I wonder if the nervous jitters will ever not be there as race weekend approaches. Even though I've done 7 marathons or longer I still come into each one with a measure of doubt, completely unfounded at this point, but I still wonder the "what if". Something tells me that this will happen before every marathon and ultramarathon I enter. And it isn't altogether bad, I must say. This feeling does in fact make me think more about the race and how I want to execute it, what I should do to make sure I eat and drink enough, so for that I am glad of those feelings.
Napa this time of year should be great. Mustard flowers should be in full bloom giving a bright and wonderful yellow sea to either side of us as we run down the center of the valley from Calistoga to Napa. The valley was beautiful the couple of times I've been there to wine taste, and I know I will be able to see so much more running through it. I think the excitement is actually bubbling over and quelling the nervous jitters.
This marathon is in fact one of my two destination marathons of the year. I don't travel much yet for marathons (something I hope to remedy sometime in the near future), along with the Cowtown Marathon in Sacramento in October. In fact Napa was the first marathon I put on my calendar for this year, the first one I started planning for. So I am ready. I've ran a ton more than I have for other preparations, especially comparing with where I was at this time last year.
The last road marathon I did was in November and I ran a conservative and relatively slow pace in the beginning at about 10 minutes a mile. My calves tightened up again from loss of electrolytes, but I was able to keep that at bay by taking electrolytes and eating Shot Bloks starting about the half way point.
So the plan this time is to drink water at every aid station except the first one at mile 2. Then starting with the second aid station I will drink water and take electrolyte pills, as well as eat Shot Bloks, at every other aid station. So if all goes as planned I'm gonna rotate each aid station from water to water/pills/bloks.
That is the plan. Run at around an 8:30-9 minute pace. After the first 6 miles the remainder of the marathon will be a net descent, so that should help as well. What won't help is that the temp at the start will be around 30 degrees and by the time I finish it will probably be mid to high 60s, probably low 70s. Goal time? I'll be happy with anything under 4:30, but I want to shoot for 4:15.
Should be interesting and I am so looking forward to this run.