Swim: 0 m/112,725 m
Bike: 0/1,277.9 miles
Run: 5/586.1 miles
My last pre-race run is done – the next time I’ll lace up my Kinvaras will be tomorrow morning before the light of dawn as I try to shake off the cobwebs of a fitful night’s sleep and click through my morning pre-race routine.
There’s a lot on my mind as I think through my race strategy – figuring out my opening pace; shifting my mind to attack mode when I crest the course’s last major hill just after Mile 7; how I envision feeling at Mile 10, 11, 12 as I fight to keep up a strong pace.
It all boils down to three words – Go For It. This isn’t a marathon, where I would have to worry about hitting the wall at Mile 20. It’s only 13.1 miles, and the great thing about my training plan this year is that I’ve run that distance or farther on several occasions. I’m ready for this. My race plan is not that different from my 5k approach – start fast and hang on – though the speed will be scaled back to match the longer distance. I’m in the first wave of runners and at the start I plan to position myself near the front, several rows back. I actually want to be carried away in the opening rush – I don’t want to reach the first mile and realize I’ve started too conservatively. I’d rather go out at 6:45 and tone it down for the next mile than get to the first mile and see 7:30 on the clock.
This may sound like a lot of big talk, and it might be. But aside from the confidence – justified or not – that I’m bringing to this race, I’m also bringing the confidence of other people. Not their confidence in me, specifically, but their general attitudes of fearlessness. One of the best things I did when I started my dedicated triathlon training this year was join Daily Mile, and through the site I’ve come across some truly inspirational people. People who set tough goals for themselves and don’t seem to understand why they wouldn’t be able to meet them. They don’t know failure. Not that they don’t fall short of their goals occasionally, but when they do fall short they brush themselves off and use the shortcomings to learn lessons and improve in their next attempt at the prize.
These are the people who walk the walk, who put in the ridiculous workouts and show up each day with the dedication to follow the plan, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient, because that accomplishment at the end of the road is more valuable than comfort in the present. These are the people who go for it, and I want to be like them. I don’t want to hold back tomorrow – I want to leave it all on the course.
One of these guys wrote me a note about my race this weekend, and it hit me hard. Through his words and his example – he’s a crazy-fast runner and a smart racer – I’ve come to the realization that this weekend’s only goal is “Go For It.” Here’s a snippet of his note:
“Take heart knowing that you can push hard during the half and you can hang on Jeremy – you’ll never run out of fuel or glycogen stores like you would in the marathon – it’s a matter of getting on race pace in the half and keep opening up that faucet a little more each mile and pour your heart into the race. The last 3 miles will hurt a little if you are pushing, but you’ve got this. Just stay focused and tick the miles down.”
He’s right. I have to have faith in my training and in the physical reality that I’m prepared for this, even when it starts feeling tough. I think back to the double-digit long runs this cycle where my pace has descended throughout the entire run (the last two miles of my 15-miler were the fastest, at a 6:45 pace) and I know that I’m capable of fast miles even later in a run. I know I can do it.
Whatever happens tomorrow morning, I need to know that I gave it all that I could. There can be no regrets. It’s time to Go For It.