Monday, April 11, 2011

Sum Of The Parts

On Friday, just hours after I declared my Boston Marathon goal finish time, Coach Lauren offered a little nugget of important if not somewhat unexpected advice: Don't think about a sub-4:10.

The words, which came casually between
sips of margaritas and the crunching of salty tortilla chips during a friendly get-together, came just hours after I'd agonized about publicly sharing my goal (read post here).

Even after writing the post last week and outwardly convincing myself that I could hit the chosen target, I honestly still wasn't sure. The thought of a sub-4:10 finish was still scary.

I should have known that I hadn't totally convinced myself after my latest marathon-related dream: I hit the 17-mile mark and looked at my watch for the first time. It read 6:33, as in six hours and 33 minutes. Yep, my sub-conscious definitely hadn't bought into my sub-4:10 plan yet.

I'm sure Coach Lauren could sense my reluctance and lack of confidence, too. I couldn't help but ask myself if I could really hit a sub 4:10. Logically, I knew it was possible. This is what I have trained for. Physically, it was possible.

But emotionally, was I up to the challenge? I know there's a big mental factor in running -- where your head is "at" can make or break you. Lauren knows this, too.

Perhaps that's why her next advice was as follows: Instead of a 4:10, think about 9:30s.

She was referring, of course, to my goal to average a 9:30 minute-per-mile pace next Monday during the Boston Marathon.

If you do a 9:30, you'll get the 4:10, she said. She said in such an easy, nonchalant way that it's almost as if shooting for the 9:30s is the only thing to do. As if to say, why would I be thinking of any other goal?

Sometimes it takes looking at something a little differently - and a little nudge by someone else - to put things into perspective.

After all, Mr. Miagi didn't teach Danielson how to become an expert at karate, did he? Paint the fence. Wax on, wax off.

I've gotta admit, a 9:30 pace seems totally do-able. Heck, I've already done that many times during training, including my long training runs.
Doing it 26 times in a row doesn't seem impossible at all.

I'm anxiously awaiting my "official" mile-by-mile pacing plan, which I expect to start out at a slower pace, then gradually build up to marathon pace. And, if all goes well, some faster miles at the end. That's just my guess, based on the training to this point.

See, Coach Lauren is holding the official plan hostage until the end of the week, keenly aware of my tendency to obsess about "the plan."

Like running, coaching seems to be only partly about the physical training. Good coaches - like Lauren - know how to get inside their student's head and train them for the mental parts of the marathon, too.

*REMEMBER, I'm running the Boston Marathon to help save lives!**

I'm SO CLOSE to my goal! Please visit my fundraising page to support a good cause and learn more about a very special little boy. Thank you for your support!

1 comment:

  1. I am running my first half marathon in June, and don't have a trainer. Unless you count Hal Higdon's online plan. I am not sure what time frame to target, but from reading your blog, I have come to the conclusion that when I do my 8 mile training run, that is probably the pace I can expect to finish the half marathon at.

    Thanks for blogging! I agree that most of the challenge is in our heads.


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