my marathon is quickly approaching I have finally hit those 20-milers. Yesterday, I was not, repeat not excited to see the typical Cleveland weather in full effect. It was 30's and snowing on and off. My foot was now hurting in the typical spots and on the outside. I assumed I would go out for 10 or so miles before it started throbbing or I would just be too pooped and call it a day. The target was 9:30/mile which should have been easy as I ripped off 18 the week before in sub-9.
I started off at what felt super easy and slow. It was about 7:30 am so rush hour traffic was passing me to and fro throughout my quaint little neighborhood. I opted to run short out and backs or loops to get fluid. What am I saying, I opted to run those because I planned to quit before 20 -- there the truth. Some of the side streets were lightly covered in snow and my shoes were slipping too, so footing was sketchy. I clipped off the first 9 miles in 1:27 and change (nice and easy). I figured the next 9 should easily be a negative split as I set out.
The road conditions had improved a bit, but I opted to run 3 loops around a 0.75 mile cul de sac anyway. I thought about my goals for this marathon a lot during this time.
a) break 4 hours (The course is a snowmobile trail. I am not in PR shape. My foot is my "achilles.")
b) I want to negative split this mother so bad, even if it means running 2 hrs on the front side and ripping a 1:50 on the second half. I just want to finally do it. I came oh so close at Boston, but the damn beer ruined it!!
c) I want to place top 3!! Last year there were only 10 women in the race, so there is a good chance I will place in the top 10 -- hehehe. First has been the same girl for the past few years and she is just too fast for me to even have a shot at her with a 3:15-3:30 finishing time.
d) While I want to run hard and well and fast. This is my vacation and I want to be able to celebrate doing another endurance event with my family, not be hobbling and handicapped for the week.
All that said I came through the next 9 miles in 2:50 and change. I had run 4 minutes faster on the backside. There was no quitting now as I was within striking distance of my goal and I was only getting faster. I pushed the last two miles closing out at 8:24 and 8:00. Add one more goal: No matter what happens during the first 20-23 miles you can bet your running shoes I am gonna HTFU and bury myself the last few miles so I look tough coming in.