Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Get set...

You know what the best thing is about having a crappy taper and a mental meltdown over a short-lived injury? It’s allowed me to set aside a huge chunk of my ego, particularly the part which controls goal setting.

I’m not saying I no longer have a goal for this marathon. I do, but it really is down to the bare bones. It is what it should have always been. I want to finish, plain and simple. I don’t care what the clock says when I cross the finish line. Whether it says 4:55 or 5:55, it doesn’t diminish the fact that I will still have run 26.2 miles, a feat almost none of my real life acquaintances have ever entertained let alone attempted.

I will be a marathoner. I will be a birthday girl. I’ll be able to eat my weight in gelato with only a modicum of guilt. Life will be good.

But the simplification of my goal doesn’t mean I’ve thrown my race strategy out the window. On the contrary, it’s the glue holding my crazy ass together.

The Florence marathon provides pace leaders, a first for me in a race. The slowest pace group they have is for a 5 hour finish, which equates to an 11:27 per mile pace. This is the group I’m hanging with at the start and, hopefully, for the duration of the race. I’ve run nearly all my training runs on my own, but the idea of a pace group sounds wonderful to me. I won’t need to obsess about how fast I’m going. I’ll just keep up with the people around me, leaving me able to enjoy the scenery and soak up the experience since I won’t be looking at my watch every five seconds.

If at any point I feel like I can no longer keep up with the pace group and need a walk break, I will switch over to Plan B: run for 10 minutes and walk for 1. Being on my own, I’ll need to be able to cut down the marathon into smaller chunks, because if I think about the entire distance I have left to run I’ll just end up weeping. But since I’ll probably be too dehydrated to shed tears, it’ll look more like I’m dry heaving and that, while also being severely unattractive, is not conducive to running.

This strategy, though making me very dependent on my watch, will hopefully distract me from focusing in on the distance I have left—a possible spirit killer depending on where I am in the race.

Other incidentals in my race day preparations:
-Don’t drink truckloads of water within three hours of my bedtime on the night before the race in order to prevent me from waking up frequently during the night to relieve my bladder.
-Use the port-a-loos at least three times before the race starts. An empty bladder is a priority issue for me.
-Eat a good breakfast two hours before the race start. I don’t want to be running with a lead weight in my tummy as I have done on several of my training runs.
-Apply BodyGlide to any part of my body that has even the remotest chance of chafing.
-Pin emergency gummy bears supply to my pants/shorts. (I haven’t decided which to wear yet.)
-Remember how unbelievably fortunate I am to be hale and whole and have the opportunity to run in Italy.

Anything I’m forgetting?


Lily on the Road said...

Just this,

Finish upright and smiling!!!

You are so ready for this marathon, now go kick ass, dig deep when you need to and know this....



Big Hugs from, well you know....

Brooke said...

Have fun!! I am soooo jealous it isn't even funny :( yeah, not only are you attempting something few of your aquaintances have even considered, probably none of them considered (or attempted) a marathon in another country. I hope the course is so beautiful! And I'm with you on the bladder issue! I go at least three times. It's funny when I think of this marathon you're doing I imagine racers stopping for cappaccinos instead of Gu...how ridiculous. I must need mroe sleep!

Viv said...

You have a great stragedy in place. Remind me of it if i ever decide to take the plunge...oh scratch plunge I am not helping here.

You have the right mindset for this first one. It is all about finishing a marathoner! Your birthday too shiz I missed that. What an awesome day to complete your first marathon and in Italy. Awesome!!

OK if I forget to shoot ya an email or come by later because I am a terrible blogging bud on Thanksgiving week. Have a great time, finish with a smile as all things should be finished. Even stike a pose at the finish line like a pose. Like a gyminist who nailed tha landing kind of pose :-)

BeachRunner said...

Have fun and try to enjoy every moment of this amazing experience.

Jess said...

Ego is the biggest hurdle to get over in running. I know exactly what you mean.

Merry said...

Don't forget to breath, 'k?

Nitmos said...

Someone once told me to treat the marathon as your victory lap. You've already done the stressful training. The race should be run loose and relaxed and with a smile. Good Luck!

RazZDoodle said...

You're running a marathon? Have you even trained for it?

I agree with Nitmos. In fact, I was probably the one who told him about the victory lap thing.

tfh said...

Great goals-- it's your birthday, and you best have as much fun as someone possibly can while running a marathon. Dry heaving in sorrow on your birthday is, ahem, not unheard of, but you're in Florence! your sister will be there! gelato! These things call for happy tears only.

And frankly, you could come on this blog and not even TELL US your finishing time and I wouldn't care-- finishing the Florence Marathon is just such a cool, wonderful, unique thing. I'm glad you know that!

X-Country2 said...

Having run my first marathon two days ago, I can honestly tell you that it wasn't nearly as dramatic as I thought it would be.

I doubted my training, my ability, my plan, my everything. 26.2 miles later-- I did it. And you will too! :o)

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Since everybody else seems to've covered all the important stuff, I'm going to use my comment to ask you about this "crazy ass glue" you speak of. Here in America, we have, how you say?, crazy glue, but this glue that is crazy of ass, it intrigues me, no? Speak of you more on it, for please.

But seriously: What everyone else said. You'll be great and we'll all be a-waitin yer great report. I'll be sitting right here the whole time, mostly because I accidentally put some crazy ass glue on my seat and, for a product made by Italians, MAN, that stuff really WORKS!!

Good luck, sister.

Viper said...

Avoid death at all costs. If you think you might die, don't. Good luck.

P.S., It seems the current pope isn't much of a beer fan. Upon opening the first beer (even though it was a screw-off) with the Popener, Benedict jumped ship. Pope Benedict? More like Benedict Arnold! Jean Paul is still with us though. Cheers!

Marcy said...

I think that was one of the BEST things I did and I'm glad you're going to as well :-) Forgetting about time matters. It takes away from the fun (at least for me) when you're constantly looking at the watch, griping at yourself, not really enjoying anything around you. Just finish this bitch! And then next time we'll talk about time goals ;-)

And remember to smile and love it! ;D ;D

I can't wait to see your report!! YAYA!

Jenn said...

Good luck GF! Happy Birthday! Have some fun and lots of gelato, we will be rootin' for ya!


MCM Mama said...

Sounds like an excellent strategy! Good luck and I can't wait to hear all aobut it.

The Happy Runner said...

Have fun! Enjoy your first marathon -- and that gelato afterward.

Hope you have a great time.

Laura said...

Good luck! You are SO set and I can't wait to hear how it goes. I second the recommendation to have some gelato after :)

RunToFinish said...

Ohhh I love Italy.. I'd probably do awful in a race there just staring at all the wonderous things around me, I'd be so distracted. I say completely a marathon is in itself an amazing feat never to be underscored by a clock... of course I also cried last time I didn't hit my goal, so who am I to talk. :)

Good luck and you've got the right attitude!

*aron* said...

HAVE FUN AND GOOD LUCK!!! wow what an amazing place for a first marathon! soak up EVERY second! cant wait to read how it goes!! good luck this weekend!!!!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing more exciting than the few days before one's first marathon...ENJOY!!!

I, too, am eagerly anticipating the race report.

Good luck, and have fun.

Ted said...

Truthfully... I wish I could fly out to Florence to cheer you on. I really mean it. It sounds like you got everything all in order. You have a phenomenal attitude. No matter what your time will be as long as you cross the finish line, that's all it matter. You will be a Marathoner once you cross the line. The feeling you will get is truly unbelievable.

joyRuN said...


Definitely, enjoy the 26.2 - I regret that my first was such a blur.

You're gonna be awesome :)