The Philadelphia Marathon is in 2 days and since it looks like the show will go on this Sunday, I thought I would talk a little about what my marathon goals would be for this race.
This marathon will be my second marathon ever. I ran my first marathon back in 2006 and fulfilled my dream of running the New York City Marathon. It was something I dreamed of doing ever since I moved to NYC in 1997 and wasn't even a runner at that time. My mindset for running that marathon was that I just wanted to come in at 5 hours. Those who completed the marathon in 5 hours or less had their name and results listed in the New York Times the next day. To me, having my name in the paper meant so much to me. I completed that marathon in 4 hours 49 minutes and 27 seconds. Can you imagine how proud I was to come in 10 minutes faster that I had planned?
When I started my training this time around for my second NYC Marathon (which of course now I am running the Philadelphia Marathon), my heart was set on a PR or at least finishing in the same amount of time it took me six years earlier. While my training this year has been solid, and even improved from 2006, I realized about a month ago that PRing or even finishing in the same time was probably not going to happen for this marathon. I have been having little pains here and there along the way that contributed to this decision. Once I accepted it, I felt so much better because I took the pressure off myself. I realized that while my heart is the same now as it was then, my body is not the same. I had settled on having fun with this marathon and to finish in 5 hours and 15 minutes. I felt that was doable.
Now that the marathon I am running is the Philadelphia Marathon have my goals changed? Partly. This marathon course is a predominately flat course. There are a couple of spots with some hills, but I know I am well prepared for them since I completed all of my long runs on trails where there are major, steep hills. I have gotten stronger and faster during the past few weeks so knowing that I am running on an easier course gives me some hope of finishing faster than I had planned for NYC. I also think that having run the back half of this course during the ING Philly Half Marathon back in 2009, I know what to expect and will give me a little edge to finishing the marathon in a time I would like.
What are my goals? I have set 3 goals. Any of which I will be happy with because this 41 year old is thrilled to be actually running another marathon.
Goal A - Finish in 4 hours, 45 minutes or better (My original goal for NYC when I started training)
Goal B - Finish in 4 hours, 49 minutes and 27 seconds
Goal C - Finish in 5 hours or no later than 5 hours, 15 minutes
I think with the flatter race course now, there is a possibility of setting a PR. While I am not going to kill myself or hurt myself to get there, I am setting my sights on it. I believe if I enter Sunday with a solid plan in regards to my pacing, I could achieve this goal. If I don't, I won't be upset because I am just excited to be able to still run a marathon this year.
I will also be channeling some positive motivation from this speedy lady who just ran the Harrisburg Marathon this past Sunday and not only came in first place, but also PR'd with a Sub 3 hour marathon!!!!