My next personal race is Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN (touted as being the 13th largest marathon in the U.S.), coming up in just 2 weeks. After posting my first DNF at this race last year, falling out at between miles 22-23 from cramps and a weak heartbeat, I am definitely feeling some anxiety; despite having completed 2 marathons since that time - one of which was the very challenging 2011 Nike Women's Marathon through the hilly streets of San Francisco. Grandma's is a flat, fast course. Both Kara Goucher and Abdi Abdirahman are participating in the Half marathon (officially titled The Gary Bjorklund Half) as this race is also where the USA Half Marathon Championships are taking place this year (click here to read the press release). I hope we catch a glimpse of them, but with the Half and Full marathoners starting in different locations at different times, our chances are pretty slim. It will be fun for me to know that I'll be running those final 13.1 miles on the same course that the Half Marathon Championship racers ran on earlier in the day though! Hubby and I can't wait to get out to MN since we'll be spending that time with our BFFs who live there - and also run. :-)
I'm doing my best to work with my race anxiety. I visualize myself being completely relaxed, not going for a PR but with a goal to finish, as crossing the finish line this year will be such a significant mental victory. Another way I'm dealing with feelings of internal pressure and anxiety is to remember that this race is just a training run for me (I'm running my first Ultra on Aug 4th). I'll be running most if at my LSD pace, picking it up in the end, only if I'm feeling extremely strong around mile 22. I typically struggle emotionally between 22-23, and this is the time where the coach in my head is the loudest, pushing me to keep going; reminding me how strong I am. I had a 24-miler scheduled for last weekend, but I was having motivation issues (likely fueled by my race anxiety and jet lag after spending 3 days in OH late in the week for work - which meant a 3 hour time difference for me). With just 2 weeks to go, tomorrow is the day - then I can go into my taper, relax and have fun with my Galloway club!
In other fun news, I recently attended a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) coaching certification course in Vegas. We had 30 days to take the online exam after we returned home. I admittedly delayed taking the exam after hearing about several class members who were failing with scores below 70%. I studied and studied, reading the course book again, the supplemental material, practicing use of the pace charts, etc. The RRCA has a little higher standard for passing the exam with a minimum score of 80%. I'm so very excited to announce that I passed on my first try! My last step is to complete a First Aid/CPR course (hubby and I are signed up for a class tomorrow). Once I submit the cards, I'll receive my official certification in the mail and I'm ready for business! I am definitely ready to coach non-run/walkers. I understand that the run/walk method is not for everyone. With both my education and experience, the transition to being an "all running" coach seems natural. I will not however, for ethical reasons, be individually training Galloway members on the side if they are currently enrolled in that program. These training methods are completely different and I stand behind both Jeff's training methodology and that of my own, based on the RRCA guidelines. Different styles, different types of runners.... I'm excited to start this new chapter in my running career!
I've been reading Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons by Byron Powell. What an amazing resource this highly recommended book is. I'll be posting a review of it, hopefully before the ET 51K race in August. I know that finishing this race is going to give me an even greater boost of confidence - and I'm going to need it with my first Goofy's Challenge coming up in January 2013.
I think that about covers my running life for the past month or so!