When In Doubt, Crunch the Numbers…

I’ll admit, I’ve been getting into my own head lately about my Boston strategy. Which isn’t entirely unusual for a runner. When we’re in the thick of serious training, we tend to focus on our race goals and try to aim for them as best we can. But it’s been a very long time since I’ve had to put a strict level of serious thought into my training because I’ve been fortunate enough to run a lot of races with incredibly liberal course time limits. That’s not to say that I languish or get lackadaisical about my training, but for the most part I’ve been able to afford myself a large margin of error. Boston is a different story altogether.

You could argue that a six hour time limit really is a ton of time to finish. True. Very true. Sorted out into an even pace, this is a 13:45 mile. Not hard to beat with proper training, right? But it’s still a daunting idea being that I have a tendency to start out too fast, and end up flagging mid-course if I’m not careful. This happened to me during my second time running NYC and twice running the Santa Rosa half, to the point that I actually cramped from Achilles to knee on both legs. Something I wouldn’t recommend to or wish on anyone on the planet. I have photographic evidence of what it looks like to sprint across a finish line with both legs in full cramp. It’s…not pretty.

So I’ve spent the better part of this week really trying to hone my Boston strategy and trying not to psych myself out at the same time. I know I can do this. I do. I really really do. But I can’t help letting my mind wander over to the What Ifs. What if I can’t control my speed during the first few miles that are a nice downhill? What if I get to Heartbreak Hill and it’s worse than I ever imagined? What if I don’t hit my nutrition right and I bonk? What if I pause too long at a water stop or have to pee or try to let myself enjoy the course too much? What if…what if…what if…

It’s exhausting.

I’m not stupid. I will not waste this golden opportunity I’ve been given. I’m hitting all my training, I’m hitting my nutrition. I’m focusing on the right things. I just need to trust that I’m on the right path and come race day, I’m going to knock it out of the park like the champ I think I am.

What if?

I can’t keep letting that into my head.

What if?

I’ve worked so hard on trying to lose a fair amount of weight to help naturally increase my speed by virtue of fat people not moving as fast as less fat people. But it’s been a verrrrrrrry slow journey and that’s starting to eat at me. I can’t let that do me in now, though. Trust the training. Trust the nutrition. The rest will fall into place. Right?

What if?

I have my three test races lined up prior to Boston. This weekend is the Davis Stampede 10K and I have a very strong goal of beating my previous 10K PR of 1:19:55. And there’s a very good chance that I’ll be able to do it with little problem if I stick to my strategies I’ve gleaned through my training over the past two months. In a little over three weeks, I have the Shamrock’n Half Marathon where my goal gets a bit tighter and I’m aiming for an almost 15 minute PR on a course that is quite unforgiving. And then the weekend after that is the Whale Run 10K where I will try not to push for a PR as I have to do a total of 14-16 miles that day for training and I don’t want to overdo it, but damn if I don’t want to see what I can do on the course where I currently hold my 10K PR. But what freaks me out is that after the Shamrock’n Half, there’s a mere five weeks until Boston. If I do terrible at Shamrock’n, what does that mean for Boston? How will I fix things in just five weeks?

See how easy it is to get in my head?

All I can do is trust my training. Trust my nutrition. Trust myself. I can do this. I’ve crunched the numbers. I’ve got a strategy to test that makes me happy. I feel really good physically. My knee isn’t my enemy, and for once I’ve taken stretching and rolling in stride instead of fighting it.

I trust myself.

I can do this…?

I can do this.

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