How Far Can I Go?

20140804-085409-32049430.jpgSo I did something this weekend I have never done before:

I ran 15 miles.

The Saturday long run officially had the group doing 12 miles, an out and back to Gravelly Point near National Airport. With a 1.5 miles to the store, my warm-up was done before the 7 AM start. By the time we finished shortly after 9 AM, I still had some energy left in me and decided why not go for the PR and take my cool down in stride, literally.

So I did it.

Before 930 AM on Saturday I had completed 15 miles. And I felt great.

Unlike the previous weekend‘s less than stellar SLR, this week I ventured out ready to redeem myself. It didn’t matter that I may have one too many glasses of wine on Friday evening or spooned Ben and Jerry’s straight from the carton at 930 PM; I still woke up to my alarm at 6:25 AM and powered through the morning’s run.

20140804-085408-32048762.jpgThroughout the miles, I averaged a 8:40 min/mi. pace. With each each passing week of training I have started to wonder whether I should reassess my time goal for the marathon. My main goal is to simply finish the race, but I would love to complete it in four hours. However, based on my long run paces, the possibility for a faster finish seems to exist.

Long runs are to be done at a pace 60-90 seconds slower than race pace. Even when factoring in the strong sun and humidity, which will hopefully be nonexistent come October 26th, my SLR pace is still faster than the average pace to complete a four-hour marathon, 9.10 min/mi. Am I setting the bar too low for myself?

I hesitate to adjust my time goals, admittedly out of fear of failing. If I aim to finish faster, say a 3:30 marathon, and fail, I will be disappointed. It may sound silly when considering that no matter what time I finish, completing a marathon is an accomplishment in itself, but the time goal is a personal challenge. How far, how fast can I push myself?

At the moment, I have a hard time answering that question. With ten weeks left in training, the miles continue to increase, therefore making PRs a weekly occurrence. While I felt great after 15 miles, I cannot deny the fatigue and hunger that came quickly after. Only time will tell how my body adapts and feels after a morning running 18 or 20 miles.

In the meantime, I spent the rest of Saturday enjoying my runner’s high and rewarding myself accordingly. Scoops of strawberry and pistachio liquid nitrogen-made ice cream from Nice Ice Cream in Clarendon was the perfect way to celebrate a Saturday of personal bests. If only my runner’s high could carry me through this week as the countdown to vacation begins.

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3 thoughts on “How Far Can I Go?

  1. Pingback: My Personal Competition | BET(H)ANY MILES

  2. congrats on the PDR! I’m sure you can break 4 hours, but I think just finishing is always a good goal, whether it’s your first or fifth marathon. you never know what can happen on race day!

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