Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Goal and the Journey

All this training for just three hours of running. Sure, all the muscles below my chest are chiseled and my cardiovascular system is in stellar condition and I can run faster than anybody on my island and I could probably place in the top 150 at the Okinawa City Marathon. Nice bonuses. But waking up in the dark six out of seven days of most weeks over the last five months has all been leading toward the 3 hours that begin this Sunday at 9:10am. This year the goal is singular. The investment is huge. And thus, there's pressure. But also confidence. Instead of being nervous about my performance, I will stand at the start line knowing that I've run mock race pieces every Saturday for the last ten weeks. My half-marathon tune-up three weeks ago was flawless. I've built up my Sunday long runs and then tapered down so I know I can handle the 42 kilometer distance without issue. Now I get to find out if I can handle that distance with speed.

The first 30k will just be filler. Like rice. I can run 30k at a 3:10 full marathon pace without issue. The last 12k, though, is where the game begins. Lactic acid will be building and I will surpass a point that I have not reached in training (32k). At 34 or 36k, strange leg muscles will start hurting and, more importantly, breathing will get harder. Everything will be asking me to stop. My heart rate will ascend into the 180's, if it's not already there. I won't hear the crowd much anymore and I'll wonder why the runners around me still look so smooth. I'll debate putting on my mp3 player (in my pocket) for a boost. At 36 and 38k I may start looking towards the finish line and counting down the kilometers (but hopefully not, because this doesn't really work). At 39k it'll become a game of trying to keep my mind occupied. My body is increasing its volume in asking for a reprieve, but with only 14 minutes to the finish line I [kinda] know I can do it. But my thought processes weaken into 3-4 second bursts. It's frustrating because ideas of things to think about quickly devolve into "it really hurts!"

And then, somehow, I make it to the end. The question remains, "will I rock those last 12k or falter?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't worry ~ be happy ~~~ you'll rock it!!!

Good Luck :-)