Is there a more famous "goal" photo in the world at this point than Brandi Chastain's? Wait, were we talking about a different kind of goal? ;)
Saturday is the Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon. It will probably be the last race I run in 2008, unless we find a good 10 mile trail race to tack on in December. Either way, it will be my last marathon/plus race of the year. And it will be my first road marathon of the year.
Anyone who knows Rehoboth, and Delaware in general, knows that it's pretty well akin to Maryland's Eastern Shore: flat and surrounded by water. Unlike the mountainous trail races which I/we love to run in, the RBSM is held on the kind of terrain we do our normal road runs on. This makes it a reasonable race to set goals for and push myself to see what I can do.
My past marathons have had a number of caveats--my first marathon distance run, not enough training or preparation, getting sick just before a race, and then a hilly trail marathon. A few of them have brought on leg cramping issues. So I've not run a road marathon where I've been able to get my time where I think it should be.
Our training runs with the Rise Up Runners have put my tempo pace at 8:00 minutes per mile, or the low 8's for a good stretch. My long runs, 20+ have been at about 9:00 minute pace. At Dominic's persistence, we've thrown some Yasso 800's in for speed (though not enough!) and my last 20 mile run came in my leg of the Vermont 50-miler in late September. A couple of 13-15 milers since.
I try to go into every long distance race with the attitude that if I finish and have a good time, then that's enough. And it is. Getting out there and finishing a 26.2-mile race is an accomplishment. Enjoy the process and savor the finish. But setting goals in my running keeps me honest and getting out there.
So what I am after, if all goes well, this time is a sub 4:00 hour marathon. I think the training is there, and the proper pacing leading up. Hydration/nutrition to avoid cramping, and somehow fighting off the cracks in the mental/psychological wall are going to be the key. I like to think I could rock a 3:45 or so if I run the race I can. But we'll see.
In any case, we've got a great crew of our Rise Up Runners going. Dominic, Lori, and I are running the full marathon. Joel and Keene are signed up as a relay team (each running a half-marathon), as are James Woodring and Katherine Binder. Hard to get more motivation and inspiration than running with all these folks!
Saturday is a couple days away. We'll see what the weather holds, what race day holds, and hopefully all look to enjoy ourselves and pre-burn off some Thanksgiving dinner calories!