Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ramblings as race day approaches

10 days until my first marathon, and to say I'm terrified would be a vast understatement. All the crazy what-ifs are running through my head.

I have race bib # 1724.

(Warning: Whiny, rambling, most likely incoherent post ahead)

Here's what killed my confidence... I'm ashamed to say it but I dropped the ball on my training. Last week I finally got into my new apartment (which is wonderful) but it also meant that I didn't run for five days. The whole moving process was just so taxing and exhausting. Wednesday and Thursday were spent packing up the old place, Friday doing the physical move, Saturday asleep (literally, I could not move), Sunday cleaning the old place, Monday unpacking the new place. I'm messy and cluttered by nature, but on the same token I can't stand not knowing where things are (like my Garmin cable... arg!) So that has added a whole new layer of stress to my day to day routine. My rule is to spend one hour each day -- no more, no less -- working on the new place. It's a bit discouraging because while I'm making slow progress, and the essentials are done, there is still so much more to do.

My diet really suffered during the move too, I think I spent a total of five days without cooking a single meal. I lived off Lucky Bamboo, Wendy's salads and Chipotle.

I didn't have much choice but to move when I did. I actually lucked out -- for awhile it was looking like it would happen this coming weekend. Still, I wish I had eeked out a mile or two during the move. I'm sure there was some athletic value to basically being on my feet for 4 days, but still it killed the momentum I had from the 22-miler.

In general 2011 thus far has been a whirlwind of major changes (I think I like peanut butter now, for one, thank you Trader Joe's). My dogs, Gigi and Lizzie, are staying with my parents for another week -- they couldn't handle the stress of the move, so running has become my constant. Thus, a lot hinges on it, and when it goes, my sanity quickly follows.

And, oh, my apartment is going to be so awesome when it's complete! It's going to be a long process. I can't wait to get some cool curtains, have a dining room table I can actually eat at, a real TV hooked up to a Roku box, to actually hang my various wall hangings on my walls, maybe I'll even paint my walls something other than white, maybe I'll even get a new living room set. I'm going to love it, but the process is a slow one. I even have a little room off my living room that I can keep the few pieces of workout equipment I have. I'm thinking about getting the Insanity series -- I hear that's awesome for agility which would be great for fall trail races. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

So, to summarize: Last week I was a mess, but it was a means to a positive end. I'm doing much, much better this week. Monday I ran 4 and went to spin class. I felt like hell. Tuesday I did 5 on the treadmill and also did spin class. I felt great. They say to drop the cross training as race day approaches, but I find the spinning really helps my knees. I took today off, tomorrow is 6 and Friday is 4. I think I'm going to do my 8 on Sunday, then I'll look at the final week.

If there's one thing Jeff Henderson and Randy Olson have drilled into our brains this year in MIT it's to have a plan for race day and race weekend. So here it is (oh dear gawd it starts a week from tomorrow):

Thursday: Pack everything I can possibly think I might even need. Be ready to grab my stuff and go after work Friday.
Friday: Get off work, drive to Cleveland.
Saturday: Take it easy. Maybe get a massage. Hang out with the family. Watch Theresa Edwards run her first 5K, pick up my packet and race bib 1724, enjoy the expo.
Ok, that was the easy part.
Sunday: How early should I arrive? Ack, I don't know, the race starts at 7!!! At any rate, wake up at hotel Mom and Dad and awake one of the loving cab drivers for a ride downtown.
What I'm going to wear: My orange Mizunos, non-cotton socks, Under Armour compression tights, one of my good sports bras, pink tank top. One or two throwaway layers depending on the weather. I need to go to Fleet Feet to get something that says MIT on it that's not a shirt. If it's a hat, then I'll wear that, if not then I'll wear my Pearl Izumi visor. Headband. My Garmin and HRM.
What I'll bring: My Fuel Belt for the pockets, and my Amphipod water bottle. I'm going to bring 4 Gus, though I don't know if I'll need all of them. I'm going to Gu every hour, with maybe an extra if it's warm out. I'll keep my cell phone in the FuelBelt pocket -- normally I prefer not to run with it but I'll have some texting to do immediately after.
The strategy: It's a flat course, and I have hill trained, so I'm not worried about inclines. I want to finish in 4:45 or less. That's a 10:53 pace. I have trained at 10:30, but I need to consider that breaks are considered in the final time. I'm going to do the first six at an 11:00 pace, then speed up from there.
Breaks: I'll break every 4 miles for water, Gu and whatever else I need. Water stops are every 2 miles.
After: Find Gatorade. Find beer and an apocalyptic supply of any food I might be craving. Call cab Mom or Dad for a ride home. Sleep lots.

After the marathon: Do nothing for a week. I mean nothing. No activity beyond walking the animals. Recover completely. Eat liberally. The week after I'll start back lightly.

If I gain five pounds those weeks, I gain five pounds, plenty of time to work it off when MIT starts up again May 28 and I start training for Columbus :)

It's amazing how an hour's worth of blogging, Facebook chatting, 2 glasses of White Zin and oven fries can really change your outlook! I've got this! I'll sing my ode to MIT and all the other wonderful people racing May 15 in another post.


  1. Don't worry, you're going to have an awesome time! You're so prepared! Trust in your training, you've done a great job and just have fun on race day.

  2. I just ran my first marathon this past Saturday, and out of 18 weeks I had 3 weeks of no running and I still beat my goal! You're going to do great and you have a lot of mileage so far this year. I think the hard work was done with the last long run.

    Have a great race and I look forward to a race report!

  3. You are going to rock this, Jessica! One thing...the massage before the race...I just read in a running magazine (not sure which one) that it is best to get the massage after the race, not before, especially the day before. Just thought I would share.

    I can't wait to hear how you do!!!