I’ve had this giddy, expectant feeling for days, like waiting for a baby to be born. In 1:17:56 I will step off the start line and run the Hartford marathon. Which truly will be a laborous. To say I’m nervous is not quite the word. A little sweaty, clammy. A little twitchy.
Last week I felt unstoppable and healthy. This week I keep expecting to trip and break my ankle. What’s that tickle in my throat? Oh my gosh, am I’m getting the flu? I’m feeling fairly hypochondriac so please don’t sneeze on me today.
After all the long miles, will it all come together? I’m hoping for the perfect race.
A marathon check-list:
Ask and Ye Shall Receive: Runner’s World is a great place to start, but I’ve been asking many marathoners how to actually run a marathon. My running buddy, Maryn, and Coach Brian are full of gems and words of wisdom that will surely save me many mistakes.
I have to pick up my race packet the night before so I am going up a day early and spending the night at a hopefully-good(!) hotel. Non-smoking. I will bring my own pillow, soft and warm pajamas, and ear plugs just in case my race buddies are…less quiet at night time than I am.
Check the weather! I’ll definitely be wearing shorts and short sleeve shirt or tank for this race.
I’ll lay out clothes the night before and gaze at them fondly…
Must wear warm clothes until the very last minute to keep muscles warm!
Most comfortable sports bra and socks. And of course, must not forget to pack the shoes!
Directions: Even though I’ve driven to Hartford (several times) I’m so sure I can manage to get lost that I’m printing out directions and turning on GPS. This is one of my biggest race stressors. My husband cannot understand how my internal GPS can be so bad. It’s really bad.
Tunes: I like music when I’m running a long distance so I made a very special marathon playlis that now includes some Glee, Aerosmith, Carrie Underwood, Matt Nathanson, Katy Perry – and more! Ipod is fully charged.
The Watch: Can’t run without it. Watch is fully charged. It’s very unnerving to turn on your watch right before a race only discover you forgot to charge it….err. Been there. Don’t wear a watch? Lucky you. I don’t run that free and easy.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have, but I did. I began to dream of qualifying for Boston. I have to run a 3:40 to qualify. And. Boston competition is so fierce, that that still might not get me in. Coach Brian says to shoot for 3:37. A 3:35 will mean I have to run 8:12 mile splits. I have not done this, um, ever, for 26.2 miles. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m going to give it a shot. Hartford has pacers with big signs you can find before the race. If you stay with your pacer, they’ll get you across the finish line. Dream big, right?
Pacing: If I’d been more on the ball, I would have ordered a pace tattoo. Now I’ll be writing pace markers on my arm with a sharpie – miles 6, 13, 18, and 22.
Beauty: Hair elastic. Stretchy hair headband. Face lotion with SPF. I happen to like a Trader Joe’s variety. I also rub conditioner on the ends of my hair before tying it up in a messy bun b/c sweat and salt make it so dry and my poor color…running is hard on hair! If I were brave I’d go grey naturally. I could probably be a beautiful white by the time I was 50. But I’m not brave that way. Boo.
Fuel: This is a make or break item. It’s so important, but since I’ve never run 26.2, I’m not exactly sure what to expect. I do know, that I must not change anything in my diet between now and then. Here’s what I packed for pre-race loading: 1 loaf 12 grain bread, 1 jar peanut butter (with knife!), bananas, apples, nuts and pretzels. This is for the night before, and morning-of breakfast.
2 hours before race: I will begin to sip an 18oz water bottle filled with water, 1 Emergen-C, and 1 scoop AC-G3. This is just my personal pre-race fuel preference.
During Race: I’m going to carry at least 3-4 gels or bloks and take them at miles 6, 12, 18, and possibly 22. I tend to get very hungry during long runs and I’m a little worried about fuel. Coach Brian tells me I must use caffeine in my gels or bloks – “if you’re not a caffeine person it will make you a rocket.” I obviously want to be the rocket! He slipped me some GU in the school parking lot this afternoon. If you saw us make the exchange, that’s what it was. Really.
Post Fuel: The race will provide. Not too worried. I’ll find food. or kill a bear.
Other items not to forget:
Warm pants to wear until the last minute
Allergy pills (in case hotel isn’t friendly)
Clothes to change into after the marathon
Luck: We must not forget luck!
I’m not usually superstitious about anything. But I’m wearing two bracelets I believe will carry me through: The first is a friendship bracelet Brynne made me. During one grueling run last month I looked down at it and felt the ghosts of my girls running with me. I knew then, that I couldn’t take it off until after the marathon. I just know Brynne’s fiery spirit will stay with me.
The second is a soccer bracelet all my soccer kids signed. Since I can’t be at their soccer jamboree, I’m just taking them with me. Running for something or someone is very inspiring.
A friend ordered a new pair of Newtons for me (discount alert: firemen and police officers can get you a discount on Newton running shoes!).
So now I have shoes, but these are special shoes. They are called my “pretty run fasters.”
These shoes sat at my friend’s house for a few days until I finally drove by to pick them up. There are two adorable little girls who live at this house and for days they couldn’t stop looking at my new bright, beautiful running shoes. Mason, the littlest, kept calling them her “pretty run fasters.”
I thought that was pretty much the best thing I’d ever heard, especially when her mom told me they call Mason, “Masie” which is just too close to “Maisy” to be a coincidence don’t you think???
None of this matters of course, if you haven’t put in the training. But if you’ve trained, got some luck with you, and your “pretty run fasters,” I’ve got to believe we will run the race we were meant to run.
I also include a prayer… Please God, don’t let me bonk.
Do you have any advice for me? I would love to hear it. And now I say farewell – See you at the finish line!