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T-minus 2 weeks and counting

By Linda

I’m 2 weeks out from the marathon, and my long runs are pretty much done at this point, thank god. I ran about seven miles yesterday in warm weather and I now have a new fear to add to my ever-growing list of race worries, that instead of the cool overcast temperatures I’ve been training in since last fall, it will be a beautiful sunny day and I will . . . well, I will DIE, that’s all there is to it. Because holy heatstroke, this cold-weather runner isn’t used to anything above 60 degrees. I was pretty miserable yesterday and had to take a few walk breaks just to guzzle water and mop the sweat from my face.

It feels late in the game to re-think clothing for the marathon, but I’m wondering if I should plan to switch to shorts if it seems like it will be warm. I’ve done all of my long runs in compression tights, and I have this belief—which may or may not be unfounded—that whatever I might gain in terms of coolness, I’ll lose in knee/hip stability. Plus, I’m just used to running in tights, I don’t know what kinds of chafing issues or other annoyances might crop up in shorts. I do know shorts make my fuel belt slip around, which drives me nuts.

On the other hand, I really don’t want to overheat out there. If I’m going to keel over on the route, I sure don’t want it to be because I wore the wrong damn clothes.

I do plan on carrying a fuel belt with water. I could rely on the water stations, but I’d rather be able to drink when I want. I figure if I have the desire towards the end, I’ll ditch it on the side of the road and finish the last few miles unfettered.

I’ll have gels and food with me, probably some Shot Blox and maybe some mini Snickers too. I think I’ll try and fuel up every hour. No sports drinks, I hate how they taste and they tend to unsettle my stomach.

I normally run with a hat but I’m thinking of a visor or something instead, again to address the potential overheating factor.

I’ll have an iPod loaded with an audiobook for the first 3/4 or so (I’m thinking Born to Run), a supercharged playlist for when I turn it over to music.

A hankie. I will definitely have one of those, because oh god with the nonstop running nose during long runs.

Oh, and my Garmin, my Brooks Adrenaline shoes, the new running socks I just bought, and my phone.

The night before my husband and I are staying in a hotel while his folks watch the kids, so I have an unusually good shot at a decent night’s sleep. Lots of good-carb foods the day before, no crazy high-fat or super-fiber meals, and my usual pre-run breakfast: bagel, peanut butter, and coffee. Banana or similar right before start time, hope against hope all bathroom issues are taken care of, and look forward to seeing my family somewhere out on the course. Hopefully before Mile 20, after which I may start frightening the children.

So . . . tell me, fellow runners: am I forgetting anything? Those who have run a marathon before, is there anything that would have made your first race better? Other than, well, “more training”?

27 Responses to “T-minus 2 weeks and counting”

  1. Jenn Says:

    Sounds like you’ve got all the bases covered. I’m pretty sure I say this to everyone, so my apologies if I’ve already mentioned it here, but watch Spirit of the Marathon. And if it doesn’t pump you up/make you shed a tear, uh, check your pulse : ) I know it’s cliche, but have fun. You’re going to be doing something a very tiny percentage of the population has ever done. Soak it up and smile for the race photographers!

  2. Kaitlyn Says:

    Ooo I have pre-race jitters FOR you. My only advice would be to not try anything new on race day. If you don’t have another long-ish run planned where you can try some new shorts, then stick with the tights. The last thing you need is bad chaffing. Also, maybe throw some Body Glide in your belt? Just in case.
    Other than that… Good luck!!!

  3. Annabelle Says:

    I agree – don’t try anything new. I ran in knee-length compression tights, but I had also trained in them. And…try not to go out too fast. It’s soooo hard, particularly if people are passing you, but I was glad my brother held me back. Literally, at some points. You make me want to do another! You’ll do great!

  4. lindsay Says:

    Does the race allow for you to somehow tweet your progress…either on your blog or on twitter? Like not you tweet it, but they tweet it through your chip or something. If so hook it up!

  5. MLE Says:

    I don’t normally comment here, but thought I would relay my experience. My husband (then boyfriend) and I trained for the LA marathon (March 2004). We did nearly all of our training runs in the winter in Denver; the warmest possibly being 40F, and most of our long runs were in below freezing and sometimes snowy conditions. The day of the marathon it was 95F in LA and the course was on city streets (so, blacktop). I only made it halfway due to heat exhaustion. My husband finished, but had to walk a good chunk of it.

