Dr. Owen Anderson has observed, "It's strange, isn't it? The marathon is clearly the least-forgiving of all popular race distances, and yet runners probably make more mistakes preparing for this event than they do for all other competitions combined."
Yep. I resemble that statement. Preparing for 26.2 miles is a daunting challenge. Often we will do foolish things--desperate to gain some sort of an advantage. Sort of like a "get-rich-quick-scheme" for the body. So, we over-train. We introduce strange substances into our bodies. We radically alter our routine. We change our sleep patterns. We try gimmicky new gear. We panic. We lose focus. We forget our strategies.
Last year, I thought I was doing great in preparing for the Country Music Marathon. I did everything by the book right up to race day. On race morning, I had some queasy stomach issues, but nothing debilitating. The race began and I was doing fabulously. I kept right to my pace all the way through mile 11. But, I felt so great, had so much energy, and was so pumped up that I decided to discard my race strategy and just go for it. I started doing really fast mile splits. Really fast. Like, two minutes a mile faster than my planned pace.
Of course, I hit the wall. Slammed into it. Right at mile 21, my body shut down.
Until then, I was well on my way to a Boston qualifying run. But, after that, I was barely able to crawl across the finish line. My foolish beginner's mistake probably cost me a trip to Boston.
I won't make that mistake again. Of course, I'll probably make some other mistake. But then, that's life in this poor fallen world. For the moment though, I am back to doing everything by the book.