I registered for Chicago on Friday. It's real. 6 weeks. To do what seems impossible. To finish what I set out to do and achieve.
I knew I needed to give myself some space before deciding. If there's one thing about me, goals need to be MY idea. If someone wants something for me, I'll turn the other way and work LESS. I'm not sure why. But, if something is my idea and I'm doing it just for ME, to prove to myself I CAN, then I am beyond motivated. #personalityflaws So, first and foremost, I had to explore my motivations for doing this, if there was external expectations that were weighing on me, etc.
As I was further mulling the choice in my head, there were several things I realized. Since Chicago and Choice both started with a C, I kept with that theme. Lame, I know. But you're still here, so I'll take the opportunity to be cliche.
C is for Chance- I have to give myself the chance. If not now, when? When do you ever feel ready? Yeah, I'm 10-20 seconds off of where I know I need to be on race day. But that's 6 weeks from now and I know paces come down in those 6 weeks. By 20 seconds? It's a lot, but it's not insurmountable. Would NYC and the additional 3 weeks offer me a better shot at the standard? Should I switch to CIM? I knew I was wasting way too much mental energy on the decision. Just do it. You can't make or not make it if you don't give yourself the chance.
The original goal was to do Chicago, chase the standard (get the standard!), then run NYC as an all-out-have-nothing-to-lose, see if I could finish top 10 American, and then look at taking a short break (to see if I could be blessed with a little someone to bring with me to the '16 Trials! Yikes, I said it!). If not Chicago, then, what is the plan?
C is for Cowardly/Courage- That special place of mind where you're attempting something extraordinarily special, important, and difficult, but are brave to stare it in the face. I'm not there mentally, but know I can get there. I can't be a coward about this! I run professionally, it's my job to be confident and have courage. None of this wishy-washy garbage! :)
(Also borrowing this from Lauren Fleshman... I may adopt a C as my battle cry pre-workout and pre-race :) http://asklaurenfleshman.com/2012/06/the-evolution-of-a-dream/)
Plus, if you put two C's together, it looks like a heart. (Have you stopped reading yet?)
C is for Charge- Charging through each workout. Not being afraid of hurting. Since being sick I haven't come back with the same gusto around hard workouts. A lot of times I've pushed 98%. But I need 100%. I need to change the way I'm looking at workouts.
This mental switch usually happens around this time... about the time I'm run down, tired, mentally a little drained, and still see mileage from here until next year, all of a sudden I realize there are less than 10 hard workouts left. Take charge, charge ahead through workouts digging for every last second. I want this! I can!
C is for the Crew and the Cow- I have been blessed with THE most incredible support team. I won't even try to name everyone - but everyone that believes in me, has helped pace hundreds of crazy workouts, has written me through email or the blog, the sponsors that are behind me - all making this dream a reality for me. I would be doing them a huge disservice by continuing to think I wasn't ready, wasn't fast enough, etc.
There was a pretty cool conversation on Facebook the other day, talking about cheering and the loneliness (relative to the rest of the course) of miles 21-25. Jessica, my sister in law, cheers for some races in a cow suit (really, it's pretty awesome). Mesa recently was gifted her own cow suit as well, so someone suggested we make miles 21-25 Nichole's pasture. Hahaha! Filled with cows (well, maybe, Mesa isn't coming with and I'm not sure if Jess will want to parade around Chicago in her total body suit...) and the best "Team Nichole" crew I could ask for!
|She is so excited. And I can't believe I have a dog that I own jackets, booties, and now... a cow costume for! Who am I turning into?!?|
|Jess in full cheer gear!|
With all of that, I hit the registration button. Givin' myself a chance :) 6 weeks. Game on.
Now, I have a ton of mental prep to work. I'll work on fully believing, irrationally believing in a way, that I can and I will. This is such an important piece of the marathon and trying to hit any specific time goal, and I know I'm not there yet (but will be!). No doubt, I'll be soliciting the help of Dr. Asp once again, as he can always help simplify things and look at things differently. It will help to also start looking at race details: race course videos, course profiles, combing through logistics, rules (can I be handed bottles or gel on the course? I won't have elite fluids for the first time in a long time... gasp!).
Oh, because I know you're thinking I've forgotten, but I HAVEN'T (how could I??!?). C is for Cookie I look forward to the countless number I am going to live off of post-qualifying! :) (and other assorted desserts and greasy foods!)