 90 degree temps, bad GI situations, deciding to stop and take a break at mile 20, and so forth. I am not sure how things will play out after mile 26 so taking that into consideration my "B" goal is to maintain a 9:30 pace, which still seems perfectly reasonable for such a ridiculously long effort and would be well within the range of times that would make me happy.
The moral of the story is that while I have had a solid, uninjured training cycle and am currently feeling both mentally and physically prepared to conquer this ridiculous volume of running there are things that I simply can not control. I have said before that if you put in the time and consistent effort then there should be few surprises on race day- either negative or positive. Knowing my bod the way I do reminds me that in a high mileage situation, especially in the hot humid summer this isn't always a true statement.
However. I plan to run a solid race. I am certainly going to be fit starting up Fall marathon season, if nothing else!!! I am excited for a new adventure, one which I have heard SO many good things about and feel lucky to be attending in its last year.
In a week I should have some damn good stories to tell too- if you want to hear about tedious miles, bleeding feet, chaffing and gulping Gatorade that is!!