Do you ever have dreams that pertain to happenings in your life? I had a dream on Friday night last week about running a half marathon. Coincidentally my half marathon is coming up in 2 weeks. Clearly I have been thinking a lot about the race, as my mind was still thinking about it while I was sleeping.
In the dream, I was running my “normal” pace, or what I thought was my normal pace. I don’t remember a whole lot about the dream other than it was towards the end of the race and I really had to use the restroom. Seems I had had too much water or didn’t take the time to go before the race. I passed a restroom and considered stopping to use it, but decided to keep running. I ran through a door (yeah, have no idea what that was about) and all of a sudden I was at the finish line, only there was no one else there. No crowds, no officials, only me. As I glanced around, I saw a race official coming towards me just as I saw another woman & a man approaching (they were also running). The official calls out “All you have to do to ‘finish’ is tag or high-five me”. I scrambled over to the official as I had not gotten as far as I had to let this quickly approaching woman & man beat me. I high-fived the official and he says “YOU WON!” What? I won?
Then I woke up. Yep, that was it. How frustrating is that?! LOL! Of course I start to think about the dream since I remembered it right as I awoke. I couldn’t figure out how I could have possibly won the half marathon as I couldn’t have been running faster than a 9:30 or 9:00/mile pace. I had to settle with the fact that I would never know how that dream was supposed to end.
This brings me to the topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately. How I am going to run this upcoming race. Some days I think that I am more than prepared given I had gotten through my 20 mile training run of my full marathon training. Other days I think that I should just run this race to run it and to have fun. No time goals, nothing. I only wish that my competitive self could be content with that. While I secretly would love to break my PR from when I ran my first half in October 2009, I realize that due to my recent injuries, that may not be possible. A good friend from high school told me last year when I was preparing for my first marathon that she often sets 3 goals when racing. I think that is the perfect way for me to keep from being disappointed in my performance and keep from being too critical of myself.
I have been through the VO2 Max testing and know my heart rate zones and what zones I should be in for which miles of the race. I will evaluate how I feel at several different points during the race. Based on how I feel will determine how I proceed. Of course there are other factors that will play a part, too. Weather plays a huge part – temperature and humidity can really wreck havoc on your body if they are too high.
So, ultimately I would love to run a sub 2 hour half. My previous PR is 2:01:22. However, I will be thrilled to just be able to enjoy this race, the experience that I have had over the past 5 months with my friends in MIT and cross the finish line uninjured.
How does one get to the starting line of a race ready to go? Lots of training & preparation, that is how. I have learned over the past 3 years that I have been running that doing anything different on race day than what you have practiced on your long runs is the worst move that you can make. I made this mistake last year by taking my Gu/Clif Shots way too close together and suffering some pretty nasty intestinal side effects (sorry, TMI) during the latter part of my marathon. I will not make that mistake again. I have been practicing exactly what food will go into my body the day of (and even the day before) my race. It started out that I began eating the same breakfast – 1 serving of Kix cereal (gluten-free) before each long run on Saturdays. It didn’t matter whether I was running 9 miles or 15 miles, 1 serving worked for me and that is what I stuck with despite wanting to refill my bowl again on some days. I began to add in Gu when my runs got longer than 12 miles, taking the Gu around mile 8. I started to pay attention to what I was eating on Friday, the day before my long run. Without really even thinking much about it, I found I was eating pretty much the same thing on that day as well and it worked, so that would now become a part of my routine as well. I was cutting back on my large salads and adding in more carbs, in small amounts.
In addition to nutrition, I have been working diligently on my physical therapy to rehab my injuries. Things are feeling pretty good, but I won’t lie, PT, stretching, foam rolling & icing is a lot like a part-time job. It all comes down to this: How bad do you really want it? For me, running is what I do. It is my therapy, my outlet, my place. I don’t want that taken away from me. Ever. That is why I do what I do.
I know that it will all pay off.