How much isn’t enough?

On Sunday I’m running the Vancouver Marathon. This will be my 5th marathon in 30 months, and the third time in Vancouver. I had promised myself that this Spring I would run in a different city, but then the good people in Vancouver changed the course, and peeked my interest for another year.

With just 2 days to go now, I am of course excited about running – actually, I can’t wait. It’s funny – even though I have a measure of experience now, I still feel like I imagine the kids do the night before going to Disneyland.

I’m also curious to see how it will go for me this time out. Of course there are many variables to consider, not least of which is the weather. Will it be hot/cold, wet/dry, windy or calm? The forecast is actually for some sun, and reasonable temp (c. 60F, although no doubt much cooler at 8:00am).

What I am most curious about though is how I’m going to perform. Last year I ran a 3:54 in Vancouver and followed that (and surprised myself) with a 3:30 in Victoria in the fall. Truth is my training this time around has been very patchy. Injury impacted me at the beginning of the cycle, and more recently I lost the best part of a week to a cold.

So, and back to my original question – how much isn’t enough? Have I got enough in my legs, and enough accumulated experience in my head, to get round the course in a reasonable time, or am I going to be found out, and come the 20 mile mark be cursing my lack of preparedness? I feel OK – but I feel like I’m 2 or 3 weeks short training wise. I feel like things are just coming together, that my form is good, but that I could have used another 60 – 70 miles under my belt.

In some respects it doesn’t matter. My first goal is always just to be able to have fun, enjoy the day and cross the finish line. Time is somewhat secondary, although I become more competitive with myself with each race.

My prediction? There is no hiding place on a marathon course, and no substitute for preparation. It is hard to fake it out there, and I will be ecstatic if I can hit anything around the 3:45 mark.

Stay tuned!

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