No matter how hard you train, you can never really know what will happen on race day.
No matter how hard you train, you can never really know what will happen inside the box.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon was this past Sunday, with several members of the Ganbatte community in attendance. Two of them in particular went to Vegas with very specific time goals in mind. One was running the full marathon, and the other the half. One had never run a full marathon before; the other was coming off of an injury. Both of them had trained well, and were more than ready to run a solid race. The Vegas course was flat, and the weather was crisp. The idea that they would both meet -- if not surpass – their goal times seemed like a no-brainer. After all, they had trained through WODs, long runs and short runs, and on hot days, chilly days and rainy days.
Unfortunately, neither of them had trained by trying to run through the Rose Bowl Parade.
The race was poorly organized and overcrowded. 44,000 runners crammed through 13 miles of the Vegas strip, with people trying to run an 8-minute mile weaving through those aiming for an 11-minute. The typical strategy of settling into and holding a steady pace throughout long stretches of the race was replaced with a clumsy sequence: Speed up. Dodge runner. Slow down. Dodge runner. Repeat. Not exactly part of the plan.
WODs can’t fit exactly into athletes’ plans, either. After all, there is no real way to prepare for the next day’s workout beyond eating well and getting rest. Sometimes people try to get me to drop hints about which workouts are scheduled for the week ahead, and I understand why they do. We each have our preferences, strengths and comfort zones. But in the end, there is only so much we can control. The goals we aim for are tinged with countless unknowns and a dash of chaos. We prepare to meet the goals, but we prepare to accept and engage with the unknowns as well.
Faced with the wall of people in Las Vegas, both of the athletes described above could have easily thrown up their hands and started walking out of frustration, as I saw other runners do. They could have said quite truthfully that they didn’t prepare for the conditions they were given. Instead they focused on the miles ahead, ran well and finished strong. They understood that “ganbatte” is a verb - an action – and most importantly, a choice.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! To my Ganbatte Endurance Crew who did the FULL and HALF Vegas Marathon and the 10k Say no to drugs run at Universal. VERY PROUD OF YOU GUYS!