The Real Big Four-Oh...and One Mo(nth)

Ok, so it seems that THIS post is my real 40th post. Apparently there was a draft of a post that I hadn't deleted, which is why I thought I had 40.

So, for real this time: this is my 40th post!!! ::insert fanfare here::

For those of you who use a Mac, you know the wonders of the dashboard. At work I have a Mac and when I discovered the dashboard I was fully converted to an Apple junkie. If you don't know what the dashboard is, basically it's like a second desktop on your computer where you have mini-programs (e.g., calculator, stock ticker, gmail reader, weather, etc.) that are always running. Hands down the handiest thing on a Mac. (I swear, this will eventually relate to running.)

On my dashboard I have setup a count down clock to the Baltimore Marathon. My dashboard is pretty cluttered, so I pay attention to the clock about once or twice a week. However, this week, the construction on our floor FINALLY ended and we moved out of conference rooms and over to real desks. ("Real desk" is used loosely: at my agency our desks are actually made of scaffolding...I'm not kidding.) This involved a two day moving process and between that and my regular workload I didn't even notice that the countdown slipped under the one-month mark.

My realization yesterday afternoon: holy crap, I have less than one-month until MY FIRST MARATHON EVER! Over dinner last night I commented to the wife: by this time next month I'll have my first marathon under my belt and be dreading going back to work. Wow, it's so close. Less than one month is really, really close.

Naturally, the wife responds with, "do you think you're ready?" She's not the first to ask this question, and I always have a little trouble with this question. I have five half-marathons up on the wall already, and after the last one I felt great and could have honestly done another 13ish miles. So during my training for Baltimore I haven't really been too concerned about completeing the race: I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to cross the finish line, in some matter...in some amount of time.

Where my concern lies is how I'll cross the finish. Yes, I know this is my first marathon. Yes, I know that the full marathon is a new and different beast. And yes, I know I should take it as easy as possible. But when you get down to it, I'm still a 20-something competitive male that is too stubborn to act better when he knows better.

Unlike Nitmos, I set my goals out early in my training under the philosophy of "reach for the moon because if you miss, you'll still land among the stars." Poetic, I know; naive, you bet. So I started training for MY FIRST MARATHON EVER with the idea of maintaining an 8:30 pace. Mind you, my half-marathon PR is in the 8:40 range. It was doable the first few weeks, but once the intense summer sun hit, I adjusted my expectations a bit. Since then, I've been training with a goal pace of a 9:00 min/mile, but usually running at a faster pace.

Over the course of training, though, I have developed three different goal levels:

Goal #1 "Best Case Scenario" - Anything under 3:55:48. If I can do less than a 9:00 min/mile I'll be so happy I'll wet my pants...although they'll be soaked by the end of the race no matter what, so that's pretty much a moot expression. Given my performance on my good runs, this could be an attainable goal. This is a "nice to have" goal.

Goal #2 "I Can Do This" - Four hours. This is the goal I should be able to attain--pending no disasters on race day.

Goal #3 "If Nothing Else, Do This" - Less than 4:12:00. Yeah, this is an awkward number, but there is rationale behind it. Unfortunately, I can't share the rationale here. Sorry guys.

I realize that these are packed pretty close together and there is a chance I won't make any of them. But like I said before, I'm a stubborn 20-something guy that seems to have something to prove to the world.

That's it for now--hopefully I'll have a post-19-mile run write-up tomorrow.


Marcy said...

How is the course in Baltimore? Flat? Hilly?

If all external conditions (ie: weather and stuff you cannot control) are favorable, I think we'll be seeing a Goal Numero Uno finisher ;D You can do it homie!!

sRod said...

I've heard both. The race site says it's an easy course, but I've seen people describe it as hilly. I'm more likely to believe the race site, just because when you're on the course any bump seems like a mountain.

Amy said...

I think the month before the marathon is much worse than the event itself. All that waiting and thinking. Looks like you have a great plan and are adaptable! I hope the 4 weeks goes by quickly in terms of anticipation and slowly enough to finish your training.

Non-Runner Nancy said...

sRod - I have no doubt that you are going to rock and likely hit at least one of your goals. Just remember to be thrilled and happy and ecstatic at the finish NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. When you finish, you have completed something that less than 1% of the world can or has done. It's easy to get caught up in our goals and what we should be able to do, just don't set yourself up to be disappointed at that finish. I've seen your eye for seeing the beauty in things even though you are a 20 something male with something to prove :) Don't forget to enjoy everything about the experience along the way. (just call me mom if you need to !)