Monday, March 06, 2006

Nervous Jitters

I'm getting nervous about the National Marathon. My first (and last?) marathon. It's T minus 18 days, and I'm wondering if I'm ready for it. Especially since the field is going to be fast: To qualify, you had to have run a previous marathon in under 4:30, a half-marathon under 2:10, or a 10-miler under 1:40.

Here's a recent article about the marathon.

I ran 18 miles yesterday afternoon (in 2:57, avg 9:50/mile pace), 20.5 miles (avg 10:05/mile pace) last Sunday, and 18.3 (in 3:06) miles the Sunday before that. That's it for my long, slow runs. The other 2-3 long-ish runs have been in the 15-mile range, and according to Bob Glover's Competitive Runner's Handbook, ideally I should have at least 5-6 runs of 18-22 miles underneath my belt.


Also, by the time the marathon rolls around on March 25, I will have been training for 3 months. But Glover says I should train for four months, and should have begun my training with a solid 15-20 mile/week base.

Whoops again.

Hubris?: I may have been too optimistic to think I can finish the National in under 4 hours, even though McMillan's running calculator estimates I can do it in around 3:54. HA! Glover in his book also recommended this for first-time marathoners: Don't worry about time. You're going into unknown land. Just finish the damn thing.

Sage advice. I'm going to follow it.

Not alone: The coordinator of the 10K training program I volunteer-coach for is scheduled to run a marathon the week before mine. Not sure which one. But she ended up bowing out, she told me recently, because of hamstring problems. Also, because she "didn't want to have another bad marathon time" in her books. She finished a marathon in 2004 in 5:51 and change.

"Maybe," I thought, "I can postpone my marathon debut by a few weeks, so I can get more training in!"

The Charlottesville,Va., marathon is on April 16, three weeks after the National Marathon. Then I looked this morning at the hilly course - lots of steep uphills and downhills.

Then I thought, "Naah. Just do the National [which also has hills] and get it over with."


  1. good call. would hate to see you bow out at this stage. and yeah, c'ville is HILLY. Let's see what you can do, girlfriend! You might just surprise yourself.

  2. Hang in there, Bex. Part of Taper Madness involves all kinds of self-doubt and worries. That and frantic weather report checking.

    You'll be great. :)

  3. You will be fine although you probably should lower your time expectaions a bit. I had wanted to do the SF marathon in just under 5 but I under trained and did it in 5:25. But I did it! That's what counts.

    Enjoy your taper and enjoy your race. There is no point to doing these things if you can't enjoy it!

  4. I thought about C-ville for the half, but the hills scared me away. We're doing the Potmac River Run on May 7, but I think it's full now. You'll be fine! You are a speedy runner, and I agree with Jeanne. I think you might surprise yourself, too.

  5. Bex - you are so ready. With a 18, 20.5, and 18.3 behind you, you're in good shape.

    You already know you can reach 20, and anything after that is just a 10K counting backwards until you're done! Piece 'o cake! You'll be fine!

  6. a long time reader of yours, i think i can say are a strong, natural runner! you've done some solid training - there are LOTS of different training programs out there and they all say different things, so don't sweat it!

    Don't worry about time - on that point, I will agree. Just have some FUN - if you focus on FUN, I'll bet it won't be your last marathon.

    You *will* be great. I'll be cyber-cheering for you! (Besides, the race is on my b-day - you can have my b-day luck that day!)

  7. I think you'll do great! And I'm sure this won't be your last marathon. Just take it nice and easy and you'll have a great M.

  8. I think you'll do great! And I'm sure this won't be your last marathon. Just take it nice and easy and you'll have a great M.

  9. You're young. You're fit. You can do it. I side with Glover. Just finish the damn thing and make sure you enjoy it the best you can. In Miami when I started to hurt I said to myself, "Self, you didn't come down here to get hurt so go with the flow." Sure enough I ran into a beer stand and the cold beer started flowing.

  10. You'll do fine. don't worry so much about the training since you've got plenty of mileage under your belt. just get plenty of rest the day before and eat well, then step up to the start line and run and run until you cross the finish.

  11. Thanks to everyone for all of the kind words and support! Very very much appreciated. And I think focusing on FUN is going to be the key for me ....

  12. Wow! I didn't realize it had a time requirement! (Then why have they been sending ME all their race info & brochures & stuff! I'm NOWHERE near that fast.)

    Inaugural event -it should be COOL! Go for it!