As many runners can attest, the week preceding a marathon is a time of both nervousness and excitement. I am paranoid that I will slip and fall on the ice. Every little ache and pain that I experience, I automatically worry if it will still be bugging me during the race. I worry if I am over-doing the training during this week. Or if I am not running enough.
Many people have wished me "good luck" on this race and in others in the past. My initial thought is that running isn't a matter of luck. It's a matter of physical fitness and mental power. While running is not a matter of luck, racing actually is—to some extent. There are many aspects of a race that have to do with luck, or that are beyond the runner's control.
Here are my thoughts on what can and cannot be controlled in a race (particularly a marathon) and what the "unknown" factors are.
Within the runner's control:
- Adherence to a training program, just "training" in general
- How the runner paces him/herself during the race
- What the runner eats and drinks before, during and after the race
- The clothing/layers/running gear the runner wears
- The runner's mindset and attitude during the race
Outside the runner's control:
- The weather - An injury, soreness or illness(unless the runner brought it on him/herself by over-training)
- Potential accidents during the race
- The availability of Porta-potties at the start of the race and on the course
- The water and fuel stations—this can be known, but not controlled
- Travel delays or lost luggage if flying
- The number of people running the race, potentially causing bottlenecks
- Technology failures, such as the chip not working, the iPod malfunctioning or the watch stopping
I have decided to take a vacation from my lap top, so the post-race blog will have to wait until Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday will be spent relaxing on South Beach. I will, however, use the lobby computer to post a brief bulletin upon finishing. So. . . wish me "luck" on Sunday!