Monday, May 28, 2012

Marathon Training Weeks 10-17: T-Minus 6 days!

I can't believe it, but I only have 2 runs remaining before the marathon on Sunday. Ahhh! I have finally been tapering in the past week, which is a welcome relief after running a couple 5-8 mile runs during the week and a 12-20 mile run on the weekend. As my runs have decreased in length, it has been harder and harder to find the motivation to run. But I think that's somewhat normal as it has taken so much focus to do the hard part of the training and now I'm starting to relax. As I reflect back on the last 8 weeks of training I remember...

Believe me, my shoes are really barefoot shoes. I was out running on the trails during my first 20 mile run and saw another runner running in the Vibram Five Fingers. I was so excited I exclaimed "Hey! I'm a barefoot runner too!"After giving me (and my barefoot shoes) a glance over he said "Oh, you must have left your barefoot shoes at home."I was slightly devastated by his one-sided barefoot shoe view and quickly came to my barefoot shoe brand's defense. My "shoes" have zero drop just like Vibrams and are only slightly thicker in the sole (2mm) and slightly heavier (1oz per shoe). In addition, my Vivo Barefoot Neos have absolutely no arch support, whereas some Vibrams have some arch support built in. I am really proud of how far I've come - from motion control running shoes and orthotics to shoes that are more like slippers without any support. This marathon will count as a barefoot marathon!

Solving the nutrition puzzle. In past marathons I have used GU gels, sports beans, and Cliff shot blocks as calorie boosters during the race - usually starting at mile 5 and spaced every 4 miles after that. Unfortunately, my body has NOT liked these options this time around. I think they might be too sugary and I'm not processing them as well. I have also been puzzled about what to eat before the race, as my body has not like the typical toast, fruit, water, and coffee. What should I do? I have found some less sugary options (honey stinger waffles) and may try the suggestion of baked potato sprinkled with some salt or some nuts (almonds). I may just end up winging it and put a variety of options in Renzo's backpack so that I can listen to what my body needs/wants, but if you have suggestions I would love to hear them!

I am ready. I am ready? This always happens. You start training for a race and it seems so far away. You are so focused on putting in the miles and just making it through each day's run that the race day sneaks up on you. Your body is so tired from all the training that you wonder if you've tapered enough and at the right time. As my brother said this past weekend "You've run two 20-mile runs. You can definitely finish a marathon!" And he's right. I've done this 3 times before and I know I can do it again. My goal, as always, is to enjoy the day and have fun. It's not worth it to me to spend 4 months training and then hate the experience - although I know the hill at mile 20-21 will not be fun.

Next time you hear from me I hope to have a marathon finisher's medal around my neck!