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The Evening Before

Saturday, April 26, 2014

On the closed FB group, one of the pace leaders wrote, "Think of tomorrow as not merely the end of [the training program], but the beginning of the rest of your life as a runner!"

My response was, "Heh. I've been getting through the taper by thinking of tomorrow as the day I'm allowed to run again."

It's almost bed time, and I've got through the last rest day of the taper. Tomorrow morning will be almost like getting up for just another long run to start at 7. Differences: Need to be there at 6:55 for training group pictures. There will be a bigger crowd than for another training run. It's on a Sunday instead of on a Saturday.

I can handle this.

I've got my sisters' email addresses loaded into LiveTrack. After talking to my daughter, I put her email in as well. Daughter probably won't get up to watch the start of the race, but might be moved to get there in time to take pictures at the finish line. It's all good.

Today I tried to do everything like a normal Saturday, except a normal Saturday lately would have included a long run in the morning. But I ate normal food, upping the calories by 100 in honor of tomorrow's half marathon. I did normal Saturday laundry. I had a normal Saturday lunch with my daughter. I took a 3-4 mile walk in the morning so I could get my steps in and still be able to sit and talk to my daughter in the afternoon. And I put all the flavors of GU Gel into the nutrition tracker, so whichever ones are free tomorrow I can easily record.

Now I just need to get to bed reasonably early so I can be up early, then follow the plan tomorrow. Normal breakfast. Normal morning chinups and pushups. Assuming I'm up on time, normal morning abduction, adduction, and calf raises. Get the usual gear together, drive off and park in my normal spot.

The race plan is to head out with the 1:35 pace group. Hang with them through the first set of hills from Goodman to Mt. Hope Cemetery. Edge ahead of them when we get to the top of the hills in the cemetery (about mile 8). Pick up the pace when leaving the cemetery (about mile 10). Turn on whatever afterburners I might have left at the top of the Ford Street Bridge (less than a mile to go). This is a pretty standard plan for running Flower City, adjustable to whatever pace group is appropriate for the individual runner.

For reference, here's the course route:


It's easy to get sucked into the hype with experienced runners telling me I should be able to run a half in under 1:30. I don't see the numbers working for that time from the plan. If I feel great, I might run under 1;33. The McMillan site predicts 1:34 and change from my time in the Spring Forward 15K, but I think I can run Flower City smarter. And I'll have a pace group to help with keeping the early part slow enough.

But . . . the real goals aren't time to finish. The biggest goal is to finish uninjured, in good enough shape that I can run 4 easy miles on Tuesday and have it be No Big Deal. Those 4 miles don't have to be fast. They don't even have to be as fast as my normal easy runs. Just 4 running miles, feeling reasonably good.

Oh, and think I'll adopt my sister's traditional goal of finishing upright, with a smile on my face. That's a good goal.

I need to remember what the real goals are, and let the finish time take care of itself. Because in the grand scheme of things, it's more important to me to keep running regularly than to turn in a record time. After all, this is my first half marathon. Any finish time will be, by definition, a PR for a half marathon.

Now, off to bed. Tomorrow I'll see how well I do following the plan.
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