I am going to be precocious and write what I truly believe will happen in Philadelphia. If my predictions are entirely wrong, let's be honest, it won't be that big of a deal that I keyed them out to share with anyone who happens to peruse this blog.
I did not train as obsessively and diligently for Philadelphia as I did for Lake Placid. Every other stride in Lake Placid was a physical display of gratitude for the gift of running and movement and life. I was like a kid on Christmas morning- in awe that it had finally arrived. I knew that taking on this race as a first marathon was bold and lofty so every bit of me was rising to the occasion to do as well as I could as safely as I could do it. Lake Placid did not have clocks on the marathon course. I did not wear my Garmin and never looked at the time on my phone until I stopped to use a porta-john at some point well past mile fifteen. I believe for this course, there was great wisdom in the ignorance imposed upon me (both self-imposed and due to the fact that the course had no clocks) regarding time and pace. I just ran and gave my best. I crossed the finish just a little later than my "wow that would be awesome" time and realized that I could've nailed 4:30's had I not been so overly cautious. Woot.
I'm taking in the fact that I'm going to run 26.2 again. I want this distance to become a normal distance for me. I don't need to run it every 3 days or anything like that, but I want the intensive life-consuming training/diet/hydrating madness to subside. Remember when 5k's were a big challenge? I used to carbo-load for 5ks. I used to freak out a bit over 13.1. Now I can run that distance any time I want. So why not 26.2????
Philadelphia will be my dress rehearsal for making 26.2 a normal distance in my running repertoire. I don't need to finish impressively fast- although I have high expectations of beating my Lake Placid time. What will truly be a victory for me is if I can go to work on Monday morning and treat the day with business as usual. No low sodium mental delays. No fine motor skill problems. No balance issues. No random bouts of spotty blurred vision. None of this happened following Lake Placid, this all happened after my 2nd marathon in Pennypack Park in Philadelphia. Yeah I know it was dumb to do another marathon 2 weeks later especially as an inexperienced marathoner. And I know it was extra dumb to do it in June on an 85 degree high humidity day. And I know it was mega ultra dumb to ignore the fact that the race registration stated clearly that this course was not for newbees.
I'm wiser and a few months older and incredibly humbled by my 2nd marathon. So bring it on, Philadelphia. I was in an ambulance shortly after I crossed the finish line the last time I graced this city with my presence. Nowhere to go but up, right?