This taper has thus far, been excellent. I’ve been resting, sleeping a ton, eating mostly healthy and executing workouts as planned. This past weekend was a my version of a perfect rest weekend. 11 hour and 9 hours of sleep Friday and Saturday respectively. Relaxation massage (free thanks to a leftover massage I had from a previously purchased package). Final call with Maria to hash out my race plan. Recovery spin. Dinner party with stress-relieving laughs with girlfriends. 60 minutes (which felt like 2 hours) of stretching with Tony Horton’s P90X X-Stretch. Plenty of time on the couch. A serene walk on the beach at Sunset on Saturday before a healthy dinner and movie night on the couch. A final long run with Mike to keep me company. Race visualization.
I even practiced my day before the race carbo loading meal. In the past I’ve ended up eating somewhat irregular foods compared to my day to day diet in the days leading up to the marathon in order to stock up my glycogen stores while also avoiding fiber (think: pancakes, big breakfasts likely cooked in butter, sugary bagels with sugary cream cheese, cookies, JUNK). Going into this race, I’m sticking to what I know. I’m staying with a friend in Phoenix so I have the luxury of a kitchen. My new day before the race breakfast is going to be two scrambled eggs, a large portion of sweet potato hash (made with olive oil not butter) and a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and banana (which is also my pre-race breakfast). I tested this out on Saturday and washed it down with Nuun (also in my pre-race plan) and felt great. I didn’t feel heavy or bogged down as I have in the past.
Everything is locked and loaded. My race plan is firmly planted in my head. I’ve read as many Phoenix marathon race reports as I could get my hands on and they all confirmed what Maria’s race plan has me doing – HOLDING BACK during the opening 4 miles which have a serious decline. Save the energy, save the quads. My race plan discussion with Maria went well and I came out of it feeling good about what I need to do.
However, the weather has shaken me a bit. I can’t help it. Currently Phoenix is predicted to be expecting a storm on Saturday morning. In some ways this is good (lower temperatures – high of low 70s instead of mid 80s). In others , it’s bad (rain and worse – 17mph head winds). I was really hoping that with the worst case scenario already behind me (not BQing once), my nerves would be less going into this race. Unfortunately that’s not the case due to this weather. I’m actually GLAD that I looked on the 10 day forecast to see the weather instead of looking the day before the race because it’s given me a chance to go through a few phases – first shock, second fear, third denial, and now, acceptance. The weather forecast is holding steady. A storm might be coming BUT IT WON’T BRING ME DOWN. I looked to blogs, Twitter and Instagram for support this morning and was able to find a few examples of people who have raced in less than stellar weather and come out victorious, whether it be a PR or a BQ. So, it can be done. Not to mention, I found people who have raced in much worse conditions (CIM 2012 – torrential downpour and 40 mph winds) which helps me take this little desert storm a bit less seriously. I’ve also been reminded that “you can’t predict the weather,” hence the phrase. Who knows if weather.com even know what it’s talking about.
This is why I’ve trained my mind to be strong – and this will be a test. It might make the race less comfortable but my goal can still be achieved. Or, who knows, maybe the clouds will part and all this plotting and planning about how to handle wind (hide in the hopefully massive 3:35 pace group) and rain (slater my feet in lube) be unnecessary. But, at least I’ve conquered those fears now instead of worrying about it on race day. All scenarios have crossed my mind and now it’s just time to see which one goes down. And I won’t let myself think of any scenario that doesn’t involve me crossing that finish line under 3:35.
How do you spend the weekend before a big race? Do you have a go-to the morning before a race carboloading breakfast? Have you ever ran a race in a storm and achieved your goal?!