It’s race week, and it started off with an incident-free Boston Marathon.  I wasn’t upset not to be there, but of course it brings up all the ghosts of last year’s attempt to qualify, which ended with an ambulance ride to the finish line.  I sure don’t want to do that again.

I’m still fine-tuning my strategy.  I will not be shooting for a Boston-qualifying time, despite the fact that all the pace calculators say I have it in me.  (If I’m completely honest, though, I do dream about a miracle that floats me through the 26.2 miles effortlessly in less than 4 hours.  I really didn’t expect this… I’d like to thank my Coach…)  Realistically, I think I’ll start off in my friend’s 4:25 pace group and force myself to take the first few miles closer to my training pace.  I’m comfortable there, and I’m pretty sure I can manage at that speed, barring some awful calamity.  If I get a burst of energy, I can always change the plan and go faster.  I sure hope I don’t have to go slower.  But how fast and at what time do I make the shift if there is to be one?  
My first goal is to finish in one piece.  My second is to do it as quickly as possible.  I want to push enough to feel proud of myself, but not enough to hate it.  
The precision is valuable when trying to prepare my head for the race.  It takes the stress out of making decisions on the fly.  But listening to my body, I’ve found, is a less stressful way to run.  And wanting something – shooting for a goal – is the passionate fire that fuels my tired body along the way.
And that is why I remain fascinated with this long-distance running thing.  It requires the teamwork of my body, mind and spirit.  When they all fight against each other, or when I ignore one for the sake of the others, it doesn’t work.  The magic is in the trinity.  
I am looking forward to this one.  It’s been a tough training year, and I’m ready to see what I can do.  Breaking 4:30 will make me happy.  I think.

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