Hello from Portland! I just completed my RRCA coaching certification course, which overall I found really interesting and useful, even if some of the things we learned completely contradicted what I have been doing in my own training. It’s been two long days for sure, and my brain is a bit tired but I’m stoked for the race tomorrow, particularly after I picked up my race bib! I mean, it has my name on it and even has some purple too – and you know how I am about purple…

I also picked up a t-shirt that said, “Some girls chase boys. I pass ’em.” Amen! 🙂

I wanted to write a quick update on my goals for tomorrow, now that I’ve had a bit more time to consider what I believe I am able to (safely) accomplish and what just feels right for this race. We spent some time yesterday discussing goals – both in terms of outcome (race finish time and place) and performance (such as “finish strong”). In terms of outcome, the instructors advised setting several goals (which I always do) – the goal you trained for, your ultimate goal (if you have a great race day) and your best effort goal (given the conditions, injury etc.). I believe I can run my a 3:30-3:35 without a doubt – but not tomorrow. Given that my hip still is not 100% better (it’s still aching a bit) and I’m going into this marathon with some really large gaps in my training (of which this course made me hyper aware), I don’t feel comfortable attempting anywhere close to 3:35.

Equally, I haven’t exactly had a stellar running year so far in terms of outcome, due to mental burnout and injury. Thus, tomorrow I would rather set my sights on my still ambitious yet possibly achievable “ultimate” goal of 3:39, with a more realistic understanding that my body may not be up for that either. If that’s the case, I’ll take it down a notch. I would love to improve my time but I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment or risk further injury either. But if I start out aiming for 3:39 (which I think I’ll do) and I still feel strong at mile 20, then yeah you bet I’ll start pushing the pace! My best effort goal will still be around my Paris marathon time of 3:41, but given that my hip is acting a bit grumpy I might stretch that to 3:45. We shall see.

Being the outcome-focused runner that I am, I often set myself performance goals but only really care about my time. Tomorrow, my performance goal is to be PROUD of my race, regardless of the outcome. It’s also to rely more on myself, rather than the physical presence of my parents and friends (who have been and will be giving me their support in other ways). I know I will be giving it my all, so whatever happens out there with my hip or the weather or whatever else, I will know I did my best on that particular day and should feel good (emotionally, if not physically) when I cross the finish line!

And on that note, I will leave you with the one and only photo I have taken of Portland (right outside the Hilton, where my course took place – that’s how busy things have been). I just ate a massive bowl of pasta and now have to get my things together for race day. I’m feeling a bit uneasy and weird, but hopefully I can quickly finish what I have to do and have some time to relax before I go to bed. My alarm is set for 4am tomorrow morning – yippee!!!