With only six days left before the California International Marathon, the taper is in full swing. Reduced mileage, fewer intense runs all in an effort to get to the CIM start line with fresh legs and a confident head.
This training cycle has been a great one, and it has me going into the race with confidence that I can reach my goal: 3:25:00 or better. Based on the plan I have for the race, I think I’ll end up right in between 3:20:00 and 3:25:00. If the stars completely align for me, I believe I’m capable of a 3:20:00 finish. Having had a great race at the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon a few weeks ago and the results of a bunch of of difficult training runs give me the data my left-brained personality needs to feel this confidence. I’ve made the mistake of going into a race simply “feeling” like I could achieve one time or another and it’s never ended well. When I’ve had numbers to backup a goal time expectation, I’ve hit those marks very consistently.
In the middle of this past summer, I made a tough decision to take a bit of time off from training. It took me a full month to even make that decision, so you can imagine how I agonized over it. Was I being too soft? Unwilling to work hard? Or was I being smart and listening when my body was telling me, ‘enough’? At the time, I had no idea, but I knew something had to change, and “pushing through” wasn’t working. As I sit here today with less than a week to go before my “A” race this year, I am so glad I took that time away to get fresh and get my head back into training. It’s hard for me to believe that this training cycle would have been this good without feeling ready for it from the beginning.
And so, I’m off to make my first bid at Boston Marathon qualification. I feel confident, prepared, and yes, more than a little nervous. But, knowing my wife will be there cheering me on as I try to BQ will help keep things positive. She’s been there for me on this whole 18 month journey, giving me time to train, “crewing” for me on the long runs, making me great food so I was fueling rather than just eating, and generally just being the supportive, loving woman she is. I wouldn’t have made it to the start line without her. While my two boys won’t be in Sacramento, I know they’ll be rooting for me from Ohio and I plan to keep them in my heart for the whole race. I can already hear the post-marathon conversation in my head, just like after every run:
“Hi, Dad! How was your run?”
“It was great, buddy. Really, really great.”