"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.”

- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Marathon #1: Race Day Strategery

40 hours and counting. Time to start gathering my gear together and preparing to head to Newport.

The weather is shaping up nicely for Saturday morning. Multiple storms came through this week, dumping multiple inches of rain and 20-30mph winds. The systems should move through by tomorrow morning and give way to partly sunny skies and temperatures around 50 degrees on Saturday morning with winds out of the south at 5mph. You can’t ask for anything more than that on the Oregon Coast. At any time of year.

My finish time goal is 3:30. I would also accept something in the 3:30-3:40 range, but I’m really focused on staying under 8 minutes/mile. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do this, but as I have read the experiences of many veteran marathoners, there is always a question as to how the body (and mind) will respond on race day.

I’ve continued to do some basic visualization exercises, though not as many as I should have. I’ve been visualizing various points in the race and seeing myself running in good form, breathing easy and moving efficiently. I’ve seen the long lonely highway that is miles 6-24, the hill at mile 25 and the run down the hill and the left turn into the finish line.

I’ve decided to go with music for this race. This will serve at least two purposes. First, for weeks I’ve been reminding myself not to go out too fast. Dozens of times each day I tell myself this. I can’t let myself get caught up in the excitement of the race or the flow of the other runners around me. The solution? Start with 30 minutes of boring slow piano music. I’ve been doing this on my Saturday long runs and it’s been effective.

Second, if I start to really struggle or when I’m at the bottom of the hill at mile 25 (whichever comes first), I’ve added a new song to my playlist to turn to. It’s one I mentioned in my Dude Room introduction a few weeks ago. It’s one I’ve been saving for many months in order to maximize its effect when it starts blasting through my Yurbuds. For your listening (and viewing) pleasure, I give you, “You’re The Best” from The Karate Kid soundtrack:

Lyrics | Joe Esposito - You’re the Best lyrics

Lastly, I found an essay a few months ago that I wish I had the ability to write. I don’t, but Mr. Malcolm Gibson does. Into The Fire: Reflections On First Time Marathoners is an excellent read, despite my serious reservations about comparing anything recreational to military units going into combat.

A few final thoughts tomorrow morning and then I’m headed to the race (you can also read that as no Internet access until I return home).

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