Tonight I went to a dinner where Joan Benoit Samuelson was the guest speaker as part of the race weekend festivities.
Because the event was sponsored by a financial company, the first part of the talk was more along the lines of what the company was pushing in terms of dreams, goals, etc. Once she began taking questions and talking about things, it really took off.
It was a small crowd, only a couple of dozen people or so, but there were some good questions. She talked about how nutrition, like everything else, is something you keep in balance and you really don't need to obsess about things. While she tends to eat organic and whole foods, she also eats red meat and sweets.
She talked about how winning the gold medal was a highlight but not the high point of her life and how she is planning on running the 2008 Olympic trials for the marathon because it's going to be in Boston. The next big goal is running that trial at the age of 50 (which will be in 2008... so the timing works) within a time she set for herself.
The parts that were really helpful to me was talking about strategy. How you don't think of a marathon as 26 miles but rather in separate races - like a 10 mile and then a 10K and another 10 miler; running negative splits and why it's important to go out a little bit slower to start and then pass people at the end. Another tip was when a race is tough, rather than looking at the road or the mileage markers, look at the person ahead of you and focus on catching up/overtaking them. I think we all do that to a certain degree, but it makes sense to focus there rather than on times or miles when having a tough race.
I have to say that I'm truly excited about the race - it's only a day and a half away. Because I just spent the past couple of days assembling my new desk, I haven't been running ... which is probably a blessing in disguise. Tomorrow I'll probably go for a walk and take it easy while I get ready for Monday.
But this was one more reason to really like this event. A chance to meet someone who inspired me and so many others is really a nice treat.