Five days, five short days until I will be at the starting line of my third marathon. Five days of me going over and over in my head all of the things I hope for and the things I hope to avoid. Tapering is always a mental challenge for me. I believe that tapering is the last mental battle you have to fight before your race. Your mind makes you doubt your training, your preparedness. It works with your body to make you feel phantom pains and make you think that surely during the first mile you’re going to get injured.
With five days to go, here are five things I’m doing to make myself feel confident going into my race.
1. My two final runs. Last weekend I did a nice half marathon run as my last long run. This is the one time my membership to the Runner’s World Challenge came in handy. I missed my 15 miler when we were all sick a week ago. I had 10 miles on my schedule for Sunday, but that didn’t seem like enough with the missed run. I asked advice from the coaches and they advised 13 would be about perfect. Done and done. Surprisingly I only needed one gel during the entire run. Hello endurance, nice to see you.
Anyway, this week I have only two very short runs on my plan. One tonight for 30 mins and one on Thursday for 20. Though that one will probably move to Friday because I will be traveling Thursday night.
2. Verifying that I am in fact registered for the race. I know this seems silly, but I woke up in the middle of the night thinking that I imagined getting into the lottery. Not to worry, I am actually registered.
3. Packing. I may not leave until Thursday, but I’m not willing to wait until the last-minute with this trip. I’ve made sure my race day outfit is clean and the socks I want to wear are with the running skirt, tank top and sports bra. My watch is full charged and I have my CambelBak, gels and pre-race breakfast all ready.
4. Hydrating and eating. Drinking water or Gatorade right before a race is going to do nothing but make me have to pee. Good hydration takes several days. I’m making sure I’m drinking a lot of water, but throwing in a sports drink from time to time just to ensure that I don’t deplete my electrolytes.
I have also uped my carb intake. Like hydrating, eat a huge pasta dinner the night before the race isn’t going to help me. Of course I’ll still eat pasta the night before, but I’m building up a store now. The other thing about tapering that gets me, I feel sluggish and bloated. Lower mileage, fewer calories going out. I can feel it. Now is not the time to cut calories, I’m just trying to make sure I’m eating the right ones.
5. Trusting my training. As of today, I have been training for this race for three full months. That 14 weeks of speed runs, tempo runs, and long runs. Sure a few runs were missed here or there, but for the first time I am going to a race healthy. I listened to my body and trained hard. I’ve gotten faster and my endurance is at a level it has never been. I can do this. I hoping that training at altitude and running at sea level will help me out too. Speaking of which, Beth who also happens to live in lovely Longmont wrote a post about running at altitude today.
At this moment, I feel confident. I feel ready and I feel extremely nervous. I can talk a big game, but I feel like this is my first marathon all over again. My primary goal is finishing and finishing strong. I’ll be happy with anything under 4:30, but I’m gunning for that 4 hour mark. We’ll see how the hills treat me.
Yeah, I’m a little scared. At least the biggest hills are in the first half of the race.
The big difference between this race and my previous races, I’m going in healthy and with a lot more miles under my belt. I also have an amazing cheering squad coming to support me. My mom and stepdad are flying up for SoCal and of course I’ll have Josh and Ella there. I may even recruit Josh to be there to make me move a little faster in those last few miles.
It doesn’t hurt that I’ll be running towards firefighters with little blue Tiffany’s boxes either…