Twin Cities Marathon 2019 Goals

It’s chilly and damp here in the capitol city and I’m tired in mind and body. This isn’t a great way to end marathon training, but I have two days of rest and relaxation before the race. I’m off work tomorrow and will head to the dreaded expo, since the weather on Saturday looks like more garbage.

I’m staying pretty active this week since it’s the final week of this crazy steps challenge I’m participating in at work. I feel oddly competitive and my team is in the lead, so I don’t want to let them down! I’ve been on the treadmill the past couple of days since it’s been damp and chilly.

I don’t know what is realistic to expect for this marathon. I think my training went all right. It wasn’t great, once again I didn’t get in much training at actual marathon pace, but I really feel like I was committed to this training cycle. I did almost every speed workout required, with a couple exceptions (I think twice I was traveling, once my stomach was upset, and once I realized I didn’t have enough time to do all the repeats I needed to and finished one short). I didn’t do many long runs; I think I topped out at 15 miles. I don’t know how much that matters – I know how to run for a long time. Well, I know how to be on my feet for a long time, intermittently running.

I’m going to set myself up for success based on some lessons I learned last year. Of course I won’t be driving up to Duluth, going to a hockey game, and then driving home (not that it mattered, I didn’t sleep more than an hour the night before the race anyway). I certainly won’t be eating a rich chocolate cake that upsets my bowels the night before the race either. I’ll bring more stuff to put in my drop bag, now that I know how efficient it is. I’m going to bring a soft flask to put in my hydration vest (I wore the vest last year just to store my phone and keys) so that I can take a sip of water when I feel like it, rather than gulping down water at aid stations and getting a side stitch as a result. I’ll also carry some mints to avoid dry mouth. I know I’m going to be carrying a lot of stuff and real marathoners don’t carry anything with them and blah blah blah but also I am a real marathoner and this is my strategy and it’s valid. Suck it, Letsrun.

A Standard: 4:59:59
B Standard: 5:05
C Standard: 5:20

I have stated already that I want to run a sub-5 marathon, and I’m going to stick to it, and I’m going to do my best to do it. I’m going to remind myself of that at mile 5, at mile 13, at mile 21, at mile 24, as many times as it takes to keep going when I mentally want to check out. I got a lot of practice with that at Ice Age 50K, when a huge blister on my foot popped with a few miles to go and every step caused my shoe and the painful raw skin under that blister to collide. Even though I quit FANS early, I still willed myself through several loops on sore feet before throwing in the towel. So I’ve gotten some practice honing my mental game this year.

I think 5:05 is a reasonable backup goal, especially if I commit the cardinal sin of positive splitting (this is almost certainly going to happen because I don’t have a solid idea of my training, I don’t have a detailed race plan, and I’m not very good at holding a steady pace). I would be immensely proud to run that time if I gave all that I could and just didn’t quite have the fitness to go sub-5. A lot can go wrong over 26.2 miles and 5-ish hours.

5:20 is a nice PR (about 13 minutes) and I wouldn’t feel awful about it, but I’d definitely be hungry for another race so I could redeem myself with a successful result. Of course last year I didn’t even make my C goal, so I could end up in a troubleshooting situation where eking out even a 5:20 is a big achievement. I’m fairly certain I could have run somewhere around 5:20-5:25 if I hadn’t had the side stitch issue. I’m sure I’d have faded but I don’t know by how much.

Non-time related goals: avoid a massive negative split like last year, stay out of the med tent, finish the race, walk as little as possible, and don’t become a meme.

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