As I enter the tapering zone for my second full trail marathon I am feeling both nerves and excitement. I have trained well and even added a steady program of (running specific) strength workouts.
My challenge goal is to break 6 hours, which would be a 50 minute increase in pace over last year. It does not seem very realistic but who wants an easy goal anyway!? I will admit to checking out Torie's splits for her GHM last year (it was each our first marathon) and it seems quite daunting.
My more realistic goal is to beat last years time by 30 minutes (which is an increase of just one minute per mile). This seems quite doable. My fitness is better and I have run (vs walk/hike) more of the long runs. Plus I've noticed that the pain is different this year. I think this is in large part due to the strength training.
Either way, I plan to push myself to the edge of what I am capable of. I think I know the course and my efforts on it, extremely well. I know where to push, where to conserve energy. I know that the excitement of the race brings out the best of all of us (do remember; don't go out too fast).
I have confidence in my training. There are unknown factors like the weather (heat will slow me down, but so will mud as some of the hills are so steep that they would be impossible to keep a fast pace)...
So, I am nervous and I am excited. I have worked really hard on this and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.
I also feel like I am becoming more a part of the running community. There are a few people that I met while volunteering at the Western States 100 that will be running the sister race, Dick Collins' Firetrail 50 miler.
Plus, my friend Holly is making her first attempt at a full marathon. This comes the same year she announced that she was going to stick with half marathons... dare I say that endurance races are a bit like tattoos ;-) I'm so excited for her and it has been really great to do our last few long runs together!
Besides, it's all about the party! And we have spent a fair amount of trail time discussing what kinds of food we'll be having afterwards... LOL!
Happy Trails ~ T