The carb loading: Thursday (the 27th), 3 days prior to the marathon, I started the carb loading process. I did so mainly via whole grain pancakes…my carb loading staple.
I love carb loading, but at the same time, I loath it. The food is delicious, but increased carbohydrate consumption leaves me feeling extremely bloated. The 2-3 lb weight gain doesn’t bother me because it means that I’ve done carb loading the correct way (mostly water weight). It just feels like I have a balloon in my belly. Not fun.
Friday, I had a pumpkin spice cupcake (thanks for tempting me Sean) and spinach feta pizza. I also had a couple of things here and there while I was at work. I already had everything packed for the weekend,
so as soon as I got home from Sean’s house, I went straight to bed. I know it looks like A LOT for a 3 day, 2 night trip, but the Reebok bag was solely used for all of my marathon stuff, including clothes, shoes, accessories, food, etc. And naturally, I had to pack toiletries, hair stuff, and all of that. The plan for Saturday morning was to meet my roomie, Lora (follow this ultramarathoner/marathoner x3 lady - you won’t regret it), at her house and car pool to Corning, New York. It was approximately a 4.5 hour drive, but Lora and I turned this trip into a much longer adventure with our 3 potty breaks. We were both hydrating for Sunday, so our bladders decided that it was party time every 30-40 minutes. Each time we stopped, the towns that we ended up in kept getting weirder and weirder and harder to escape - no joke. The trip was a bunch of fun! I just love Lora, seriously, the things that come out of this girl’s mouth are enough to make you laugh until you can’t breathe. And two sarcastic people crammed into one car makes for some interesting conversation.
Saturday, I turned to Chinese food, at Wegmans, for lunch (salty carbs). After lunch, Lora and I headed on over to the expo to pick up our race packets. Smallest expo. EVER. But, they know how to do it right. Bib/bag pickup was very organized, and the specialty Wineglass merchandise was top notch. Not to mention, this is the best race shirt that I’ve ever received.
They had 4 different colors, differentiating from the full or half and male or female. This shirt, obviously, is for the female full marathoners. The post of the wineglass is also coordinated to the sex of the runner. Cool!
They also gave us a small bottle of wine and a souvenir wineglass, very unique.
Saturday evening, their was a pasta party for us SCRRC members. The pasta party was pretty fantastical. It was wonderful being able to see everyone the night before the big day. Jon K. was able to snag us a great deal at the Ramada. There was also a wedding going on the same night. As my roomie, Lora, and I walked into the hotel (we stayed elsewhere - Days Inn), we were asked if we were a part of the wedding. Yes, because I always wear a hooded sweatshirt to a wedding. Oh for goodness sakes…
Here’s most of the Wineglass group. I’m basically in the dead center of this photo, cheesing like a dang fool. We were all stuffed with noodles, tomatoes, and meat-shaped balls at this point of the evening. Jon K. spent a lot of time trying to get the “cool" kids to take a trip to Wal-Mart to buy a pair of cheap gloves for race morning since it was supposed to be cold before the start. I already had a pair with me, so I opted out. I wish that I wouldn’t have because I ended up losing my good running gloves during the marathon. Oh well. I guess that just means that I’ll have to go shopping. ;) I’ll probably go into a store for some gloves and come out with an entire outfit. Runner problems. I get so distracted by bright…"OH MY GOD…A NEON PINK TOP!" Yep. That sums it up. I made sure to get hugs from most of my running family - Michael, Jen, & Alicia. I didn’t have to worry about Lora since we were roomies! They are all special people, and I’m thankful every single day that you guys are a part of my world. The SCRRC has been life changing. These hugs left me feeling pretty emotional, causing me to nearly shed a tear. We all share the same intense passion for the sport of running, so I think I was able to catch a glimpse of that from everyone’s eyes. We may have different goals/abilities, but we still share the same love, and that is truly remarkable.
Mentally, I felt much different than I did the night before the Pittsburgh Marathon. In fact, the whole week leading up to the marathon was different. I trusted my training and enjoyed the taper. I didn’t really suffer from taper madness aside from wanting to eat every carbohydrate in the Tri-state area. Hunger strikes something fierce during taper season. I didn’t feel nervous. I’m sure my new job is to blame for taking my mind off of things, but I was calm, cool, and collected. I even had a time goal, but I refused to let myself switch to freak-out mode.
I laid out all of my gear in preparation for race morning, food included. (My pre-race fuel included 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter, a banana, and 1 Honey Stinger Waffle. I also hydrated with Powerade Zero to top off my electrolyte tank.) Ignore the hat. Didn’t wear it. Ignore the hotel key. No, I didn’t purposely match my socks and shorts and no, I don’t know or want to know what that stain on the chair is.
I managed to sleep for a decent amount of time the night before the marathon, approximately 6 hours. This is by far wayyyyyyyy more sleep than I got before Pittsburgh. Lora and I woke up at 4:30 am, and we both got ready in a reasonable amount of time. We ended up realizing that we woke up too early, and now we were left with a ton of time before we needed to head out. This. Was. Bad. The longer we waited around, the antsier I became. The antsier I became, the more panic stricken I was. I kept standing up, sitting down, fumbling with things that didn’t need to be fumbled with. Long story short, I didn’t know what to do with myself,
and I started getting jittery. Lora was also dealing with nerves because she too was calm until race morning came knocking on our doors. Pent up nerves are not fun. “What if I hit the wall?” “What if I don’t make my time goal?” So many questions flip-flopped in my mind. But, the answers were simple. Mark Shipley, a coach, runner, and wonderful human being, gave us a small piece of advice. “BE STRONGER THAN THE PAIN." Yes, running a marathon will hurt. But, I can’t let my heart give out before my legs. The last 6 miles of the marathon are a glimpse of reality in contrast to the 20 miles of hope. And those last 6 miles should be run with your heart. The heart, of course, is the strongest muscle of the body. It was time for me to put it to good use. As for goal finishing time, I had my ultimate goal and plan B. I dream of the day that I will run a sub-4 marathon, but I knew that I’d be equally as happy with a marathon PR, which at the time, needed to be faster than 4:24:42 - my Pittsburgh Marathon time.
The minutes passed by very slowly, but we eventually decided that it was time to walk over to the finish line to catch a shuttle to the start of the race. This marathon was point-to-point, so we expected a bit of a drive. The bus was super crowded, and we were told to try and fit 3 to a seat ON A YELLOW SCHOOL BUS. On what universe will 3 people fit in a seat of one of these buses? 3 children, maybe. Certainly not 3 adults. There was no magic happening here. But, there was some personal space invasion. I’m just grateful that this was pre-marathon when us runners still smelled relatively fresh.
We arrived to the start of the race about 20 minutes before the gun was scheduled to go off. That left me with just enough time to empty my bladder one last time and drop off my stuff at bag check. I did something different for this race. I wore an old, crummy sweatshirt to toss aside before the start. It was freezing at the start, but the temps were supposed to reach the low-mid 60s around 10 or so. So, there I was once again anticipating the sound of the gun that would lead me into my 26.2 mile adventure. *BANG* My feet shuffled awkwardly as I was trying to avoid stepping on anyone until we all sort of fell into our own spots along the course. This was it. I felt good. The weather was perfect. The course was flat. I only knew one thing for certain, no matter what the morning threw at me, I was going to get myself across that finish line.
**I’m way too detail-oriented for my own good. Part two to come!18 notes
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