I really thought my winter break from school would be a bit more relaxing, but for some reason my schedule still seems pretty busy. Right now, there are renovations going on at our house. We've been out there searching for the perfect house in the 'burbs every weekend and are gradually getting the list narrowed down. So, the point of all the renovations is to get our house ready to go on the market. Oh, how I am going to miss the short commute that goes with living in town! Sigh.
I have been on the treadmill. Mostly walking. Not as often as I'd like, thanks to the kiddo refusing to go to sleep before 10 pm. I may need to call in Super Nanny Jo, because there are nights when I want to pull out my hair. LOL!
As we get closer and closer to Sunday's Houston Marathon, I started thinking of all the nervousness, excitement and anticipation that I would normally be feeling this week. At a cafe during lunch today, I overheard a girl talking about the marathon this weekend. It's her first. I have to admit that I am a bit envious. I miss that nervous excitement and I will miss the feeling of accomplishment that happens afterwards. So, I thought I would dust off this post from last year with some tips for running this Sunday. To everyone who is participating in the 1/2 or full on Sunday - GOOD LUCK!!!
From last year....
Okay, so I am no elite athlete or running guru, but if this is your 1st time running a marathon, I have been in your shoes! I remember my 1st marathon day vividly. While it was definitely difficult, I can say with certainty that it changed my life forever. If I have a chance, I'll tell you more about the experience later this week. For now, here are a few things that I've learned along the way...
- Try not to obsess about the marathon, but realize it's perfectly normal if you do. I do this for every marathon, not just for my first. You will read and re-read every inspirational e-mail and every list of tips and advice. You will have all these tips memorized and will be able to recite them all as you run on Sunday. :-) Before Chicago, I watched this over and over again, too.
- Try hard not to freak out. I know the marathon is probably consuming your thoughts right now, so that's easier said than done. But try to throw yourself into your work if you can, because the last thing you need to do is worry.
- Think about what you want to wear on race day now. Be sure to think about what you would wear if it's colder/warmer than expected. You will probably change your mind 2-3 times between now & then, only to revert back to your original plan.
- Check out this support map at the Katy Fit website. It's awesome! My hubby has used it every year to figure out where he's going to meet me and how to get there.
- It's your 1st marathon! Gather all your friends and family and tell them where to meet you on the route. Chances are, you've run a 21 miler and know where you could have used an extra boost. There areas where I needed a pep talk were - between mile 18 & 19 in Tanglewood, miles 22 on Memorial and anywhere on Allen Parkway.
- Print out a pace band here. No, print out two - one with your "ideal" finish time and one with your "not so ideal" finish time. With the world of Garmins we live in, you probably have a Garmin and don't need to wear the band. However, if you are math challenged like me, you can use these to estimate where you will be at each mile and write it on the above mentioned map. Then, give the maps to your support crew. They will thank you for not making them wait for hours to see you jog by.
- On Saturday, plan to pick up your race packet early before all the crowds hit. Then, do something you find relaxing. I like to catch a movie. It helps take my mind off the race...for a couple of hours at least.
- It's race morning. At the GRB, you will see people you don't know doing stretches you've never seen before. Don't attempt to try them out now...stick to what you've been doing all along.
- Also at the GRB, you will probably have to pee right before it's time to start the race...even if you just went 2 minutes ago. The port-a-cans outside the GRB usually have shorter lines than those inside.
- You're going to see some crazy stuff along the way - men peeing on the side of the road after the turn between mile 2 & 3, ladies in the heights jumping up and down with cowbells, a priest sprinkling holy water on Main (get some, it can't hurt), Elvis & Marilyn Monroe near the Galleria at mile 16, Belly Dancers around 610 & Memorial, Cheeseheads on Allen Parkway....don't be too focused the race and your pace - enjoy it and laugh a little!
- Along with the crazy stuff you see, people you don't know will offer you some crazy food. Obviously, some of these folks are not runners. I've been offered everything from candy & cookies to bananas & oranges to tuna sandwiches & donuts.
- Let's face it, you're running 26.2 miles...there will be times when you are hurting. You will question your sanity. You will swear you will never run another *&+@#$ marathon! You WILL want to cuss out the next person who says "Lookin' Good!" or "You're almost there" (at mile 8)! Try to remember these folks don't have to be out there at all - thank them kindly, smile or wave...then cuss them out in your head or under your breath.
- Along the same lines, I probably don't have to tell you this, but be sure to say hello and thanks to the policemen and volunteers out there too.
- When you're feeling tired, find a little kid in the crowd at give him/her a high five. Miraculously, you feel better and it gives you a boost of energy you didn't have before.
- Allen Parkway will seem like it's a million miles long. You've run this path before hundreds of times, so keep reminding yourself that you will eventually get there....really, you will!
- When you get downtown, just take it one block at a time...you are there - the home stretch. At this point you don't want to take another step, but you know you can. The roaring crowds are right around the corner. When you finally see them, you will think they are a beautiful mirage. I assure you they are REAL.
- The closer you get to the finish, the faster you will want to run. You are probably not running that fast and your finish photo will be proof of that, but hey it feels like you are. :-)
- When you cross the finish line, you may feel like laughing or you may feel like crying. Hell, you may feel like doing both at the same time. Go with it...it's normal. Savor the moment..you have just become A MARATHONER!
- When you are done, you will not want to take your medal off....DON'T! You've earned it, you have bragging rights. Only take it off when you shower. Yes, you can even sleep with it on if you want to.
- Set your VCR/DVR/TiVo to record the special KTRK Houston Marathon special. It airs at 10:30 pm, after the news...you most likely will not be awake. It's fun to watch.