    I guess what I’m trying to say here is that it cannot possibly be as bad as that. I think it’s a good idea not to do a marathon in gear you haven’t done a long run in, so if you’re used to tights stick with the tights. The visor-instead-of-a-hat might not be such a bad idea, though.

  6. Michelle Says:

    I have run 2 marathons and a few 1/2 marathons (which I much prefer) and the marathons/races I had the most fun doing were the ones where I put a smile on my face and enjoyed the fact that I was doing it. Look spectators in the and thank them for cheering for you. You will be surprised how much it motivates you. Smile and wave to the photographers – you’ll be much more pleased with the pictures and they appreciate it too. Thank the police officers controlling traffic. High-5 little kids with signs. Put your name on your shirt. If at all possible, turn off your ipod for some parts and enjoy the sound of a few thousand “friends” running along side of you (heck, its better than your geese “friends” from a few long runs ago!) And most importantly, when you pass another runner along the way, tell them good job. Have fun!

  7. Michelle Says:

    ….Look spectators in the *eye*…. oops!

  8. Jannette Says:

    Run with what you are used to running with. I tend to agree that if you’ve trained in compression tights you may want to stick with them. Or else use the Body Glide everywhere if you’re running in something you haven’t done a long run in before.

    The main thing I wish I’d done before my first marathon was to check all expectations at the door. Accept it for what it is and try to enjoy the miles. Also, I tried to focus on one person/thing that I was running each mile for (at least when the miles started getting tough).

    Since you haven’t trained with it — you may be fine, but I added in a salt tablet on my long runs over 20 miles in training because I started to get cramping issues and I guess the salt tablet around mile 15-16 helps ward them off in the long run. I’m not sure how I would have been without it, but with it I didn’t have too much cramping (aside from the tremendous hip pain which was an injury I probably shouldn’t have run through…live and learn!).

    Most of all — try to enjoy it as much as you can and just let it be. The race is what it is. It’s an enormous accomplishment and you should focus on that rather than a time you hoped to run it in!

  9. Miche Says:

    I’m training for my first half and am by no means an expert! I’m excited for you and motivated by you. Something I can’t run without? GUM. Helps prevent desert mouth.

  10. Tamara Says:

    I’m so excited for you, my marathon experience was so awesome (and painful-ish but worth it) but I will say I regretted taking the coffee flavored protein goo power shot thing they were handing out because of intestinal issues after the race. The LA Marathon was so fun because you have so many spectators from all different neighborhoods cheering you on (the best were the ladies in South Central banging pots and pans and calling out your name) so I hope you get some of that flavor in your marathon. And if they have a “pain station” where they spray some kind of magical stuff on your knees and calves as you limp by at mile 16, totally do it. It worked, if only psychologically.

    Good luck, enjoy it! I can’t wait to read all about it.

  11. Krissa Says:

    Whatever you wear, you HAVE to wear the shirt with your name on it again – and eat up the cheering!

  12. AndreAnna Says:

    If my random ass dream comes true, will you please get a t-shirt and write your time in puff paint? 4:26:36. I still remember it. Creepy random BLOG DREAM, I CANT QUIT YOU.

  13. Debbie Says:

    It sounds like you will be more comfortable mentally in the tights and it is really the mental game that I think matters so much in the longer races/runs.

    Are you planning to refill your fuel belt as the water stations? I would consider doing the water stops instead and only carrying food. I always found the water stops a good way to pace yourself — like grab the water and walk through it. I also wonder about the logisitics of filling your bottle up as it involves actually stopping and that was always hard for me. I felt like I had to keep moving even if it was walking and stretching. Plus, mentally I always started thinking it was what I was carrying (like my sunglasses or something else light) that was making those last miles sooooo hard.

  14. Alexis Says:

    Looks like you got it covered…my friend who is an avid runner, still has her hubby jump in the last few miles of every race to keep her motivated and help churn out the last few (especially during a marathon). Not sure if your hubby could do this, but if not, solicit a friend to jump in for the last few miles.

    Also, pick a special person in your life & dedicate each mile to someone. So when you feel like you can’t go on, just keeping thinking about that one person at that particular mile!

  15. JesC Says:

    Wear what you are used to wearing. Because like you said, new shorts might keep you cooler, but if you chafe or your fuel belt shifts – you’ll go insane. And Born to Run, yes! It’ll pace you through the beginning perfectly (just wait till it gets to the Leadville race and Ann Transon, what a story!).

