Friday, April 15, 2011

The race is the reward for the training

I have to keep telling myself that. In the past few days I've really started to get nervous and anxious. Last year I was excited and overwhelmed with the idea that I was about to run the Boston Marathon. This year is different. I've done it before and I know what to expect, but I'm even more nervous than I was before any marathon I've run up til now.

Tuesday night was the start of the Good Times Spring 5K series and a chance for local runners to get in one last tune up race before Boston and then chat over pizza and beers about their training and time goals and the weather forecast for Marathon Monday. I ran to the race with my friend, Nutter, and we warmed up along the course. We did a little over 2 miles and then headed to the bar to get her registered for the race. The Good Times series is fun because it's a different theme every week. This week was BYOB (bring your own buddy), basically buy one registration get one free. Since I was already registered, Nutter ran for free. I had no time goal going into the race and just treated it as a training run. Taking it easy and not pushing myself is very hard for me to do, sometimes impossible. The gun went off and I instinctively jumped like a jack rabbit and ran off with the pack. The first mile went by fast, maybe a little too fast. I ran it in about 8 minutes. Second mile was the same, 8 minutes. If I kept it up I might set a new personal record, then I remembered, 'hey idiot, you're running a marathon next week, cool your jets'. The last mile and a tenth I stayed almost even pace, but slowed up a little. Finished in 24:50, not far off from my PR (24:24) and 14th place overall for the women. I'd say I'm ready for the BIG race.

Wednesday, work went by slower than death. It seriously seemed like the clock stopped at some point during the day and Father Time was taking notes from Mother Nature and being kind of a douche. I made it through the day and went to the gym for a little light cross training and stretching. I jumped rope for about 10 minutes to warm up and then hopped on the elliptical for an hour of intervals. Nothing too crazy, I lowered the resistance from what I normally do and made sure my heart rate stayed at a moderate level and didn't get too high. After that, I stretched for about 20 minutes. Probably more than I have stretched over the last 20 weeks of training. Felt really good, I should maybe try doing that more often.

After I left the gym I went home and instantly got bored so, yup, you guessed it, I baked some cookies. I made some Oatmeal Awesomeness. I would LOVE to bring them to the Copley Marriott for the DFMC runners, but with over 500 people on the team plus volunteers I think I'd need to bake about 10 batches. So, instead, I ate about a dozen cookies for them. I still want to swing by the Marriott and wish them all luck, it may just have to be empty handed, but open arms for free hugs. :)

Thursday, I woke up in a panic. My heart racing and thoughts running through my brain faster than a Kenyan. I'm not really sure why, but I started having an anxiety attack out of nowhere about the race. I think it's a combination of last minute nerves and the high expectations I have for myself. Either way it sucked. I started worrying that I might get sick last minute and not be able to run or I'd trip up the stairs at work and hurt myself and not be able to run. I checked the weather forecast and it says 60 degrees and sunny, gorgeous day to watch a marathon, but a little warm for running one. What if I get dehydrated and sick and start throwing up at mile 20 like I did 2 years ago at Disney? Deep breathes, calm down, the hay is in the barn (thank you Jack Fultz), my training was perfect, I will be fine.

After work, I did my last run before race day with Nutter. We did an easy 4 mile out and back on the same route I ran last Saturday. I was kind of hoping I would find another dollar bill in the road, but that didn't happen. It was still an amazing run.

So, now it's Friday and I have nothing left to do, but rest and go to the Expo tomorrow to get my bib# and maybe a few other things. Oh yeah and EAT. I mean, it's not like I'm going to have a bucket of pasta strapped to my face for continuous feeding over the next few days, but I'm definitely not going to be counting calories as much as I would during training. After all, I am going to burn approximately 4000 calories on Monday. Great motivation for anyone out there thinking of training for a marathon, but don't run to lose weight, run to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I get to eat more, but I still eat all good stuff. I splurge on ice cream and cookies, but I eat all natural no chemicals or crap added in treats. I can't wait for some post-marathon treats. I'll make sure to post all the details of my awesome meals over the weekend and next week. :)

Until the next post, remember a few of my favorite running mantras, "Find your happy pace", "don't worry about how far you've gone or how far you have to go, just run the mile you're in", "the pain is temporary, the pride lasts forever", "just keep running", and my favorite "The Race is the Reward for the Training". I told my friend that is running her first marathon on Monday, "Don’t think of it as a challenge or obstacle you have to overcome. Think of it as a celebration of things you’ve already done!" And that's exactly how I approach the marathon. So, let the celebrating begin!

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