I'll start this short post of by declaring this.... I'm so excited about this that I'm beaming right now! It's partly because of the experience I had in 2014, partly because I love the city and partly because I get to catch up with friends whilst I'm there. All contributing to the finer things in life!
As I've written about in the past my goals for this race have changed since I got my place in the Western States Endurance Run. I had planned to take a pop at a sub 3 hr time for this - that's certainly what I registered as - but I knew I had to back off the speed work over the winter months and concentrate on developing an endurance base instead so now I'm 'just' going to take a pop at setting a new Personal Best.
Back in 2014 I astonished myself by setting a new PB of 3:17. Astonished because I had no idea that I could feel that good and run that 'quickly' as at the time my training didn't suggest I could maintain that kind of pace. This time round, whilst I've concentrated on endurance, I have thrown in a couple of harder runs taking my 5k, 10k and Half Marathon PB's, screwing them up and setting fire to them. I've been getting quicker and quicker since the start of the year which is bloody marvellous and shows that consistency is absolutely key when you're looking to make improvements.
I'm pleased, really pleased, with how I'm feeling physically and I'm targetting a time of 3:10. The course is fairly hilly for a road marathon (it's over 2,000ft ascent for the course) although I don't remember that being particularly challenging a couple of years ago so I think it's doable. Online calculators based on my recent half marathon time suggest a time of 3:12 so it could be tight but I'll see how the legs move come Sunday and I'm keeing my fingers crossed for mildish weather!
I admit that I have a couple of doubts in my mind that I'm battling with.
Firstly, as things have gone so well I have started EXPECTING that I'm going to hit my goal. For whatever reason this makes me nervous and the pressure I've put on my shoulders is playing heavily on my mind. This could lead to a little bit of tension in my body that effects subtle things like running style and plays havoc with running efficiency.
Secondly, I've not run more than 22 miles since August last year and it would've been nice to have gone a little further, if only to give myself a bit of a confidence boost that I can still run that distance. As ever I'll try to get my mindset right when I start nearing that distance and keep in mind that the finishing line, and a few celebratory beers, are just around the corner by then.
After this it's straight back into WSER training and the next period of training is going to be focussed on hill work (the downs), core strengthening and power hiking with a weighted vest. I've been hitting my target weekly mileage of 70 quite comfortable - I do 3 weeks 'work' then a week 'off' - but may drop this a touch to take into account the increased strength work I'll be doing. It should be an interesting few months!
Post Barca Marathon blog inevitably to come next week but until then I wish you all fantastic weeks & weekends :-)