What Have I Done?
Back in September when I signed up for the L.A. Marathon
it seemed like a great idea. It was a shot across the bow of the Ship ‘Why-Not?’ It was another box on the ol-bucket-list checked off. It was another physical challenge to strive for, and another stepping stone to push my endurance running boundaries. Now, as I sit here writing this, all I can think of is
IT'S ONLY DAYS AWAY!
What once was a day-dream of possibility has quickly become a looming date with destiny! Oh, and if I sound like I’m being a BIT dramatic, then you’ve never signed up for a Marathon, because IF YOU HAD you would know exactly what I’m talking about! There’s a VERY REAL anxiety that sets in when you enter the week leading up to a big race. You realize that there’s nothing more you are going to be able to do to be any more ready than you already are, and the only real outcome of any hard training at this point would be to possibly injure yourself! The best thing you can do the week before is to GET HYDRATED, GET RESTED, and LOAD UP ON CARBS!
This past Saturday I went for my last long training run, which by most accounts was not very long at all.
Since I’m tapering off my distance leading up to the Marathon, Saturday’s run was only 8.36 miles. However, I did choose a fairly hilly route and pushed harder than I really should have for a taper run. But I felt I had to in order to see where my left foot was. Turns out it was at the end of my left ankle. HA! Dad joke! Ahhhhhh. I was encouraged to find that my left foot felt fine during the run. Sunday it was complaining, but I’m still encouraged. If I can rest it this week I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to make it to the finish line Sunday before the 6hr 30min cut-off time. At least, as confident as I can be having never run 26.2 miles IN A ROW before!
After my run I decided to relax a bit by reading up on all the ‘Last Minute Race Details’ that had been emailed to me. It turns out there are a LOT of little details to take into account for race day! Details like NO BACKPACKS of ANY KIND being allowed thru the security check-point at the Race Shuttle. This detail started me wondering if a Hydration-Pack was counted as a backpack? It looks like a backpack. It’s a pack, and it goes on your back. Would they not allow my 17-year-old-son and I to board the Race Shuttle if we had Hydration-Packs? It took a bit of digging around before I found, to my relief, that Hydration-Packs would be allowed, but would need to be looked thru by Security first. Whew! Then I started to wonder if we would need to leave the house earlier than I had planned. We’re scheduled for the 5am Race Shuttle and the info I was now reading stated that the LAST SHUTTLE leaving from our location was 5:30am. Knowing now that there is a Security Check-Point we have to get thru before we can board the Shuttle, I’m thinking we need to be leaving earlier! Possibly as early as 3:30am! Gear check cut-off times, race start times, corral start times, what corral am I in? So much to think about! I found myself laying in bed wide awake on Saturday night, tossing and turning. My mind was CONVINCED that the Marathon was THAT SUNDAY, even though I knew it wasn’t! I couldn’t help but worry that I was going to oversleep and miss the Race Shuttle!
Luckily, Sunday came and went, and everything was fine. I hadn’t missed the Race Shuttle, because the race WAS still one week away, as I knew it was. But still, I find myself anxious.
This week is Hydration and Carb Load week. 6 days out from any big race I make sure to drink a basic 2-1 ratio of electrolyte-sport-drink and water (2 20oz bottles of Gatorade and 1 20oz bottle of water). The reasoning behind this ratio is that if you drink only water you will end up peeing out a lot of the electrolytes you will need on race day. But if you only drink electrolyte beverages you will run the risk of having way too much sodium in your body and cause yourself to retain TOO MUCH water and bloat. Hence, the 2-1 ratio. I’ve done many Hydration / Carb Load weeks over the last couple of years, but this time I seem to be adding WORRY into the mix as well.
(Although I'm sure if you were to ask my lovely wife, she would probably tell you that getting anxious leading up to a big race IS part of my routine!)
I’m trying to relax a bit this week and trust that I’ve trained properly. I know that I’ve put in decent work, but I have a hard time cutting myself any slack. I’ve gotten in a handful of 20+ mile runs with various results. I’ve run in cold weather and in rain. I’ve pushed my body to move beyond what it knew it could. Yet, still, I wonder if I could have been doing more?
Nothing to do now but wait for Sunday to come. Wait for the Race Shuttle to take me to the starting line. Wait for my corral to be called to the line. When the starter finally gives the command to GO and I start putting one foot in front of the other, that’s when I’ll finally have the answer to my questions. Did I do enough? Can I call myself a Marathoner? In less than a week, I’ll actually know!
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