It’s race week, and in 2 days, 16 hours and 16 minutes, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon’s starting gun will fire and I’ll be off to test myself against 26.2 miles! It’s hard to believe it’s finally here. I’ve been thinking about and preparing for this race for almost a year. I’m waffling between excitement (you know, a stomach full of butterflies) and nervousness. The demon of doubt and fear of failure is constantly lurking in the background, and the closer I get to race day, the more I feel myself fighting to keep those fears at bay.
Last Saturday was our last “long” training run of 6 miles. It was a good run, gorgeous weather, but it felt really short. I already miss my running buddies.
Then, enter taper week. I’ve been running about 33 miles a week, but to give our legs time to fully rest and recover, marathon training tapers as we get close to the race. So last week I only ran about 25 miles. This week, we were told to only run 2 days, 3 SLOW miles each day. These runs are more about keeping our minds in the game, not about training, but goodness, it’s been a tough week. No CrossFit and only 6 miles! It’s like being grounded!
Now that I’m not thinking about getting my miles in, my attention has turned to the logistical preparation of running a marathon. Throughout the training, I’ve landed on a strategy for running the race. I know the pace I need to run to get my finish time. I know what nutrition works best for me and how often to take in nutrition. So now I just have to make sure I physically have everything on me that I need to run for hours on end. Here’s a peek at what will be making the 26.2 mile trek with me.
1. Oklahoma weather can be really fickle. The weather can seriously swing from one extreme to another in a matter of minutes, so it’s hard to know how to dress. Right now it looks like the starting temp will be around 62 F with a high of around 85 F. The rule of thumb is to dress for temperatures 20 degrees warmer than it actually is, so even though it’ll be chilly waiting for the start, I’ll be wearing a form fitting racerback tank top and short compression shorts– form fitting because there’s a chance of thundershowers. Loose clothes in rain just get heavy so in the event it rains, I’m trying to eliminate any loose fabric. I’m also choosing clothes that are made of moisture wicking fabric to keep me as dry as possible, from my sports bra down to my shorts. I’m wearing my favorite running socks, Feetures, and my Brooks running shoes. No new shoes. It’s best to have a pair of shoes that you’ve broken in and are used to running in. I’m also taking my Headsweats cap; it’s lightweight, moisture wicking and will protect my face from sun and rain. I picked up a light zipper jacket at a thrift store to keep me warm pre-race. When I get hot, I’ll just shed it to the side of the road to be donated once again.
2. Compression calf sleeves. I ran with these for the first time in my half-marathon last fall and refuse to run anything over 10 miles without them. The compression on my calves reduces fatigue immensely and helps to prevent soreness and cramping.
3. Fitletic running belt. I’ve tried so many running belts, trying to find the most comfortable one to carry the amount of nutrition I need. I cannot stand belts that ride up or bounce. The most comfortable one I’ve found so far is Fitletic. I have to cinch it up as tight as it will go, but even loaded up there was minimal bounce and it stayed put.
4. For nutrition, I’ll be using Gu peanut butter chocolate energy gel and Larabars. I’m a little scared of trying anything I haven’t eaten on runs in the past because I don’t know how I’ll react to them, so even though nutrition will be available on the race course, I’m planning to bring enough Gu and Larabars for the entire run. I’ll also be carrying Nuun electrolyte drink in my Nathan water bottle. Water will be available on the course, but I don’t really like sports drinks so I’m bringing my own electrolyte replacement.
5. Speedzter arm band. I love my Speedzter arm band for holding my phone. There’s absolutely no bounce; I almost forget I have it on. The only downside is that it’s not waterproof so I have to put my phone in a baggie to protect it from sweat and rain. Check them out here.
6. Of course, I’ll have my phone and earbuds to play music. I’ve found that when I start to get tired, if I listen to the beat of the music and/or sing along, I can distract myself from my discomfort. I’ll let you know how that works out at about mile 20!
7. Garmin running watch. I can’t run without my Garmin! It helps me keep my pace. Plus, I like being able to watch the miles go by. I like knowing how many miles are left so I can mentally prepare for them.
8. Chums band for my glasses. I wear glasses all the time. They are a bit of a pain when I’m running, but I’d fall flat on my face without them. The challenge is to keep them in place when I get all sweaty. Chums bands work great. They slip onto the temples and have an adjustable strap that keeps my glasses exactly where I need them to be.
9. Excedrin. Yes, I’m taking some pain relief tablets. I discovered on our 21 mile run that my body started to ache around mile 17 or 18. Our coach passed around some excedrin which helped to finish the run in relative comfort.
10. Other things I’ll be using as I get ready include Body Glide to prevent chafing. It comes in a stick like deodorant. I like to rub it under my sports bra and on my feet to help prevent clothes from rubbing and chafing my skin. It works beautifully! I’ll also be putting on some SPF 50 sport sunscreen and lip balm. I burn super easy, and with the amount of skin I’ll have exposed for an extended amount of time, I don’t want to burn.
So there you go. Is this what it’s like trying to leave the house with a baby?! I’ve looked at directions to my hotel and to the expo where I’ll pick up my race packet. I have my race confirmation showing my bib number of 2564. Dinner reservations for a pasta dinner the night before the race with my running buddies is set. My psoas muscle hasn’t bothered me for over a week. I’ve been drinking tons of water, eating protein and am starting to increase my carb intake. I think I’m actually ready….I hope.
What are your plans for the weekend?
If you could do anything you’d want this weekend, what would it be?