    Good luck and enjoy your race!!

  16. Lisa S. Says:

    If it hasn’t been mentioned yet: rub some petroleum jelly or body glide allllll around the bottom of your sports bra (in the front) and the arm holes (especially in the strap area under the arms). You won’t notice the chafing while you’re running, but you will get really wet and your skin will be moving back and forth as you move your arms. The petroleum jelly/body glide will help prevent you from getting a long line of raw/bleeding skin.

    Good luck! The last five miles or so of any marathon is all mental anyway, and you’re so goal-oriented, you’ll be fine. Enjoy the finish!

  17. Karen Says:

    Jitters will be there, but you should feel confident in how well you’ve trained!

    Definitely put your name on your shirt. I’d say stick to what you know, so wear your tights. Oh, and see if you can have your family meet you at various mile marks. Have them carry a backpack with whatever you think you might need – shorts, Bodyglide, Bandaids, whatever makes you feel more secure knowing you’re not 26.2 miles away from it!

    I ran a half marathon in 90 degree heat (first effing day of the season over 65 degrees!), I grabbed a Ziploc bag of ice at an aid station to cool down. Eating some cubes and holding it on me really did the trick.

    Rock on!! I’m inspired by you!!

  18. Lisa Says:

    Just curious, did your knee pain go away? I have an injury similar to what you mentioned a few posts ago, and I’m trying to decide whether to continue training. Thanks and congrats on your progress!

  19. Linda Says:

    Lisa: it did, yes. Actually the knee thing turned into a major hip thing for a while, then there was a very painful foot thing, all on my right side. It really sucked and I thought I was going to have to drop out of the race for a while. But as of today, knock wood, nothing hurts.

    I have a post in mind focused on pain/injury stuff, because I suspect it’s pretty common to encounter these kinds of setbacks during a training regimen.

  20. K Says:

    Good luck! I personally would try to find shorts or something to run in. I would go the body glide route just to be safe. I tend to overheat easily while running though and am definitely more fitted to running cooler races. I know that wearing pants in warm weather would only exacerbate the situation for me.

  21. Christina Says:

    I am curious – can you tell me more about these compression tights? I have NEVER heard from them. I have numerous hip/knee/shin splint issues and I am wondering if it is worth it to spend a lot of money on compression tights to help with these issues!

    Also, I have really liked when you share your iPod running play list. I like new ideas for running music. If you are ever so inclined please share the new one for the marathon!!!

    Thanks :) GL!

  22. Linda Says:

    Christina: the tights I have are CW-X, and you can read up on the supposed benefits on their totally unbiased website : ) http://cw-x.com/

    I really like them, though, and I’m convinced I can feel a difference when I’m not wearing them.

    I’ll post a playlist soon, I love hearing ideas for new music too.

  23. Alex Says:

    To echo the others, nothing new on race day. Shorts vs. tights won’t provide you with all that much of a temp difference, anyhow. The visor vs. hat idea, though–that’s a good one, since most of your body heat escapes through the top of your head.

    Also, I read somewhere that getting a good night’s sleep TWO nights before the big race is really, really beneficial, since the night before tends to be a nerve-fest of missing-the-race dreams. I know when I ran my first marathon in ’05, that’s exactly what happened to me.

    I am so intrigued by the compression tights.

  24. Joanne Says:

    I know you like the cw-x tights – if you’re worried about over heating but want the support I’d highly advise you to pick up some capri length – I have a pair of stablyx and pro and find the pro way more supportive. I really find a difference with wearing them and if you’re used to them for training I wouldn’t go to shorts on the day.
    Good idea to carry your water so you don’t get caught out.
    My first marathon involved a similar cold weather training/ hot weather race – and while it does suck it’s do-able. Take your time, and pace yourself. Bits of it are going to be hard but you’ll get through it. And it’s totally worth it when you cross that finish line!
    Make sure you do your taper – don’t over train just before.
    (Immodium taken before the race can help with toilet issues during the race)
    And remember no matter how hard it is – you’re kicking ass over all those people who couldn’t even dream of attempting it – well done!

  25. Erin Says:

    Good luck! I’m sure you did it for the 1/2 Marathon but put your name on your shirt – having people cheer you on is the best!

    And if you can have a friend run parts of the race with you that will help stave off boredom. For me it was ALL mental the last 3 of 4 miles and I remember questioning what sort of drugs I was on when I signed up because 26.2 is FAR!

    You’ll do great!

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