In less than one week, I will race my second half-marathon.
Run Through Redlands 2009 was my first, and Run Through Redlands 2010 will be number two.
At this point in my training, there's not a whole lot I can do. I need to just run a few times this week, avoid injury and keep my body well-hydrated and with the proper amount of carbs necessary for a prime performance on Sunday.
I'm confident of that, of a prime performance. In many ways, you give yourself confidence for such things - races, an important presentation at work, an exam at school - with the way you prepare for them. If you prepare well, you give yourself confidence. If you don't, then you have to try and fabricate it.
I've had a really good stretch of runs lately, both in my long runs and my midweek runs. I've tackled the hills - around my house, at Mt. Rubidoux, even some of the hills on the course itself. It's a bit of a hilly course but I'm not worried about it. Because I've been running a lot of hills, I feel prepared for them and am confident they will not break me.
But does that mean I'm going to succeed? It depends on what success to me is. Last time around, success was just finishing. That's not going to be enough this time around. Sure, I'll take pleasure in completing the race, especially in the moments right after crossing the finish line. However, I have higher hopes than that.
My goal is to finish in under two hours. However, I will be the first to say that a sub-2 hour finish is a bit ambitious, what with the hills and all. If it was a flat course, I'd bet more money on myself than I would at Run Through Redlands. I do have an ace up my sleeve, though, as blog/Loper buddy Angie and I will run the race together and we're going to push each other for 13.1 miles. She's trying to break the two-hour barrier as well.
She's going to provide a great boost along the course and I hope to do the same for her as well, but that doesn't mean we've got two hours in the bag. In fact, far from it. That just means we have to be on our extra-best to not let each other down. I have the utmost faith that she's going to run her best, and as she's a four-time marathoner that says a lot. I just need to keep up my end of the deal.
If I break the two-hour mark, I'm going to be ecstatic. It will be another goal met, another challenge overcome. If I don't, I'm not going to frown too much. I know that I will finish better than last year's time, better than the 2:14:50 I came in a year ago. I know I'm going to PR, and if I don't get the sub-2 half here, it will give me something to shoot for next time around.
Whatever the case, I'm confident I'll give a great performance. And whether that means a finish time of 1:59:44 or 2:03:37 or 2:07:59, I'll be happy so long as I don't sell myself short on race day.