Things that make me nervous: Every long run ended with pain in my right foot and sometimes in my left knee. At the end of my longest run (22.5 miles), my foot, both knees, and my hips all hurt pretty bad. But every time, I'd feel better by the second or third day afterwards, and it never got worse with consecutive runs.
Also, I realized a few days ago that the sole of my right shoe had worn down significantly on one side of the heel. Is that what caused the pain in my right foot? I broke a major rule of marathoning ("Nothing new on race day!") and decided to run in new shoes rather than risk potential injury from my old, worn-down shoes.
Things that make me excited: I did all my long training runs, building up slowly over the course of 16 weeks. I ran a "longest run yet" six times. By the time I started tapering, 15 miles felt relatively short—and definitely easy.
Tomorrow's weather is expected to be close to ideal: a little cold at the start (30 degrees!) but warming up close to 50 by the last hour of my run. According to Google, the ideal marathon racing temperature for women is 51.8 degrees. I'll gladly take too cold over too hot—though I might have been at an advantage in a hot race due to my not two, not three, but four months of HOT-weather training this summer and fall.
I'm not sure what to expect in terms of my own speed/pacing. Until I hit about 15 miles, my long runs were always around an 8:30 pace. Starting with the 15-miler, and for every long run following, my pace was closer to 9:00/mile, varying from 9:20 to 8:40 on average. But that was with breaks for water and stretching. What it's like running for more than a couple of hours without stopping, I couldn't tell you. But hopefully after tomorrow, I can :D
My mantras for the race:
This is what you came for.
I am strong, I am capable, I am enough.
A leader of my run club (shoutout to Fleet Feet Carrboro) sent out this essay today that resonated with me (even though the "you can't prepare enough to guarantee success" part terrifies and frustrates me). Some of my favorite lines are about how marathon training is antithetical to the modern "age of convenience." Below are some of my favorite lines from the essay (rearranged):
Why do we do this?
To feel something. To move ourselves, to ensure that we don’t get stuck.
The point is the inconvenience. The delay without the guarantee of gratification. It’s structuring your weeks, months and years around something beyond daily life.
Racing is testing — It’s submitting yourself to a task, unsure of the outcome, for the thrill of discovering the answer to the question,
“Can I handle this much for that long?"
It’s a commitment to push on your limitations again and again and again, until you’ve gone further, faster, than you ever thought possible.
Completion of a training block, regardless of errors or hiccups, is its own feat worth marveling for a moment. Many won’t make it to the start — having broken before the gun.
If you’re here to race, you’re fortunate.
. . .
I feel fortunate!