On Sunday, May 5th, I participated in the 2013 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. This was my second Pittsburgh marathon, after running the 2012 race, and my sixth marathon distance overall. Last year, I finished in 5:47:20, my slowest marathon time (excluding my 26.2 mile time during my ultra).
I spent eighteen weeks training and preparing for this marathon. My training plan accounted for a 4:30 marathon, so that was my goal. Very aggressive, seeing as my PR was 5:43 on a totally flat course. However, as training went on, I nailed the distance, speed work, and race-pace runs, so I figured that meant this thing was doable. In theory.
I spent much of the second half of those eighteen weeks completely consumed with stress. I obsessed over the marathon, my time goal, the course, becoming injured. This all came to a head the Sunday before the race, when I began laying out the gear I would need for race weekend. One would think that it would have calmed my nerves, but it seemed to do the opposite. I barely slept that night.
Then, the week before, I spent a lot of time without feeling any sort of pre-race anxiety, which, to some might be ideal, but to me was extremely alarming. Did I just not care anymore? Was it simply taper madness? Who knows. All I knew was that thinking “I’m not running a marathon today” is really bad BECAUSE ACTUALLY YOU HAVE TO RUN A MARATHON TODAY. It made me think something bad was going to happen.