My blog has been pretty dull lately and that is simply because I am SO busy! I guess that is much better than having a boring life right? Anyway, I can’t believe that we are only 6 weeks away from LA Marathon! Seriously, can you believe it? With that in mind, it is time to prepare for other things…
Every marathon I run has to be meticulously planned – yes, things happen and I will tweak things here and there but overall there is a lot of time spent on just planning the darn thing – far more than the training schedule. This marathon (LA Marathon) kicked off with a 20-week training plan, and most recently I have been experiencing with gels since my stomach is acting all sorts of funky lately. Seriously, it is making weird noises as I type! With only a short amount of time and plenty to do including Surf City Half, Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 10k, a move to a new apartment, testing out my new racing shoes and purchasing my new outfit (say what you will but I can’t race in the same thing twice), I really don’t have much time for else. The next point of attack is making a list of things that I cannot be without the morning of the race. As silly as it sounds, there is no need to stress yourself out at the last minute since you already have so much on your mind. Give yourself a little break and prepare ahead of time.
Having said this, I thought I would put my simple list of 5 things I can’t do without on race day but that list quickly turned into 7!
Here are the things you won’t catch me without at LA Marathon:
1. ROAD ID ANKLET ID (www.roadid.com) – Seriously, this is one of the most important things I depend on whenever I am running and you should look into getting one too. Better safe than sorry!
Did I grab everything?
I have always considered myself a simple runner. The only things I ever needed for any run or race were a watch, sports bra, shorts that don’t climb and shoes. I wish I could say that was still the case but it isn’t, in fact I literally have to take time each day and prepare my running bag for the next scheduled workout: outfit, shoes, tape for my PF, Garmin watch/heart rate monitor (not to mention I have to charge this the night before), ipod, sunblock and recovery drink. (Sometimes the preparation actually takes longer than the run itself!) While I would love to reduce the amount of things I need, I don’t want to be without any of them, especially the watch and shoes.
Sometimes I feel like people really do too much for me. Today I was surprised when my good friend gave me some special gifts for the holiday. Besides feeling a little overwhelmed, a part of me thought I must be a running freak or something — let me tell you what I got:
- KT Tape – Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape (almost always referred to as Kinesio Tape)
- Book – Once a Runner
- Book – The Runner’s Literary Companion: Great Stories and Poems About Running
- Movie – Running on the Sun
- Jamba Juice gift card
This person knows me so well — the tape was definitely needed. I have been using some other cheap stuff to tape my arches (plantar) and I didn’t really want pay $12 for a roll! The cheap stuff I use has worked surprisingly well but using this stuff feels like putting on new socks. Do you know what I mean?
The books, well I’m excited to have them and I can’t wait to read them. I have to first finish The Vampire Chronicles and I am only on the second of 7 (The Vampire Lestat).
Leading up to my marathon, I watched a lot of running movies and videos including Spirit of the Marathon and this was on my list. I know someone who plans on running Badwater so Running on the Sun was definitely next on my list.
The gift card — well I am a Jamba Juice and Robek’s Juice junkie. I already used the card and enjoyed my Berry Topper.
Seriously, that was so nice, but I would have been happy with a card (well, a running card). JK
Wow. It feels light a lot of pressure has been taken off my chest since finishing CIM. Until yesterday, that was my only focus and I was a anxious trying to understand what it would be like, what would happen and so on. Now I can put the focus on LA and relax…a little.
I would have to first say thanks to all of you who gave me marathon tips — they really helped!
I went into the race confident; I was proud of my training and I really spent a lot of time preparing for the race. This preparation also included an understanding that anything can happen in a marathon no matter how you prepare. I wasn’t nervous like I normally would be in a competition, but I did think on occasion what it would be like when I got past mile 20 (since that was the longest distance I covered in training).
The night before I prepared all my gear for the morning so I could wake up early to actually enjoy my breakfast and stay focused instead of worrying about my lost socks or my Garmin being charged. When I went to get on the bus that took us to the course, I couldn’t find the bus ticket that I purchased the day before at the expo – I was so scared but luckily, they never checked. Race time was 7 and our bus arrive a little after six. It was FREEZING — I am talking 28 degrees with wind! There was only enough time for one port-a-potty break before it was show time. I downed one Gu and was off.
My original goal for this race was 3:40 and I knew that I could run faster since most of my long runs were just over 8:00 pace, but I knew a part of that thinking was my ego so I decided to start near the 3:35 pace group. I must mention that three months ago I had changed most of my PW’s for various personal accounts that included something to do with my really deep-down goal of 3:30. That reminder kept pulling at me…3:30, 3:30, it would be so nice if I could just run 3:30… After three miles I decided to change groups and ran near the 3:30 pace group. This pace was really comfortable and for the longest time the combined average pace was 8:01. I ran with them until mile 10. I decided then, that the race was starting to feel like a normal training day, so I threw off my sweatshirt and picked it up. I knew that every time I picked it up, there was a chance I could hit the wall, but I wasn’t laboring at all — I was so relaxed, looking straight ahead and I kept saying, “please legs, be nice to Tracy.” After I left them, I didn’t think about my finishing time whatsoever, I just looked at my pace and tried to stay between 7:40 and 7:45. By mile 20 I decided that again I would pick it up and try to stay around 7:30 pace. I was waiting for my legs to get tired but luckily they never did. I just tried to catch any woman I saw in front of me and tried not to get passed by anyone. I was smiling (at least in my mind) when I made the last turn to the women’s side of the chute. I couldn’t wait to see my friends that had traveled so far to see me.
Let me make one thing clear — I know this was a fast course. Carlsbad, LA, Big Sur or any other race could be a totally different experience. For me, I am most excited that I didn’t hit the wall, cramp-up or injure myself. That was enough for me to feel accomplished.
Here is what I think helped me the most:
- Sticking with a program. Until RR (LA Roadrunners), I was following Hal Higdon’s Advanced II workouts. The point here is not which program I followed, it was that I followed them as much as I could, only adjusting where I felt necessary. This was something that reminded me that I was ready. I didn’t even think once about what I didn’t do in preparation, it was more about what I DID do. It kept the negative thoughts out of my head.
- Hydration/Fuel. I made sure to hydrate appropriately at most of the drink stations and used about four Gu’s (not too mention salty margarita Clif Shot Blocks).
- Training partners/Running groups. Every runner that I have encountered, especially RR, had had a wonderful impact on me. It really helps to be around positive influences.
- Mileage/pace tracking device. My Garmin Forerunner (405) is by far the best purchase I have made. Like a training schedule, it really helps you know where you are in training. Before this, I felt like I tried to convince myself that I ran X amount of miles in X amount of time. Deep down I knew I could be full sh_t because I couldn’t really track it.
- Race preparation. I tried to eliminate small things that could have big repercussions the day of the race – like preparing gear ahead of time, Gu, etc.
Oh, and I cannot forget my sweet friend Janel who ran the relay, not to mention Emory who drove from Los Angeles and Asi who drove from San Francisco to watch me run.