Friday, November 7, 2014

Stone Cat Trail Marathon goals

My shirt and bib from packet pick-up
Tomorrow I'll be running my first marathon.

Ok, I typed that. Did I really register the meaning though? Tomorrow I'll be running my first marathon!

I've thought about running a marathon for years. It was one of those bucket list items that I wanted to do during my life. I've read so many bloggers' experiences and seen several friends go the distance. Now that  it's my turn, I'm thinking about my expectations for the day.

When I initially signed up, I had hoped to place in the top 40% of female finishers. Right after I signed up though, tendonitis made an appearance in my knee, so instead of proceeding with the training, I took  it easy to rest the knee. I've slowly made my way with the training, so I'm ready to run this race, but not with the expectation of that finishing time.

In the scheme of things, I'm ok with letting go of the pace goal. Training for this race has led me past many boundaries and is shaping me into a different runner, mentally and physically. It's one piece in a running career that I hope will be long and eventful. (Seriously, I want to be one of those finishers in the 70+ age category someday.)
The gear is prepped. Now I just have to run!

Realistically, I think that I will be able to finish the race in under 6 hours. If it's a really good day and I feel awesome, I might be able to make it in under 5 and a half. Regardless of the time, though, I'm excited that I'm going to see myself cover the distance. The fitness I have gained in training for this is so exhilarating and empowering. I love being able to go out and hike up mountains and enjoy using my whole body to scramble up rocks and roots like an obstacle course. I love being able to hike or run through large sections of parks to see multiple views and points of interest without sacrificing an entire day. I'm so thankful for all of the natural sights I've seen while training and for the pure joy of moving. I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store for me.

I went out for an easy jog on a small portion of the course today to loosen up my legs, and it was a nice trail. In a span of a mile, I covered rolling double track and single track, which was well packed and often covered with soft pine needles. It is muddy in some sections from recent rain, but not as muddy as trail conditions were in the spring.

The weather report is calling for sun and chilly temperatures in the morning. My race starts about 5 minutes after sunrise, so I look forward to running through crisp air under thin yellow rays with the smell of pine needles all around and the sounds of footsteps of 400 other runners pattering along the trail.

Here's to my first marathon!

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