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October 26 2012 / Emily

Pre-race Thoughts, Goals and Reflections

Well, Ridge to Bridge Marathon race day is tomorrow.  It has seemed like longer than 12 weeks of training for this one!

I tackled the Pfitzinger 12 week, 55 mile weekly peak schedule, which I fondly refer to as Pfitz 12/55.

If you followed my blog, facebook and/or dailymile page during this training cycle, or asked about it in person, you’ve heard some of my thoughts on this training plan.  I want to write some of my reflections on the training plan before I run the race, so my success or lack thereof doesn’t flavor my review.

I’ve run using Hal Higdon’s plans until now, and thought I needed to move to a more challenging and comprehensive plan if I was going to improve.  I don’t think I followed Pfitz well enough to reap the rewards of his schedule.  I also didn’t read most of the book Advanced Marathoning where the schedules come from, so I didn’t get the extra benefit of the rationale behind the workouts.  My fault.

Of the 12 weeks of the schedule, I didn’t follow any exactly.  I ran more than the prescribed miles 4 of the weeks and less the remaining 8 weeks.  I missed some time due to being sick, which is forgivable, but most of it was letting life get in the way.  Honestly, I like life getting in the way because my life is more than running.  I mean, I still need time to eat and nap and drink, right?  🙂  Some of the weeks I just fell short by a little here and there, but I missed a few of the mid-long runs.

I also ran many of my runs far, far too fast.  Based on my projected marathon pace (more on that to follow), I should have been doing many of my shorter runs at paces exceeding 11:00 minute miles.  Sure I can understand the idea of recovery and easy runs, but it’s really challenging for me to run that slowly, particularly alone and on a short run.  If I had someone else running that pace with me, it would be more possible.  Also, I can run that pace late in a really long run, even without wanting to!  But for a 4-8 mile run, it’s not happening.  Also, some of my non-marathon friends can actually join in on the shorter runs, and they are comfortable at my comfortable short-run pace of ~9:15-9:45, so I don’t want to ask them to crawl along with me on the few occasions where I can find company.

I was reading some other commentary on the Runner’s World forums with other folks following Pfitz plans who also got to points late in the training cycle like I was – hating running and just wanting to stop.  I have a friend who was training for the New York City Marathon and Pfitz got her so worn out that she dropped out of the race and has largely stopped running for the past month.  I think the plan can encourage burn-out, but I know it’s for a purpose.  But like I said, I don’t mind life getting in the way, and something has to give.  Lack of sleep due to a busy schedule and trying to cram in 12 mile morning runs before work just seems to encourage a breaking point.  I want to improve, but not at the expense of everything else.

That said, all in all, I feel reasonably prepared for the marathon.  I didn’t do it all, but I think I’ve done enough.  I trained harder than I have trained before and significantly increased my weekly mileage base.

The weather looks rather lovely for a race.  Roughly 50 degrees at the 8am start in Jonas Ridge and 65-66 degrees 4-5 hours later at the finish near Lenoir.  Cloudy with a 10% chance of precip.  The many (many, many) emails we’ve gotten from the race director this week indicate what I would expect, that is the autumn leaves are gorgeous along the route.  I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve been training with a goal in mind, so I might as well put them out there.

“A” Goal – 4:15 (likelihood: 15%)

“B” Goal – 4:25 (likelihood: 60%)

“C” Goal – 4:36 (likelihood: 20%)

That’s leaving a 5% chance out there that I blow up, hit the wall, or otherwise bomb it and finish in the bottom tier of my race times.  My current personal best is 4:20, so I’m aiming for a 5 minute PR with that “A” goal.  I’m not overly confident but I think it’s certainly possible.  The “B” goal would yield a new second-best time.

My PR of 4:20:06 and second best of 4:25:06 were set within a couple weeks of each other in late 2010, so I hope that the wisdom and (hopefully) fitness I have gained from almost 2 years of running in the interim along with 7 other marathons, will help me at Ridge to Bridge.

I am also thankful that I’ve run half the course already at The Scream! Half Marathon this summer (my review here) so I know a bit what to expect.  However my attitude at the end of that race was not the best, and I was ready to drop out of this race… so hopefully I can focus on the positive experience.  I mean for one thing the weather will be a lot better.

All that is left is dinner, a good restless night’s sleep, some oatmeal and a banana, a couple hours in the car and then a bus… then 26.2 miles.

I’m glad to be here right now, poking at my threshold. I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can. Maybe that spot is called I will.” -Kristin Armstrong



Leave a Comment
  1. hinsone / Oct 26 2012 9:10 PM

    Despite some missed stuff, you’ve put in a bunch of miles and I’m sure you are prepared, but I understand the nerves. I’m sure you’ll do great and I can’t wait to hear about it!

  2. laurenquartz / Oct 29 2012 9:02 AM

    And now you’re done! can’t wait to read your recap. 🙂 So proud of you!

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