Nervous yet?

This was a question posed to me by a friend (this friend) on my Facebook wall, in relation to the upcoming Philadelphia Marathon, my first attempt at the distance.

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:

Haven't decided whether to go with a cap or beanie yet.

Haven’t decided whether to go with a cap or beanie yet.

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”.

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8 Responses to Nervous yet?

  1. Kilt/Skirt/Skort says:

    Good Luck – God Speed – and certainly “Break a Leg” LOL !
    Beware trailing runners drafting your SKIRT/SKORT !
    A navy watch hat (beanie) would be better if the weather is
    cold but not much otherwise. The bb cap would be great for
    any legs into the sun and if rain is in the forecast help with
    deflecting the precipitation away from the eyes.
    Again Best of Luck !

    • runnj says:

      Thanks. Yes, I’ve used the cap for sun and rain successfully. The only advantage to the beanie is that this one is very lightweight and can be scrunched up very small so I could take it off and shove it in a pocket if I decided to take it off.

  2. Shouldn’t your skirt match your pink socks? Seriously though, you’re going to do great and no reason to be nervous. If the 3:40 goal is your “speedy” goal, then I’d suggest going slightly over that pace over the first 13.1 and see where you’re at. You can then either negative split and hit or beat your early goal, coast the rest of the way, OR drift slower. Either way you’d be set up with options do any of the above. Go out too fast and the only result is usually to drift slower over the 2nd half and even slower over the last 6 miles. You sound like you have your priorities right though…have fun and we’ll be out there on the course cheering you on!

    • runnj says:

      May aim was to go out at the pace for 3:40 and hope to pick up some more time later. I’m possibly being conservative with 3:40 but it’s tough to tell. I’ve run faster than that over 20 miles in training but I have no idea what will happen after that so the pace for 3:40 seemed like a good compromise.

  3. NewHeart says:

    You are ready 🙂 Trust your training. Enjoy the run. I look forward to reading about your experience.

  4. dorseyml says:

    Have fun!! Don’t run to fast, you might miss some funny spectator signs. 😉

    • runnj says:

      I always miss everything in races. I did a race last year and every one said to keep an eye out for the fantastic view around mile 8. By that point I’d completely forgotten and missed what I was supposed to be looking at even though it was right in front of me (I saw it this year) – not sure, but it may have been foggy so I could blame that, or I could have just been looking down.

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