Race Planning

NYC Marathon-6 weeks to go

I’m half way through my training cycle for my first in person marathon. That’s right- I ran my first marathon virtually in October of 2020 when NYC was canceled because of Covid. I had the opportunity to defer my guaranteed entry and learned that I would have the chance to run in 2021. As the marathon wasn’t run in person last year this is still the 50th running of the NYC marathon. This is what I wanted. I wanted to run the 50th Anniversary year- I wanted to run for my 40th birthday (which was in January), so I guess I’m just extending the birthday fun. When this adventure began it was to honor my Dad, by running and fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association. Less than two month ago my dad lost his battle with Alzheimer’s. So now I run to honor his memory. I was already a bundle of emotions, when I ran virtually last year, but now my emotions are on overdrive.

I’ve been cautiously optimistic as I started my training cycle that the marathon will go off as scheduled. The closer we get to November 7 and the further I get into my training cycle the more optimistic I am that the marathon will happen and I will really toe the line in Staten Island. Things suddenly became very real this past weekend. I had my first longer run (12 miles) at marathon pace. My biggest challenge when running an in person race is to keep my cool at the start and not go out too hard. I imagine I am not alone with that “problem.” There’s so much adrenaline at the start of race- the excitement of running with others- the support along the route to keep going. I’m not sure I can even begin to fully appreciate what it is going to feel like on race day morning. So here I am six weeks to race day and in full freak out mode. I’m trying to anticipate all the things- what is it really going to be like to wait in the starting village for HOURS? What is the weather going to be like? What throw down items of clothing should I pack? Should I get arm sleeves/warmers? How much water should I carry? How am I going to make sure my phone stays charged? What if my watch battery dies? Will the new Apple Watch come out in time?? What in the world is my family going to do all that time while they wait for me? What am I going to want for dinner when I’m done? We would really go back and cheer on the other runners after I finish. This is just a sample of all the practical questions and thoughts running through my mindI’m thinking about. This isn’t even taking into account all of the emotions- I cried last year as I went out to run by myself. I can’t imagine the emotion as I begin to cross the Verrazano Bridge! Forget about when I see my family and enter the park to finish. This is not a DNF situation. Come hell or high water I will cross the finish line! That said- no pressure right??

I’m also in that window where staying healthy is key. There’s not much time for illness or injury to happen and get fully better without derailing this portion of the training. Granted if I accepted the idea that my only goal should be to finish- I could pack in the training now and know that I could finish a marathon. But I don’t want to “just finish.” I want to enjoy the experience. I want to take in the entire experience and I want to honor my father’s memory with each and every step. Again…no pressure! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the unwavering support I get from my amazing husband. But for him believing in me, helping with the boys and making sure they were always there to cheer me on I couldn’t do it. I’m truly blessed and grateful.

I looked back at my posts from my last training cycle and felt grateful that I took the time to blog each week about that week’s runs. This weekend after my 12 miler the outside of my left knee feels funny- sore, tight. This isn’t a new pain, just a pain I haven’t had for a while. So I went back to my notes. It actually was’t until week 10 of training that this same knee pain popped up last year, but much worse- like couldn’t run much worse. I opted to lift this morning rather than do my scheduled run. Experience gives you a lot of things- when it comes to training it gives you the confidence to modify your running plan to listen to your body and hopefully avoid a more serious injury. We shall see what tomorrow brings as I go for a nice and easy few miles on the treadmill. Knock wood this go round, I’ve managed to avoid the nagging hip pain that plagued me through most of the last marathon training cycle. That said, I’ve fallen into the same trap of focusing on the miles and letting the cross training/lifting go. The last two weeks I’ve been a little bit better and added one lifting day. Core and strength training are really just as important as the miles so it’s important to make the time to get both the miles and the strength training done!

So what will the next six weeks bring?? Lots and lots of overthinking just about everything. Talking to my friend, Suzy of RunLIftMomPod, who will talk me off the wall and give me some helpful pointers. I will select an outfit…and a backup. I’ll commit to shoes, socks, waist pack- the whole nine yards, while likely packing back ups of everything. Deep down I know I can do it, I just need to get over not controlling the logistics and go with it. I can only prepare so much- the other pieces will fall into place. I will trust my training. I will take in the experience. Less than 40 days until the NYC Marathon!! On your mark, get set- GO!!!