Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thoughts: Goals, Or Lack Thereof

This is it, folks. Three days until the 2009 New York City Marathon. I leave tomorrow morning (I'm leeeavin'...on a jet plane...dunno when I'll be back again...actually, that's not true, I'll be back in Michigan on Monday evening).

After 18 weeks of training and hundreds of miles of road under my feet, what are my goals for this, my third marathon?

1. Have fun
2. Have fun
3. Have fun!

That's it. Seriously. I put down "3:55" as my projected finish time when I registered. I'll aim for 4:00 or so, but if I miss it, I won't be upset. This time it's all about relaxing and enjoying the moment. I am thinking of this race as a really long run with 42,000 friends.

At Detroit in 2008 I was a ball of nerves, frightened, clueless, and anxious. It was my very first marathon and I had no idea what to expect. At Cleveland in May of this year I had set such a lofty goal for myself (BQ OR ELSE!) that I was focused to the point of obsession on reaching it and I couldn't let myself enjoy the race.

This time,'s totally different. I know what it feels like to run 26.2 miles, so I'm not scared of the distance. I know I will be able to run the entire way. I already qualified for (and was accepted into) the Boston Marathon, so I don't need to freak out about my splits. I'm excited, of course, but I'm primarily very...calm.

I'm taking my camera, my iPhone, and my sense of adventure. I'm going to walk through the water stops, visit the port-a-potty as many times as I need to, find my friends in the crowd, wear my name on my shirt so people yell at me. I want to high-five little kids, take pictures of everything, boogie to the music. I am going to have the BEST RUN EVER.

According to those In The Know, my spot in the Blue bib corrals means I will be on the upper deck of the bridge after the start, and therefore I will avoid being pissed on, unlike the unlucky bastards in the Green corrals who have to run on the lower level of the bridge. This is good. Being sprinkled with other people's whiz is not how I want to start my day.

If anyone is really, really interested in following my progress on race day, there are two ways you can do it. One is to sign up for Athlete Alert, which will deliver my 5K splits to an email address. Additionally, you can also use the Race Day Tracker, which allows you to look at splits on the NYC Marathon web site the day of the race. My bib number is 24783.

I would like to tell y'all a funny story about a long run I had last month. I went out for 18 miles one overcast Saturday morning. I decided to run 9 miles out and back from my house. It was a pleasantly cool day and the first blushes of fall color were beginning to appear on the trees. I was rolling along at about a 9:00/mile pace when I passed a couple of guys who were digging a post hole on the side of the road with an auger. I waved to them and the little kid who was with them for no reason other than I was feeling fine and frisky at mile 4.5 of my run.

I meandered through the countryside, reached the 9-mile point, and turned around. Around mile 13.5 I saw the post-hole-diggers again, who had managed to install a mailbox while I was gone. It had been nearly an hour and a half since I passed them the first time. When I went by they were staring at me with disbelief. I could tell one of them was saying something, so I yanked my iPod earbuds out of my ears and said, "Pardon me?"

"Were you running...THE WHOLE TIME...since we saw you before?"

I chuckled and said, "Yes, I was...well, I'm training for a marathon, and today is my long run day. I'm doing 18 today."

The two men exchanged looks and then one of them said, "I just...can't...I can't even begin to imagine. Well, training for a marathon, I guess that's what you gotta do..."

I laughed again and said, "Yes, it sure is. Fortunately, I love it. I'm at 13.5 and I've got 4.5 more to go!" I waved again, jammed my headphones back in, and moseyed off down the road.

I'll never forget the way that guy said "THE WHOLE TIME." It was priceless.

Edited to add: I still have to pack...


Funnyrunner said...

GREAT GOAL for the NY city marathon. Don't worry about time - it's too crowded for a good time anyway. Drink in the awesome NY spectators/huge crowds and enjoy every minute of it. My favorite parts were the beginning (crossing over the VN bridge) and around mile 21 crossing from the Bronx back into Manhattan onto wide, beautiful 1st avenue lined 20-deep with screaming people. SO COOL.

btw - if no one's warned you yet, when you cross the VN bridge in the beginning, if you end up on the lower level, stay to the middle! You'll figure out why.

Sun Runner said...

I've got a blue bib, so I'll be safe and dry on the top level of the bridge. :)

Spike said...

"Being sprinkled with other people's whiz is not how I want to start my day."

don't judge how some people may prefer their mornings...


shellyrm said...

What a great goal! I love it. Stay strong and enjoy the journey.

girlrunningaround said...

Enjoy it!

Morgan said...

I love your goals and I can't wait to see/read the race recap and pics. You're going to have the best marathon ever! ENJOY!

Kristin said...

Have a great weekend in NYC and enjoy Sunday! Best of luck!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Being sprinkled with other people's whiz is not how I want to start my day.

Yeah, this is really more an end-of-the-day activity, doncha think? Cocktail hour at the earliest, and please note how I am NOT emphasizing or otherwise drawing attention to the "c*ck" in "cocktail" because you'll notice it all by yourself when you're getting whizzed on ... at an hour DECENT foax get whizzed on.

As for your claim you won't be upset if you don't hit yer 3:55 goal ... HAHAHAHAHA!!1!

When you start running your competitive juices will start flowing and I'll BET you finish in under 3:50.

And I feel sorry for any dude who DOES whiz on you during the race! You'll be wearing his junk around your neck! We won't need no stinkin' BIB NUMBER to spot ya! Hahahahaha!

Good luck, Sarah (D-MI)!

Kirsten said...

Ha, a couple of months ago I was on the home stretch of a 20 miler and had an older man smile and ask me how far I was going. I said 20 and he sort of froze, then his jaw dropped. I think he was expecting me to say 2-3.

Good luck this weekend! I can't imagine "enjoying" a marathon at this point. But not having any pressure and being part of a crowd like that would be a really cool experience. Can't wait to read your report!

FinnyKnits said...

I'm pretty sure you have the best attitude of all the runners I've met thus far. Have a greatGREAT time "running the whole time" in NYC.

M2Marathon said...

You will have a great time and TG for the blue bib! Let's just hope they didn't decide to "switch thing up this year" and put the green bibs on the top deck...

Mike Fox said...

Those goals sound great! I hope I can aspire to that this weekend!

I have an orange bib - so I will also be running on the top deck.

Good luck!!

joyRuN said...

Haha! That's like when I drop T2 off at preschool & start running from there. The moms are just floored when they still see me running at pick up 3 hours later.

Lovin' your goals. Have a FANTASTIC time!!!!!!

Viper said...

Good luck. Run well and drink well. Cheers!

Carolina John said...

have fun and be safe! <3 ya.

can't wait to see the pics.

Robert said...

I love how casual you are able to be about your goals. That has to make the race more enjoyable. I'm already starting to seriously freak out and I still have 3 weeks to go.

Anyway, have a great race! I won't be out on the course (Jets game), but I'm hoping to make it back to the GMR get-together to hear of you runners' successes!