The clock is ticking. The Chicago Marathon is in 3 days. 18 weeks of training are behind me - I ran my last training run this morning - a 2 miler. It is a great feeling to know that I have finished my preparation for this Sunday. I have completed my long runs, often in high humidity and heat. I have run... in rain; when I didn't have the time to run; when I didn't feel like running; and when I did feel like running. I even had to jump over a copperhead snake on my last 20 miler! The really great thing is that I'm still running, have all my toenails intact, and I'm injury free. Often, I am totally amazed at how things can work out!
I believe my last big obstacle for the race this Sunday is completing the mental preparation.
I have all confidence that I will finish the race. But my mind is playing games about finishing at my goal pace. My goal is a 4:30 marathon. Last year I ran a 4:57 at the Marine Corps Marathon and my first marathon, the 2007 NYC, I ran a 5:25 (I did finish before Katie Holmes, though).
I keep playing with the thoughts, "Well, I am almost 50. Maybe this should be my last marathon and don't worry about the pace. It's great to just finish." It is so true that it's great to finish, I know that is a tremendous achievement. But, there is also nothing wrong, in fact there is everything right, about having a goal and believing you can achieve that goal.
The New York Road Runners' magazine, New York Runner, fall 2010 issue, had an In Memoriam write up about Abe Weintraub.
Abe Weintraub is beieved to be the oldest race finisher in the history of NYRR events. In 2008, at age 98, he completed two-five mile races.
Weintraub started running to become healthier and more active. He signed up for NYRR's running classes at the beginner level and improved quickly, and two years later, in 1992, he finished the New York City Marathon - at age 82. Weintraub went on to complete the race every year from 1994 to 2001. In 2000, his time of 7:25:12 was a world record for the 90+ age group.
My thoughts of age being a factor were somewhat destroyed when I read about Abe. I'm sure he had a vision of meeting his goals.
Often, the counsel given to marathoners is to envision yourself running the course. To take 10 minutes and picture yourself running the course from start to finish.
The mind is a great thing. The Bible says in Proverbs something like, "Where the mind goes, the man follows." I think I'll go on the Chicago Marathon website, take a good look at the course, and see myself running across that finish line - right alongside the thousands of other 4:30 runners!