On Sunday, I ran the best 18 miles of my life (so far).
My pace was about 8:15 per mile, actually 15 seconds per mile faster than my goal marathon pace in Hamilton, and it was on a warm day.
At first, I was overjoyed. It wasn’t an easy day–running 18 miles is never easy–but it wasn’t a death march. I wasn’t intentionally running that fast; I ran a pace that felt good.
But then the fear came creeping in. Did I leave too much out there? That is a legitimate sentiment. Better athletes than me have done that.
Now it’s more than 24 hours later and I’ve had a chance to reflect. Author Elizabeth Gilbert said fear is boring, and I agree. Heading into this marathon, I am kicking fear to the curb. That was a great workout, fear, and I’m not going to listen to you anymore.
The day after, I feel pretty good. I am more stiff than sore. During my 6-mile shakeout this evening, I was deliberately slowing myself down because I felt so good.
Although I’ll be sure to run more slowly during my next long run and save marathon pace for the final 8 miles, and I have two more big weeks of training left, I believe it’s time to readjust my goals.
Heading into Hamilton, my minimum goal is still 3:45. The closer I can get to 3:40, the better. I’m not sure if I want to make the jump to 3:30, which would be a massive PR and a potential Boston-qualifying time. Going from 8:30/mile pace to 8:00/mile pace is quite a jump. And yet, I am much more confident in my racing abilities going into Hamilton than I was a year ago in Chicago. I’m a stronger runner than I was a year ago.
Luckily, I have a month to monitor my training and mull it over, keeping in mind my 2015 mantra: Be brave.