Home Field Advantage

July 25th, 2010 | Posted by Alison Spath in Fitness

For those of you following along, I read Born to Run a few weeks ago.  This book was awesome and continues to have a strong influence on my running life as of late.  Much of the book is about these ultra-marathoners who run this insane, 100 mile race through the Rocky Mountains in Leadville, Colorado.  One of the runners featured in this story had the bright idea to do his training for the race on the actual course itself.  And what do you know – he ended up setting a new course record that year.

Do you know what I think of that?

I think that is Pure.  Genius.

Racing can be as much of a mind game as it is a physical one, and boy do I know an awesome idea when when I steal one.  It just so happens that our new city residence is about one mile from the last 1/5th of the marathon course – the marathon that I plan to run 7 weeks from today.  And while until now I’ve been doing most of my running through my neighborhood streets, I’ve come to realize it’s time to get my ass on the course and take advantage of my serendipitously strategic living quarters.

I want to be mentally prepared for the end.  I want to triumph over those last 6 miles instead of fighting the urge to just lay down on the side of the road and take a little nap like I wanted to last time.  And while of course I’m gonna have to do a bit of running to get there, the mental prep I can begin to do now is invaluable too.

When I ran this race two years ago, I didn’t know the area at all.  What I saw around every turn was a surprise.  But now, the tables have turned!  I’m getting to know every twist and hill and pot hole like the back of my hand.  I really want those last 6 miles to suck as little as possible.  I want to breeze by people at mile 22 and say “what?  this old path?  oh I run here all the tiiiiiimmmeee.  this is like any other ordinary run for me!  why on earth are you looking so tired?”

I also figure it will be good to know which bushes are best to duck into to when these people are ready to bitch slap me.  And I want to know the best place to stash a first aid kit to bandage up the gash in my cheek when that last line comes back to bite me in the ass on September 12th, 2010.

I’m not just running on the course though, I’m riding it too.  I rode the entire course a few weeks ago and at about Mile 9 I started to realize that “dang. 26.2 miles is far.  what the hell am I thinking?”  What am I thinking? I’m thinking I’m gonna know these 26.2 miles well, that’s what!

If I might now go on record and state my various goals for this race, they would be, in no particular order:

1.  Finish the race in an upright position.  Smile optional.

2.  Beat Alison circa 2008: come in under 4:14:59

3.  Hit the goal of Alison circa 2008: finish in under 4:00

4.  Qualify for the Boston Marathon: 3:40:59

If I were a betting gal, I’d wager on coming in some where between Goal #2 and Goal #3.  Given this Less is More Marathon Training Program touts “running your best marathon ever”, I really want to believe I can beat Alison circa 2008.  Alison of 2008 was a couple years younger of course, weighed about 8 lbs or so less I think, but! was also less experienced and was a little more flighty too if I might say so.  She also had to run the race on a very hot and humid day and therefore walked more than she expected at the end.  Fingers crossed for more cooperative weather this year, and maybe even a mild stomach bug the week before to help drop a little excess baggage.

So what do you think, Alison 2010?

Well, I think we can take her!  I also think #4 is a long shot this year without a really strong tail wind or a really good short cut.

Wait.  A short cut?  That is exactly what I should be looking for here!  Pure!  Genius!

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