In a few days, I’ll attempt to qualify for Boston at the Eugene Marathon. I don’t feel nervous yet, but my subconscious tells me otherwise. Last night, I dreamed that I decided to run a half marathon two hours before the marathon to warm up. The night before, I dreamed that at mile 20, I took a wrong turn and ended up in an amusement park, in a funhouse with way too many weird mirrors that I couldn’t find my way out of. Tonight, I'd love to dream about running into Hayward Field strong, which is what I'm visualizing each night, although it doesn’t seem to be sinking in!
In 2013, I got a BQ in Eugene and ran Boston in 2014, which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life; however, I ran it with health issues and inadequate training. (I wrote about my struggles here for Runner's World.) I managed to shuffle my way to the finish line, but the brutal course ate me up. I've wanted to go back and try again ever since. In December 2015, I attempted to BQ at CIM (California International Marathon), but missed it by a few minutes after going out too fast and hitting the wall hard at mile 20. Lesson learned. You can't bank time in a marathon. I've promised myself that this time, I won't bolt out of the corral or push the pace too soon.
The debate I’m having today is whether to wear my watch for the race (you would think I’d have this stuff figured out by now). When I ran my marathon PR, I ran by feel—no watch—but only because my watch died that morning, which turned out to be a good thing. If I’d known the pace I was running, I might have doubted I could maintain it.
I’ve created a playlist for the drive down to Eugene (I don’t listen to music while running). Lots of favorite artists: Ryan Adams, Neko Case, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, The Jayhawks, Liz Phair and always, some AC/DC. No matter how the race turns out, I’m planning to rock this weekend with thousands of other crazy runners, including many from the Hood. The marathon is the party—it punctuates all your hard training through rain, snow, wind, niggling aches and pains or whatever shows up when you push yourself hard. It's time to do this thing...