That is the word that will carry me through the race. Not passion, not resilience, not determination. It's honor that will pace me along Fourth Ave. It's honor that will carry me over the Queensboro Bridge. It's honor that will push me through Central Park.
I have taken some time during each of my runs over the past four months to prepare for the NYCM. Fleeting thoughts gave way to mile-by-mile mental run throughs of the course. All the time visualizing what my ideal race will be. During those unintentional yet vital preparations I realized the kernal of my race strategy: I have to honor my training. I can't ignore the months of work I have put specifically into this race. I can't ignore the wisdom I've gained, both mental and physical, from years of distance running. My body knows how to do this. I have to honor that. My brain is just along for the ride--and quite frankly if I could leave it home on race day, I would.
This means that I am not running this race for a 3:40 finish time. It means I am running the race that my body is prepared to run, and I have tried my best to prepare it to finish in 3:40. But I can't force that finishing time upon myself. Too many times I've tried to force my body into running the race my mind has wanted to run and each time it has backfired (see: MY FIRST MARATHON EVER, The Flying Pig, Grete's Great Gallop). I have to trust that my body knows what it's doing and understand that the finishing time is an output of that trust.
So my race day strategy will be to start off with the 3:40 pace group. I won't bind myself to the pacer, it'll just be a a way to keep myself in check during the first mile or two. After that I plan on running the first 10 miles between an 8:30 and 8:40 pace. The second ten miles I'll run between an 8:20 and 8:30 pace. The last six miles will be whatever I've got left.
While out there I will have to constantly remind myself to slow down to avoid fatigue and stitches. I have to keep my shoulders loose and my hands low. I have to check my breathing as often as possible. I will have Liam with me, but I don't plan on listening much to him--he'll just be there if I need a musical distraction or power boost. I will have my water bottle with me, but I'm seriously thinking that I won't need it--it will be cold and there are ample water stations, so I'm thinking I won't need the water bottle, but I haven't run a race without a water bottle in years and it's a bit late in training to be trying something new.
So that is my game plan: honor what I have trained myself to do by letting me do it. It's simple really, but it takes lots of discipline to execute. Game on.