In the midst of graduation excitement, I suppose it could be easy for me to forget that I am running my first marathon in a mere six days. Yep, six days! Thanks to some superior IT band pain following a 5-miler last week, I am taking my tapering super serious. With no school and no clinic, I am stretching, foam rolling, icing, and laying on the couch like it's my job.
I've also had loads of time to contemplate with a little more thought, my marathon goals.
1. I want to finish. Don't DNF or get picked up by the sag wagon, and I'm a finisher!
2. I want to cross the finish line running. Even if I've been walking for miles and feel like I'm certainly in hell, I want a little push at the end even if it's only for two steps across the line.
3. I want to finish under 5 hours. I know, I know, setting a time goal for your first marathon is like a running Bible sin. I need a higher goal in order to push myself though. If I don't make this one, well, I'll have a good reason to sign up for #2.
And goal three takes me into my ongoing dilemma. Should I run my own race or join a pace group? I know from my long runs that my pace can come and go in waves, which makes going it alone sound like a good plan. However, I also know that I finish my long runs with 'gas in the tank', and that I rest or slow down too early. This would be a great opportunity for a pace group to keep me moving and on track.
I'm leaning toward joining the 5 hours pace group, but I'm a little torn. I think it would help me not go out too fast, and I would have shared support of that group throughout the race. I also wouldn't have to constantly worry about my pace. On the other hand, I've always been a solo runner, and that's what I'm accustomed to. I also know, that if I can't keep pace at any point, I am going to feel defeated. But can I really avoid a challenge for fear of failure?
Regardless of what I end up choosing though, hopefully I can say 6 days from now that I am a first time MARATHON FINISHER!
In the meantime, I'll keep carbing it up in preparation. I've heard Red Velvet Gobs are essentially perfect racing fuel.