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October 23, 2012 / fionarwbl

Embrace The Pain

I have a tough target for the NYC Marathon. I might as well put it out there, even if it bites me in the ass. I really want to run a 3:45. This is a stretch goal. I also want to beat 4hrs. To put this in perspective, my current, and only, marathon PR is 4:12:xx which was set on NYC last year.

The Mcmillan pace calculator says I can do this, just about. My adjusted Smart Coach training plan does the same thing. My mind and body are not so sure.

The only thing in the way of this goal is me.

Here’s the thing: in order to achieve this goal, it’s going to hurt. A lot. I’m going to have to get comfortable with the hurt, and carrying the hurt with me for many miles. NYC might not be fun at all. It might be 13 miles of fun, and 13 miles of pain. Or less fun miles and more pain miles. You get where I’m going with this.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be special. If it was easy, I wouldn’t want it.

This week I’m coming to terms with the fact that my race report will probably not be “and at mile 20 I felt so strong, and I was so happy”. I’m coming to terms with the fact that for most of this marathon, I’m probably going to want to be over, or quit running, or cry, or throw-up, or all at the same time. But I’m going to be working. And that’s awesome.

But that’s not how I’m going to feel at the end. (Apart from may the crying and the throwing up. TMI? Maybe.) At the end, I want to feel proud of how strong I am, and proud of how much I put into it, and proud of how I didn’t back down when it stopped being easy.

I went onto Pinterest looking for an inspirational quote. And then I saw this.

That’s what I visualized on my mile repeats on Saturday, and that’s how I scored a sweet average of 7:14 for 3x1m repeats into a headwind on Saturday. And I saw a paddleboarder and got immensely jealous and nearly bought one without considering the storage implications.

Does anyone else come to terms with a race not being fun, but work?



Leave a Comment
  1. Dori / Oct 23 2012 2:08 pm

    That is exactly the attitude I had about my 10Ks earlier this year. Hard work, not fun, feel happy when it’s over. I can’t imagine sustaining that for an entire marathon though. But I KNOW you can do it, you are such a strong and talented runner. I’m excited for you!

    • fionarwbl / Oct 23 2012 3:21 pm

      Thank you!!!!! I think that I’ll have fun during the first half when I should feel strong (I hope!), and then it’s dig deep time 🙂

  2. Mandi / Oct 23 2012 2:25 pm

    Way to go for being brave and putting those goal times out into the world! This year I’ve been all about learning not to let my mind underestimate what my body has been training hard to accomplish on race day — even when my goal pace is scary and even when I have no idea how I’m going to sustain it through the whole race, Doesn’t mean it’s going to be pretty or fun, but you’ll surely enjoy yourself afterwards! So, go girl — you can do it!

  3. runeattravel84 / Oct 24 2012 3:21 am

    Half the battle (if not more) is mental. At least, that’s my opinion.
    You got this 🙂

  4. JenJ / Oct 24 2012 12:32 pm

    Yes, I can totally sympathize!!! Finishing my half marathon last weekend, I made my hubby promise me to dissuade me from EVER signing up for a full marathon. Today, I’m about to do it (thougth I won’t tell him just yet!). Yes, race day is hard work but that’s because you’re racing, you’re not just going for another LSR! I imagine it to be a bit like childbirth! 😉 But once you’re done and you’re over how hard and painful it was you remember the awesome journey that got you there. And you sign up for yet another mad adventure! Good luck for this weekend. I’m sure you’ll rock it. 🙂

  5. Jess / Oct 24 2012 5:28 pm

    Weird, my comment didn’t post yesterday. I am in the same boat as you! I just finished Steamtown in Scranton in 3:55 and all my running pals ran in the 3:40’s. I am sure it’s because I just ran comfortably and smiled til the end. I need to start running where it hurts, and then make that pace not hurt anymore. New goal: 3:45 in Newport Oregon.

    • fionarwbl / Oct 24 2012 7:59 pm

      Love that goal! And don’t get me wrong – it’s awesome to have a fun race and smile the whole way through. I’ll be doing that at Big Sur this April (bc I’m sure as hell not racing those hills!), but this time it’s all about the grit

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