"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

Friday, March 4, 2011

Red Rock Marathon: Final Preparations (or lack thereof)

It's been such a busy two weeks that I haven't had much time to dwell on the actual race tomorrow. Probably for the best. By nature, I want to plan every little detail of everything, leave nothing to chance and know exactly what is going to happen when and why. This is how I approached all three marathons last summer and while all three were good experiences, I think I had over analyzed things so much that by the time I reached the starting line I was an overstressed mental mess, despite my efforts and intentions to be the opposite.

I'm feeling pretty good today. I know the course generally, but haven't bothered to inspect every inch of it. I know it goes up for eight miles, then down for five, then turns around and goes back the other direction. I know roughly where the aid stations are and which ones will have food. I know where to catch the bus to the starting line, what the clothes drop-off procedures are and where my family might be at the finish line. More than that, I don't really know. Don't really care. Because of the difficulty of the course, I don't have any expectations or goals for a finishing time. My wife asked what time I thought I might be done and I gave here an hour window. I really have no idea.

Many training programs stress the importance of treating long runs like race day. For some reason I've neglected this in the past. I've run 21 miles+ three times in the last six weeks. For each of those runs, I rolled out of bed, put on my clothes, drank a small glass of water and set out on my way. Why should race day be any different? So that's the plan (or lack thereof) for the next 24 hours. Eat smart. Drink fluids. Enjoy my vacation in Las Vegas. And at about 4am tomorrow, roll out of bed, lace up my shoes and head towards the starting line. From there, I'll just run.

This hit my inbox a few weeks ago from Runners World:

"Do the work. Do the analysis. But feel your run. Feel your race. Feel the joy that is running." (Kara Goucher, American long-distance runner)

Good enough for me. I've run aapproximately 400 miles of hills since my last race in November. I've done it through rain, wind, snow and darkness. I've done all I can do. Tomorrow's forecast calls for sunny skies and 60 degrees by around 8am. Sounds like a great morning to take a 26.2 mile victory lap.

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