Wall? What Wall?
Well I did the distance yesterday.
I put my sporadic training to the test choosing to post-enter a marathon. A crazy idea I had been toying with for weeks. Post entry would of course give me the opportunity to bail if the weather was lousy or I felt particularly unready.
Well at 5am I rolled out of bed and at 6:10AM I was registered for the 2007 Greater Hartford Marathon.
I was a little anxious before the start, my only 20 miler had been in July, my last long run was over 3 weeks before (but it was great!). I went through the pre-race rituals and motions I'd done 7 times before at other races. I was as ready as I was going to be.
The gun went off and I thought to myself, hey, I am running ANOTHER marathon. It wasn't the giant event with the buildup that I had had in the past. I didn't even try and think about the race yet to come just that the pace had to be easy.
I tried a new strategy, don't run fast. I was in it for survival, not land speed records.
The plan worked. By playing it really conservative in the early miles I held on for the later miles and didn't have the major mental crash and body wrecking issues I've had in past races.
I think it's the experience of having completed 7 before this one that carried me through. It's miles of long runs that got me to 18, tired but fine.
I was at 20 and realized I was in better shape than ever before and mentally still in it. My pace dropped after 16 or 17 but didn't crash, it just slowed some. I walked some short hills in the last 3 or 4 miles but at that point I knew I was well within my goal time of 4 hrs and had the time in the bank to walk a bit. I finished in 3:42, no pains, a bit sore of course and no mental crash.
Can I do it again? Stay tuned!