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Final training is to visualize the race

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  April 12, 2012 03:44 PM

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100tara_bennett.jpg Tara Bennett is one of five Boston Marathon entrants testing the Polar RCX5 personal training computer and blogging about it for Boston.com
As a building principal, I have experienced that the week prior to vacation is always nuts. I am knocking on wood this week because so far, so good.

In addition to keeping the natives (a.k.a. – students) calm, I am focused on reducing my “to-do” list as much as possible before the marathon. What I am not doing is paying attention to weather reports -- I have co-workers and friends who keep me posted on the weather – whether I am interested or not. Glad to hear warmer weather is creeping in, but really, does it have to be this weekend?

Last May I was part of a two-person relay team in the Vermont City Marathon. This took place a week prior to graduation. At this time I had not completed my graduation speech, and unconsciously I found myself thinking of my speech during my run instead of enjoying the moment and reflecting on how my body was doing and feeling.

This was one of my worst runs in recent years. As the start of the Boston Marathon draws nearer, this memory remains so real and I am determined to rid my bucket list of junk items so I can truly enjoy the day and the environment.

Over the past few weeks I have incorporated more visualization into my training. I see my race preparations taking place in the morning, waiting diligently in a port-o-let line in the athletes village, crossing the start line and pressing the “recording started” button on my Polar RCX5, running through Ashland and the water stops and coming into Framingham and down route 135.

I know Natick center is around the corner and soon, so will the halfway mark and all the screaming girls in Wellesley. I run past my college work place and prepare to cross over the Route 128 bridge; the Newton Hills are looming.

Arriving at the Newton fire station and taking a right onto Commonwealth Ave. brings back many memories from my youth having grown up in Newton. Phew … made it up the first hill and enjoying the stretch before I see Johnny Kelly’s statue and Walnut Street - a street which led me home so many times.

Knowing that Boston College is just ahead, I hear the cheers, see the encouraging faces, feel the energy coming from the dedicated spectators, and I believe. I believe that the 20-mile mark will provide me the mental boost to pull me through the last 10K.

Running through Cleveland Circle, along Beacon Street and by Fenway Park gets me closer to the finish line – my ultimate goal. And then I see it; the wide finish line banner. And I hear it; the cheers for me and for those around me. And then I experience it; the joy, relief, and exhaustion of making it 26.2 miles.

There is no doubt in my mind that I will have a good run on Monday. I have to believe this or else the 26.2 will be much longer than it actually is.

Bring it on.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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