IMPORTANT UPDATE: DUE TO A ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECT, THE COURSE FOR THE 2013 TUCSON MARATHON EVENTS CHANGED FROM MILE 21 (mile 8 for the Half) TO THE FINISH LINE. THE COURSE HAS BEEN RE-CERTIFIED (#AZ13017JOE) AND IS A BOSTON QUALIFIER. THE NEW SECTION OF THE COURSE HAS A DECENT HILL AT MILE 22.7, WITH SOME ROLLERS AFTER THAT TO THE FINISH LINE.
The words IMPORTANT UPDATE in all caps along the top of the Tucson Marathon website was not the welcome I was seeking or expecting when I opened the page to prepare for this weekend’s race. A “decent” hill?!? At mile 22?? Followed by ROLLERS??!!??? You have GOT to be kidding me!!! To say that this message messed with my head is putting it mildly.
Lovely. I have been mentally preparing for the course I ran 2 years ago. The course that gradually declines at a 2% grade for the last half of the marathon. I knew that course had a slight uphill around mile 24 or so, but I was mentally preparing for it and really, it’s not any worse than that slight bump heading into the finish at the Chicago Marathon. But a decent hill near mile 23? And rollers? I admit, it’s enough to knock me off my game plan.
Reality is that we have a nice and steady downhill until that new decent hill. I know there are some good rollers between miles 10 and 13 (it’s where I crapped out 2 years ago after taking them too fast), so mentally, I’ve been preparing to run through those. And then mentally preparing for the nice downhill to coast me to the finish. Nice downhill, I know, it’s an oxymoron. The downhill is going to be challenging as well. The difference is, I’ve been preparing for that.
The upside is that I realized this (not so) nice and (not so) little course change today, rather than when I show up at the expo just days before the race. I have some time to wrap my head around this and to figure out a new race strategy. We should still be able to make up plenty of time in the beginning so that I can slow the pace up hill and not exhaust myself in the middle of the race (again… my mistake before…) and not want to puke at mile 23 or worse, cry. The other good news is that the weather should be just about ideal on race day… if you can trust weather forecasters this far out, which I know you can’t, having been a former weather forecaster (yes, I was absolutely horrible and quickly moved up to the news desk). But, seeing as how it’s Tucson, I’m willing to hedge a bet the forecast will be more accurate than the forecast in the midwest this time of year.
I’ve given Josh fair warning that when we get to that hill, he’s going to have to pull out all the stops and be my own personal “Jillian Michael.” As long as he doesn’t make me laugh in the process :). He was practicing during hill repeats one morning and yelled at me, right as we started to sprint up the hill “come on! Don’t be a @ussy!” I absolutely lost it! It was so unexpected and out of character and hilarious! I actually have no doubt that he’ll be able to pull me up all the hills and get me to the finish.
The truth is, I’ve trained smarter for this marathon. I’ve run longer pace runs. I’ve run hill repeats. I’ve hated the hill repeats, but I was determined to work through them. Which, makes me well, determined. For lack of a better word and lack of originality… once again, it’s no coincidence this quote showed up in my inbox this morning, inspiration for me to take to heart: