Saturday, May 30, 2009

No Guarantees

I have been on a quest. A quest for the perfect fall marathon. Not too steep, not too crowded, not too cold, not too hot. Just right. Goldilocks would be proud.

Then I got real. There is no perfect marathon. Bottom line is that you still have to conquer 26.2 miles wherever you go, whatever race you run. You still have to have the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional fortitude to go that far. The will to run approximately 52,400 steps. The guts to go 138,336 feet. The strength to dig deep for hours on end. The power to hopefully meet that PR goal that takes you or me to Boston on Monday, April 19, 2010.

I did realize that you can try to make sure your marathon choice optimizes your chances of that PR. Average good weather, flat course, good support on the way. But after that - it's all me and what I've got to give.

That said, it looks like the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Marathon on November 15, 2009. Average temp: 60 degrees. 400 ft. elevation. Few, if any hills. Lots of fans along the way (as in people, not those devices that spin and give off air). Fun place to visit (pre race margaritas, yes!). And the best part: Julie, The Pacer will be there with me.

The Pacer is one of my best friends. I met her in graduate school. She is a running machine. A gazelle. An aberration. Until recently I haven't been a runner, so I never truly appreciated just how fast Julie has been over the years (since she was 14). She is so incredibly humble, she would never dream of bragging about her abilities or weaving her race times into a conversation. But when you look at her race times, you are in awe.

Months ago, I asked The Pacer if she'd take me to the finish line in my next marathon and get me there in 3 hours, 50 minutes, my BQ time. If anyone can do it, she can. The Pacer lives in Breckenridge, Colorado and trains at that altitude. Running a 3:50 marathon is nothing for her. She could probably do it tomorrow morning before her oatmeal.

But even with a flat course, good weather, and The Pacer, there are no guarantees.

That's what keeps me in the game. Risks. The unknowns. Race day is a big crap shoot. You could train endlessly and feel fully prepared to meet your goals. Then you could awake to a torrential downpour and driving wind. Or you could soil yourself to the point where you need to stop. Or your body might just give out and say, "no more." Fortunately, there's always another race. The great thing about running is there is always more. You can always go faster, you can always go further. And there is always, always a do-over.

What's been your biggest race day surprise, for better or worse?

14 comments:

  1. Biggest Race Day Surprise - the heat. Dallas (Big D) back in 2006. Temperature was around 90 degrees when I finished. The worst part - warm water at the last few stops.

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  2. Sounds like a great race and so cool that you're going to have your own personal pacer. One thing it has taken me a while to learn is that ANYTHING can happen on race day.

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  3. I am so excited you selected one! And how cool that you have a buddy to run with. You have so much time to train, I bet you will ace it.

    Do you read shaping my way? Kyra (the blogger) is running that half.

    I haven't had any crazy surprises... my neighbors showed up at a 5K I ran last Sept. and I was really excited to see them.

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  4. What a great post!

    My biggest race day surprise: Last year, at a race in Philly, it was so cold (14 degrees at start) that when you passed water stations you had to be careful because when people threw their cups, the water turned to ice!

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  5. onelittletrigirl---what race is this in Philly? Was it the Philly Marathon? Because I ran that in November and it was the same situation...before I was aware of the ice I almost slipped!

    Good Luck training, I'm confident you will BQ!

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  6. I love this post. It IS a big deal to decide which race to do especially when you have the IDEA of BQ'ing. How wonderful is that? I am so proud of you!! I agree with Marlene - your own personal pacer is the bomb and I've met fabulous Julie. I love her humble self. She is a born, true runner it sounds. I wish I didn't feel compelled to tell people that whereas I barely beat the octogenarians during my first full marathon I cut 2+ minutes off a 10k in 4 weeks. Who cares? Look out San Antonio, here come Beth and Julie and they are hell on wheels!

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  7. My runner friends mentioned RNR San Antonio this weekend! They're thinking they might want to do it this year, but I haven't been convinced yet. It sounds like a great race, however.

    Maybe I'll see you there??

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  8. Sounds like a good choice of marathons. Pretty cool to have a pacer to help you achieve the time you need. Good luck with your training.

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  9. It sounds like you are all set. A nice course and a friend to drag you across the finish line in time to finish for a BQ.

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  10. That sounds like a great marathon for you! And how cool to have a pacer, too!

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  11. Looks like a good choice for a marathon, and so great to have a pacer. I bet you will BQ for sure!

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  12. Yay! You finally chose one! Good luck; I'm sure you will BQ. I'm hoping to just finish.

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  13. Oh...and one more thing. Once you guys are done, could you circle back around, pick my ass up off the road, and make sure that I make it across the finish line under the 7 hour time limit????

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  14. How exciting!! San Antonio's a good choice (being it's the only full I've run). Hee... And too cool that The Pacer is going to run it with you. You're going to rock that sub-4 race time!

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