Throughout the last six months over my marathon training, I’ve been secretly harbouring a goal of 4-hrs for my first marathon. Let me tell you, I think it is possible, but it is also a real stretch, considering my best half marathon was 1:58:02. I then incorporated speed workouts into my training with the goal of getting faster to finish as close to 4-hrs as possible. All along, I didn’t really want to say anything to people about my goal, because it is unlikely that I will be able to reach it. And I guess I didn’t want to have the inevitable question of ‘how long did it take you?’ – and the likely answer that was more than that goal time – put me in a funk or feeling like I failed at the race, when in fact I WILL HAVE RUN 26.2 MILES! That in itself is an incredible accomplishment, and I don’t want to have any disappointment to take away that feeling from me on or after race day.
So today when I read a blog post that was written for first time marathoners, I loved reading the following:
The first race isn’t about learning what you are capable of, it’s about learning you are capable.
When I have NEVER run 26.2 miles, I do not officially know that I am capable of doing this. I have walked this distance before, yes, but not run it. And certainly not with 30,000 other people around me. I have trained so hard to reach that finish line, and I mostly feel that I am capable of it. But there are still doubts.
The blogger also states:
The goal of the first time you do something should be to be inspired to return and do it again. Because you might run the best damn race ever, but if you aren’t happy, if you have a terrible time, you aren’t going to come back.
I have heard from several others who have run the Marine Corps Marathon in the past that this is an incredible event, one that you do not want to rush by as there are so many amazing sights and experiences to be had. I have been advised to slow it down on purpose to make sure I don’t ‘miss out’ on all that the event has. Of course, I have the Beat the Bridge to worry about (20 miles in), but overall, I have to remember that I only get one first marathon in my life. Just the one. And it will be over in about 4 1/2 hours (plus or minus). Whether that seems like a long time (and when you are running it, it seems like FOREVER!) or not, in reality, it will go by a lot faster for me than any other 4 1/2 hour time period of my life, if my half marathons are to be trusted.
So yeah, I’ll ‘worry’ about my time. But maybe I’ll remember this blog post and worry a bit less about that and be more open to enjoying the event. I want to enjoy it. And as long as I cross that finish line, I will be earning my PR! (That’s ‘personal record’ for those who don’t speak the running lingo.) So I’ll challenge myself on my pace, but I want to take it all in and be able to look forward to the next one. Which will be four weeks after the first.