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The Weekly Mile: Week 25 (Planning for Success)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

So in case you haven't figured it out by this point, I'm running a marathon this week.

No seriously. I'm running a marathon. (Sometimes I have to repeat things to myself to make sure they're sinking in.) I'm running a marathon.

P.S. Taper Madness is a real thing. It exists. And it's a TOTAL mind f#$%. There, I said it.

If I can give you ANY advice at all for a successful taper it is this:


(Except maybe this blog.)

Cause here's the thing: everything you read is going to make you think you're unprepared, a total failure, not going to finish, not this, not that, etc. etc. etc. And at this point in my life - that's the LAST feeling I need to be having. According to Hal Higdon, I'm exhibiting 6 of the 7 signs of being "overtrained". According to some article that popped up in one of those sidebar search things (you think I've written the word "Marathon" enough to alert the cyberbots to start pegging me for running stuff?), the only way to avoid hitting The Wall and making it through those final 6.2 miles is by doing stuff that I should have started WEEKS ago. Every little discomfort, or niggle or twinge in your body makes you think you're incapable of running 2 miles let alone 26.2 miles. And when you're "exhausted" at the end of 8 miles, it's easy to think that tripling that distance is going to be next to impossible. So is it really too late for me?

Never. I'm planning for success and nothing but success. LOTUSFLOWER can attest to that. She's one of the lucky people on the receiving end of "Jenn's Marathon Route Plan", complete with maps, and Public Transit directions, and fun runner's slang. (I blame the taper madness for that).

But here's the thing you really need to know - you've made it this far. You are as prepared as you can be. So - like Nike says - Just. Do. It.

Well...just do it, on Sunday. Getting there is about 95% of the battle right now. My brain is on overdrive and it really is having an affect on my eating, my rest, and my tiny training runs - all of which are still very important. So what am I doing? Planning...and more planning, and planning still....for success.

My parents have received a schedule for the weekend. My mom has already commenting that she doesn't believe I have scheduled time for her to pee in there, but it's fairly concise. It's what I do when I'm nervous. I plan, and I organize, and I attempt to control every last inch of what I CAN control. But we all know that you can't control everything, and that is the hardest part about letting go and just, doing it.

But for the things that I CAN control and for those of you who are interested, here's a mile by mile breakdown of my plan for Sunday.

The Gear: Weather reports are in and it looks like the Gods are being kind to us this year (a big thanks to any of you who have been praying for this - I couldn't be happier). 54 degrees and sunny. The event warning system is a big GREEN for "Go!" - which means ideal conditions for running a marathon. I will be wearing an identical tank to the one I wore for my half marathon, only it's a turquoise green, 3/4 running pants, and a white cap. I'm forgoing the sweat band under the cap this time cause it should be cool enough that the cap can function to pick up forehead sweat. It took me forever to choose my pants, honestly because my legs are so short and chunky that I need a pant that is tight enough to support, long enough to cover, and loose enough to be comfortable. Plus I was finding that all the synthetic tech gear pants were causing my shirts to ride up and be totally annoying. But after my 4 miler tonight in my full race wear, I'm confident I have chosen the right pair.

The Fuel: I tried the Clif Shot Blocks on my last 14 miler and I really like them, but my fuel for choice this weekend will still be GU. It's what I've been training with, and I finally found a flavour combo that I dig: vanilla first, followed by berry, followed by mint chocolate. Since the flavour stays with you a LONG time, you gotta like it. When running my 20 miler, I opted to switch out one GU fueling for a Gatorade instead and it worked nicely, so my plan is to do that again if I'm feeling it. I will also be heading for a banana at Mile 21 if I think I can handle solid food since I just feel like that's a good plan and I might possibly benefit from the potassium boost at that point. I always take a Salt Stick before my long runs, so I will do that again here, but had terrible luck with taking another one mid-run. I will carry one on me in case I feel like I need it, but I find they make me WAY too thirsty and I get cramps if I take in too much water. My water plan is 2 cups at a time. One cup is for rinsing only - if I take a GU I use one cup of water to rinse the residue from it out of my mouth and spit it out. Then one cup to drink about 3 swallows max. It keeps me hydrated, but not feeling too "waterlogged".

The Aid Stations: There are 20 Aid Stations on the course, and my plan right now is to take a short walk break through all of them. They are about 2 city blocks in length, so I won't need to or want to walk that much at the beginning of the race, but by the end I'll be using them as my "oasis" points for a short reprieve. I will be fueling at Mile 5.8 (GU), Mile 12.5 (GU), Mile 17.8 (Gatorade), Mile 20.9 (Banana) and then deciding if I need anything else through any of the following 4 stops (1 per mile) between there and the finish.

The Crew: I am lucky to have a support team of about 15 people who will be divided into smaller groups and hopscotching the entire city to see me. I am so utterly grateful for this support, I can't even tell you. I am prepared for an emotional day - just how emotional I have no idea until I get there, but I have heard that when the weather is good, the crowds can be deafening. This is one of those things that I can't control, but a wise word of advice from a fellow runner and marathoner tonight was: "Just control your adrenaline - breathe and save it up for when you need it." So that, I will try to do. No easy feat, I assure you.

The Pace: Still aiming for a 12 min per mile pace although I know I'm going to be faster at the beginning and WAY slower at the end. I'll do what I can, but I am aiming to finish in 5:30 or less. We'll see. This by far is the least of my worries. Just finishing the race is all I'm really there for.

So there you have it. The Marathon Plan. And the Official, official end to my training. Between now and Sunday I have one 2 mile run, just to keep the muscles limber and ready to rock. I'll spend tomorrow night in the pool and the hot tub, just easy swimming, and then I have one final appointment with my chiropractor and massage therapist on Friday.

And now...the excitement builds!

Week 25 Schedule (Completed):

Mon - 4 miles
Tue - Rest
Wed - Massage Therapy & 6 Miles
Thu - Rest
Fri - 3 miles
Sat - 8 miles
Sun - Rest

Total Weekly Miles: 21
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 3227
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: 185

Week 26 Schedule:

Mon - 3 miles
Tue - 4 miles
Wed - Swim
Thu - 2 miles
Fri - Chiro/Massage
Sat - Rest
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