Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

The Plan

I’ve run a total of 9 or 10 marathons at this point (does it say something that I don’t remember the actual number?).

The last time I legitimately had fun during a marathon was four years ago this week – my second one.

My first marathon, a year and a half earlier, was in Anchorage, Alaska with a group of wonderful women, where we’d traveled the roads and trails together to a 5:06-ish finish (because when you go to your first Team in Training practice with no sense of how to run and spot a group of girls roughly your age, you run with whatever pace group they’re running with – and you have a blast).

I lined up for my second marathon the following February in New Orleans with eyes on a 4:30 but managed to sprain my knee on the broken post-Katrina pavement at Mile 11, and limped to the half-marathon finish.

Then came Philly in 2007.

I went into that race with no expectations.  I had been dealing with IT band issues during the entire training cycle and hadn’t made it through a 20-mile run without debilitating pain.

I lined up with a couple friends, but we lost each other by mile 4.  So I spent the next 22 chatting with strangers.  I didn’t pay attention to my watch.  I belted out the Rocky theme song at regular intervals.

And somewhere around Mile 24, I turned to the man next to me – one of the directors of the Jersey marathon, with whom I’d been running for the previous handful of miles – and said, “Holy crap!  I’m about to break 4 hours!”

I ended up finishing with a PR by 68 minutes – and I’d been smiling for much of the 26.2.

After that I got focused on time and goals and though I still enjoyed the training, the races themselves stopped being so fun.  Then I started adventure racing, stopped training for road races, and continued running marathons with decreasing interest.  This culminated in a 2009 Philly experience that left me in tears at Mile 19 for no good reason except that I didn’t feel like being out there, and a DNF in 2010 when I lined up at the start with a bronchial infection and was off the course by South Street.

I know that this is going to be my last marathon for awhile, and I know that I’d like for it to be fun.

So, instead of going in with specific plans, I’m going to line up at the start on Sunday with Rocky on my ipod and a smile on my face, and I’m going to see what happens.

I may end up falling into step with old friends, or I may go it alone and make new ones along the way.

My legs may carry me to a PR, or they may settle into a 4:00:00 pace.

My one goal?  To have a smile on my face at Mile 23.

Mile 23 of Philly 2007 (Jersey was just ahead, out of the shot)

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21 responses to “The Plan

  1. Anne November 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Sounds like the perfect plan Abby! Have a blast and good luck 🙂

  2. Natalie November 14, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Love this plan!!! I remember that marathon too.

  3. kari @ Running Ricig November 14, 2011 at 8:39 am

    RUN WITH ME!!!! 🙂 I’m so much fun, you’ll love it.

  4. middleagedrunner November 14, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Good luck to you! I hope it goes well and most of all- I hope you have FUN! No point in running that many miles if you’re not getting at least a little enjoyment out of it, right?!

  5. Johann November 14, 2011 at 9:09 am

    This is a perfect plan to me. Go and have fun. I run all my races that way nowadays and never regret it. Fun is what it is all about. Have a blast!
    Thanks for your kind words regarding the wedding. 2 months from today. I’ll make sure you get to see the photos.

  6. Kate November 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I love singing the Rocky theme while I run. I’m sure my friends love it when I do that, too. 🙂

    I hope this marathon is every bit of fun that you’re looking for!

  7. mallory November 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I hope you have a lot of fun and that you are smiling the majority of the time. I think you’ve got a great attitude about it!

  8. Jill November 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I love your attitude and tenacity! It’s going to be so much fun…..listen for me cheering for you from Denver on Sunday!

  9. dentalplnts November 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Dental implants are surgically fixed substitutes for roots of missing teeth. Embedded in the jawbone, they act as anchors for a replacement tooth, also known as a crown, or a full set of replacement teeth

  10. Julie (A Case of the Runs) November 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    A smile at Mile 23 is a feat in itself. =D

  11. RunToTheFinish November 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    WOHOOOOOO SMILES!!!! That is my goal..along with not dying. Also very important 🙂

  12. lauriestewart77@yahoo.com November 15, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Line up with me for a 3:45. And then we can negative split the second half with a 1:25 and get a BQ.

  13. lauriestewart77@yahoo.com November 15, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Also, I like what Dental Implants has to say the best. Totally, totally agree with Dental Implants race plan.

  14. Brian November 15, 2011 at 3:45 am

    I hope my second marathon is as much fun.

  15. Kara November 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I love your plan! Smiling at mile 23 is a rare feat. 🙂

  16. misszippy1 November 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I think we were separated at birth…I ran those same years and had similar experiences there both years! Anyhow, I love your attitude going into this. I hope you can’t wipe the grin off your face!

  17. Anonymous November 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Get it girl! Have fun and good luck!

  18. Angela K. November 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Have fun! I think no plan is a great plan. I’m too type A to not have a plan but it’s how my sister does all her marathons and she has a great time.

  19. Pingback: Philadelphia Marathon 2011: “The Best Time of Your Life” « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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