Last Weekend of Longer Runs Pre- Marathon…

This weekend was my last weekend of longer runs before the Chicago Marathon next Sunday.

On Saturday, I set out to do an 8 mile run with Bisou.  It was GORGEOUS weather and I could not have asked for a better run!  Since it was a little chilly, I had on a long sleeve shirt that I pulled down over my Garmin so that I would just run how I felt and not obsessively look at my pace.  I could definitely tell when I started to “take it easy” and felt that I kept a pretty good pace- comfortable enough to hold a conversation, but breathing harder.  I also practiced going faster on a few downhills to start my training for Tucson.  I was pretty happy when I got home and saw that my average pace for the 8 miles was 8:20. 🙂

This morning, I met Erin J. for my last “long” training run- 10 miles.  I was a little stiff starting out- I don’t think the fact that it was 37 degrees out at 6:30 this morning helped!  I loosened up after about a mile, but my legs were just tired from the run on Saturday.  I kept telling myself that this is how I’ll feel 17 or 20 miles into the marathon next weekend so I just had to keep going.  That’s what I’ll have to do in the race.  I set out this morning wanting to keep my average pace on this run at 9:15 or better. I’m very happy that we were right on 9:00/mile average for the 10 miles this morning!

What does this mean?  Well, I’ve become a little bit obsessive this close to race day- trying to calculate what pace I can keep during the marathon.  Given that I had an amazing run at 8:20 average yesterday and a run on tired legs today at 9:00 average today, I think I can hold a 9:00/ mile pace next Sunday.  I am going to join the Pace team at the Expo next Saturday and see how it goes!  All I can do is try, right? 🙂

I am at the point where I am starting to get butterflies every time I think about the marathon.  It is ONE week away!  By this time next Sunday, I’ll have finished and be back on my way home to DSM 🙂

I must also have some anxiety about it.  I dreamt last night that I was late, having to jump into the start coral (which, actually did happen last year in Chicago- oops!), that I forgot to wear my Garmin, that I forgot to put the pace tattoo on my arm, basically, that the start was a mess for me.  Thankfully, it was a dream.  And I think I am a little too OCD to forget to wear my Garmin or put the pace tattoo on.  Unfortunately, the being late part, well, that could happen.  Last year, the line for the KYBOs was so long, by the time Tiffany M. and I got through the line, they had closed entrance to the start corral.  We literally jumped over the fence to get inside.  I thought I had ripped my shorts on the top of the fence- brief moment of panic as I imagined running 26.2 miles with my bare bum hanging out!  Sigh of relief when I realized they were, in fact, not ripped 🙂  Whew!  Makes for a memorable beginning to my first marathon though and one that I will not forget.  The upside to that story is that I was so nervous about getting into the corral, I did not have time be nervous about the race I was actually about to start.

What else am I obsessing about right now?  How to stay fueled and hydrated during the race.  Last year, I peed THREE times during the race- I obviously was well hydrated and I do not want to add time on by stopping at the KYBO along the course 3 times again.  I am going to wear my water bottle belt so that I don’t have to waste time going through the water lines.  Obviously, I will have to stop to refill, that should theoretically be one or two stops, rather than a stop every few miles.  I am also going to bring Hammer Gels with me to fuel with and one packet of Jelly Belly Sport Beans.  But, how often should I take these supplements to stay fueled and keep my energy up?  So much to figure out!!

Tomorrow I begin “tapering”- which means I will drop my miles considerably this week in order to give my body rest and let my legs recover for the marathon.  I will do 3 miles in the pool tomorrow, 3 miles outside Tuesday, and then 2 miles on Friday and then… Friday night I’ll be headed to Chi-town!

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