My response was as follows “Not yet. Weather looks like it will be fine (temperature wise anyway), I have no expectations for time which is helping (sort of helps that my training hasn’t been as planned for 2 months because I don’t feel that pressure to run fast – of course, I’d still like to). I just want to make sure I enjoy the experience. The Runner’s World weekend reminded me of how much fun it can be when there’s no pressure (from myself).”
My state of nerves hasn’t changed in the two days since I posted this. I think my main worry in the lead up to this race has been about what to wear – not wanting to be too cold – but with an overnight low currently forecast as being in the mid-40s everything should be perfect. I have some old clothes to discard at the start so that’s no longer worrying me.
I’m not even worried that the cold I had still has me with a runny nose and very minor sore throat, or even that the muscle issue I had which caused knee pain still appears to be there (although not as bad as it was). As my friend said when I posted my reply to his query “in other words, you are ready”.
I do keep having to tell myself not to worry about time though. The advice seems to be “your goal for your first marathon should just be to finish”, and I’m sort of there with respect to thinking that way. However… my main worry is selling myself short on how fast I can be. Why should I start off slower when maybe, just maybe, I should just push it, just a little bit, to see if I can achieve that ideal, perfect goal that I would have in my ideal marathon (you know, the goal I should be saving for my second, or, more likely, third marathon).
When I signed up I indicated a finish time of that absolute ideal time which has put me in the Black corral (at the back of it anyway). I should definitely start slower than that, but with thoughts of maybe picking up the pace later on (but not too early). As with anyone else in their first marathon, it’s difficult to know what will happen after 20 miles (if training runs are anything to go by, chances are that’s when I will slow down a lot and interestingly it didn’t seem to matter on those runs how fast I’d run up to that point) but hopefully it won’t be too bad.
Realistically I’m looking for a time around 3:40 I think and if I’m going to enjoy it I probably shouldn’t push for faster than that, but I can’t wait to find out what happens on the day.
For anyone interested, my bib number is 2524 and this is likely what I’ll be wearing:
The best way I can think to describe what this run will be like is “my longest run where there happen to be thousands of other runners, and people cheering us on”.