My Marathon Mentality
|October 29, 2010||Posted by Lauren under Marathon Training, Running|
Thank you all for your great running music suggestions! There were quite a few songs you suggested that were either new to me or missing from my current playlist. Unfortunately, however, I’ve finally pulled myself out of denial and forced myself to accept the fact that I won’t be listening to any music during my marathon. But more about that in a minute…
I’m sitting here typing this post with my legs covered in icy hot and all but one run of marathon training completed (an easy 2 – 3 miles on Sat). I’ve done a lot of reflecting this week about the past few months of training. All things considered, these past 14 weeks have actually gone pretty smoothly. I’ve made it through an all-night relay, three 20-milers (one while sick with a cold), and enjoyed several fun runs with new running buddies. With the exception of my aching knees, I’ve made it through training without any sort of injury. This is a pretty big deal for the runner who has been plagued by almost every type of running injury under the sun. In past training cycles, I’ve faced shin splints and sciatic pain by this point.
But this time around, I’ve approached things a lot differently. After an awful spring of constantly feeling sick after long runs and then ultimately deciding not to run the full marathon I had been training for, I realized I needed a change. I needed to find the joy in training again, and I really needed to be better about listening to my body. Despite what my training plan may tell you, the truth is that when I started training over the summer, I decided that my only real strategy would be to attack my long runs, doing most of them at race pace. I promised myself that as long as I got in all my long runs, I was not going to obsess over my weekly mileage or speed work.
So far, it seems like this strategy has paid off. I finished up my peak training on a high note with my last 20-miler at a 7:56 pace; a week later I ran 14 at 7:45/mile and felt great. I felt strong on these runs, but I’ll admit I’m clueless as to how this will really pay off on marathon day. This has made me a bit nervous during training. Because even though I told myself that I was just doing this for fun, the truth is that I’m a competitive person. And I like to have goals — one of which was to use this race to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Life is funny though, and recent events have made me take a step back and remember my original goals: to make it through training (check) and to have fun and enjoy the marathon (TBD). First, the Boston marathon sold out in one day. And then, I came to the scary realization that I was going to have to do this marathon without one of my most important running tools: my playlist.
How was I just realizing this the week of my race, you ask? Well, clearly someone didn’t really do her research. A few weeks ago, while browsing the site for race information, I discovered that Cape Cod Marathon does not allow headphones/MP3 players. This came as a shock to me, because most races that I’ve done do allow them unless you’re competing for prize money (note: that is not me). After a few minutes of panic in which I carefully dissected the wording of the rule, I decided that the language did not clearly state that if you wore headphones you’d be disqualified. So I decided to bring my iPod, scope out the scene, and then try to wear it as discreetly as possible. After all, prohibited doesn’t necessarily equal disqualified, right?
Wrong. A few days ago, my coworker forwarded me an email from her friend who had run the marathon in the past and remembered officials writing down the bib numbers of runners wearing iPods. This email led to a couple days of frantic research into headphone rules, disqualification, and just what CCM means by “prohibited” anyway. I could write an entire essay on my findings, as well as my opinion about why headphones should be allowed during marathons, but I’ll spare you (for now). Basically I discovered that:
- CCM is, in fact, pretty serious about the no headphone rule. Apparently, prohibited does equal disqualified.
- Runners who are disqualified from races aren’t even listed in the results as a DQ. In fact, their names are nowhere to be found. They’re stricken from any and all listings, as if they didn’t even run at all.
These two points are enough for a non-rule breaker such as myself to forget all plans of subterfuge. I love running with music, and I hate having to face such a significant change in how I do things on the day of the marathon. For those of you who don’t run with music, imagine this: you do every one of your training runs with GU. You know when to take it, and you know that it works really well for you. Then, a few days before your race, you find out that you aren’t actually allowed to run with GU and must instead use race sanctioned gummy chews. You don’t know how these will effect you, and how you will perform with them. You’d be stressed, right??
Perhaps this seems a bit dramatic, but my iPod is simply another tool I use to run. I put on those headphones and get into the zone. When that music starts playing, my mind and body are completely in sync and ready to race. It’s a pretty awesome feeling.
But I’m not crazy, and I know when to admit defeat. So come Sunday, I will face another milestone in my running career — my first marathon without music.
My goal for this race really is to have fun and enjoy it. To take in the beautiful course, and interact with the other runners (maybe one of them will sing crappy pop songs to me the whole way). To listen to my body, and see how I do.
And for those of you who know me and know there’s no way I’m going to go into this thing and not compete with myself to do well…you’re right. While my main goal is to have fun, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to push a little bit.
If I can hold an 8:00 minute mile, then I’ll be looking at a 3:29 marathon, which works for me. That may not be all that realistic at this point, so my real time goal is to at least run a 3:40:59, my original qualifying goal. I just have to believe I have it in me.