Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Marathon Week Madness

Well, folks, it's finally here. Marathon week. If you look over there ----> at the countdown clock, you'll see that it's less than 5 days now. At this moment, 5 days from now, I will be done with my marathon (if all goes well, that is).

Remember my discussion on Taper Madness? Well, Marathon Week Madness is a subset of Taper Madness - a more acute, more panicky, crazier subset of Taper Madness. See, I'm still tapering. But instead of thinking about my random aches and pains, and wondering if I'm losing my ability to run long distances, I find myself thinking, instead, about race preparation, and what-if scenarios. "Oh that's a good thing! It's good to be prepared," you say. Ha! It's one thing to be prepared. It's another thing entirely to be obsessive.

The first element of Marathon Week Madness is the packing list. There's nothing unusual about making a packing list before going on a trip, right? But what if said list looks like this:

Running Gear
  1. CW-X Shorts
  2. CW-X Capris
  3. CW-X Long tights
  4. Runner's World Challenge short-sleeve shirt
  5. Pink Nike sleeveless shirt
  6. Purple Adidas tank top
  7. Black arm sleeves
  8. Injinji rainbow toe socks
  9. Under Armour socks
  10. Green Nike shoes
  11. Grey Nike shoes
  12. Large amphipod (fanny pack)
  13. Small amphipod
  14. Road ID necklace
  15. Garmin watch
  16. iPod armband
  17. Earbuds
  18. Under Armour black sports bra
  19. Nike white sports bra
  20. black headband
  21. pink headband
  22. Adidas windbreaker
  23. sunglasses
  24. Sharkies
  25. Bonk Breaker bars
  26. Oatmeal, cinnamon, raisins, bananas, and green tea bags
  27. Lucky Harry Potter mug

Non-running stuff
  1. Clothes
  2. Toiletries

Might I mention that we'll be in Cincinnati for a whole weekend. I will be running for less than 10% of the total time we'll be there. And yet nearly 95% of my packing list is extremely detailed running-related gear. Well, in my defense, all the experts say you need to show up to the marathon prepared for all possible conditions!

And speaking of race conditions... that brings us to Marathon Week Madness element #2. The weather. Despite all of my best attempts, I cannot control the weather. Indeed, it seems as race day approaches, the weather controls me. I have been checking the extended forecast since late last week. It is not good. Not good at all. The entire weekend will be cloudy and rainy. Which, by itself, is not bad. In fact, that's decent marathon-running weather (as long as it doesn't rain hard). But for Sunday, race day, the forecast calls for thunderstorms. As we all learned in grade school, thunder is caused by lightning. And as we all learned in race director school, lightning equals a canceled race. My number one fear for this race is not that I won't be able to finish the distance. It's that's I won't even get the chance to finish the distance.

It is a rare occasion for a marathon to be canceled. But it does happen. Just last weekend the Nashville Country Music Marathon was ended early due to severe weather. Over half of the people who showed up to run the full marathon were unable to finish the distance, and were diverted to either the half-marathon course, or a 20 mile course. For anyone who poured their heart and soul into 4+ months of training and was told they couldn't finish, it must have been simply devastating. But I guess it's better to not finish a race than it is to get struck by lightning. Marginally. Maybe. Frankly, I think I'd be willing to take my chances with the lightning. I just hope Mother Nature cuts us a little slack this weekend so that I don't have to bust out my mad lightning-dodging skills. If the weather does cause race-day difficulties, I guess I can drown my sorrows in a Graeter's brownie sundae.

Which brings us to the final element of Marathon Week Madness: food. I think about food a lot under normal circumstances. But during marathon week, I must plan my food with great precision. When we get to Cincinnati, I will know where we are eating, what I am ordering, and when we are eating for pretty much every meal. Obsessive? Maybe. But food is fuel and I intend to fuel up on high-octane stuff before my race. I have mapped out all the restaurants and how to get to them from the hotel. I have looked at menus online to decide what I will be ordering. And perhaps most importantly, I have decided what indulgent and delicious meal to have for the post-race victory dinner. That particular meal is not about high-octane fuel, but about gluttony, pure and simple. After all, it wouldn't be a Flying Pig marathon without an appropriate post-race pig out. *oink oink*

But I can't really think about the post-race meal just yet, because I have a bunch more stuff I still need to add to the Running Gear section of my packing list....

Peace. Love. Train.

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