Friday, May 30, 2014

Looking ahead to race day

It's Dam to Dam Eve! I've planned my meals, checked the weather, washed all my running gear so I can pick the "luckiest" items, not the cleanest, and drafted a set of goals.

Picture this list as an inverted old-fashioned food pyramid, with the first items being the base (things I can and must do) and the final ones being the top (not critical for survival).

1. Be happy for other runners. 

Cory is running with me, of course, and will likely beat me despite training less; our friend Chris, a natural athlete and known speed demon, will be there, too; and another friend, Anne — a wife, mother and full-time employee — is doing her first half marathon ever.

No matter my race outcome, these folks deserve wholehearted congrats when I see them afterwards.

2. Don't melt down, physically and mentally.

The weather doesn't look fantastic, but it doesn't look terrible, and the route is supposed to be fairly forgiving.

Even if it's not my day, I should be able to keep plodding away — and I'm going to have to, because 13.1 miles is too long to do the start-swear-stop routine when I have other places to be later in the day.

Plus, it's my last run for a month. If that doesn't get me to the end faster, I'm not sure what else will.

3. Record my second-best half marathon time.

There's a HUGE gap between my current and past PRs — almost eight minutes, in fact. Though I may not feel like I'm at the top of my running game right now, I'm certainly in shape enough to beat 2:08:32, set on a hillier course in D.C.-area humidity.

4. Finish in 2:05:00.

That's a 9:32 pace. Seems reasonable in this situation, given that I did train. I'm running by feel, so whether I achieve this might depend on what kind of pace groups are nearby.

5. Finish in 1:59:59 or less.

Can I keep a 9:09 average? We'll find out Saturday.

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