Yikes. Here is some incontrovertible evidence that I undertrained. Based on the time I predicted for myself months ago, I was assigned to Corral F, which is for people planning to finish the race in under 4 hours. It is the first group to start after the “First Wave” of elite and seeded runners.
Last year I barely finished under 5 hours. Granted, I can maybe deduct 10-15 minutes from that time due to some logistical and newbie snafus. But improving from an 11min/mile marathon pace to under 9:12 would have required incredibly disciplined training (and eating) all year long.
Why did I even begin to think I could reach that goal pace?? It might have been on the heels of this January’s Polar Dash when, for the first time, I “left it all on the line” and finally reached my goal of finishing a 10K in less than an hour. My pace was 9:25. I must have thought I could and would spend the next 10 months bettering and stretching that pace to marathon distance. I now remember harboring a little wish to qualify for Boston (3:45 hours for my age group). Now I will just be happy to take no longer than I did last year.
So tomorrow (today), to let all the more disciplined athletes flow by, I will shrink far to the right and soak in their inspiration. I will be wearing bright red lipstick, something I have done since I was a kid to break through writer’s–or work in general–block. If I plan to earn my way into Corral F next year, I better stock up.