Well, here we are. The Diamond Valley Lake Marathon is staring me in the face. I've got 26.2 miles standing in between me and marathon glory.
I have all the confidence in the world that I will complete this race. I've run three marathons and have survived to tell the tale after each one. Whether or not I finish with a good time remains to be seen but I am hopeful of finishing with a time I can be proud of. Will it be a PR? Suppose we'll have to wait and see on that one, but I do have a bit of a strategy.
It's the opposite of my Surf City plan. For Surf City, I wanted to test myself and see if I could hold a strong pace for the duration of the race. At the midway point, I was at 2:03, but I started to fade around Mile 16 or 17... well, fade is a strong word. I started to slow down a bit by that point and by Mile 20, 21 I found the going difficult. I finished in 4:23, a time I'm happy with. However, I left a lot of room for improvement having run the final 13 miles in roughly 2:20.
My goal will be somewhat the opposite. I'm going to start off with an easy pace. Now, not easy as in 12-minutes-per-mile easy, but easy as in as-close-to-10-without-going-under pace.
I want to try and push in the final miles. I want to have enough left in the tank - both physically and mentally - to attempt a push in the final miles. How many miles left will I try and make a push for it? It won't be before Mile 20, but I want to have energy left in Mile 20 so I can then decide when to go for it. I don't want to reach Mile 20 feeling worn out.
I'm going to ask a lot from my body, as I have in the other three marathons. But this time, I'm also going to try and stay mentally sharp. I know I wasn't mentally sharp in Surf City in February and the other two marathons, well, I was just learning what it takes to be mentally sharp. I fear, though, that I won't be able to really be able to deal with the marathon's mental monsters until I have a few more under my belt.
Still, this is another proving ground for me. This race will come down to me being mentally sound enough to pull out a strong effort in the home stretch. The longer I go feeling strong, sane and happy, the better off I'll be.