The marathon is tomorrow. TOMORROW. And though we are battle-scarred, we are ready. Our last group run was last Saturday, and we all went out to eat breakfast with each other. It was a lot like the last day of high school. I couldn’t believe how much I was going to miss waking up early to run with these incredible people.
Like I mentioned in my entry several weeks ago, marathon training changes you – not only physically, but emotionally. I didn’t mention that it also changes your food cravings. For just about my entire training period, I did not crave any fast food or greasy food. It’s as if my body knew how much work I was putting into staying in shape, and craved only good, wholesome, delicious food.
In the past month or so, I’ve been exploring vegetarian options – not that I want to be a full-time vegetarian, but I’ve never really been adventurous in terms of trying the cuisine. A couple of weeks ago, I tried a veggie burger for the first time ever. It was AMAZING. I could not believe how delicious and tasty it was. I gobbled that sucker up. I’ve tried a black burger as well, and that was really good too.
However, by Halloween weekend, it’s almost as if my body was threw up a white flag and said, “Ok, woman. You’ve fed me well for months. TIME TO CHEAT. NOW!” I had a hamburger that Friday night with half of a milkshake (I couldn’t finish the rest, and gave it to my friend.) On Saturday night, I had pizza. On Sunday, I was craving Whataburger so badly. If y’all don’t know what Whataburger is, I feel sorry for you. It’s only the best fast food ever. I only crave Whataburger like once every six months, but when I do, I always get the chicken sandwich with fries. It is divine.
And all the training, naturally, wears on your body. It’s not a question of “if” you’ll get injured – it’s “when.” On one of my last group runs, one of us had an injured knee, one had been feeling tired all the time, and I had pain in my upper hamstring that had been increasingly noticeable. I could not run with my usual pace during our 4-miler or our last 5.5-miler. I held up the rear, which is not something I’m used to. My hamstring wasn’t in a lot of pain, but the feeling was just THERE the entire time.
After our 22-miler, we go through a period known as the “taper.” Your mileage decreases so you can let your body rest and store energy for the marathon. At first this is fun, because you feel like you can let your body relax a little. By the last week, you start feeling a little crazy. Running is my balm for feeling calmer and not letting anxiety get to me. I really felt the effects of not running while I was on vacation. On the train back from NYC, a mixture of being overtired, heavily caffeinated, and on my fourth day without running had me convinced that my plane was going to crash on Friday and I was going to explode into flames.
During the week before the marathon, you’re supposed to relax and not tire your body out. I was initially a little worried, because I walked probably a half-marathon’s equivalent in NYC on Wednesday and then headbanged/jumped around like an idiot screaming my lungs out at the Foos show on Thursday (they played for three hours! THREE HOURS!)
But I got twelve hours of sleep last night – it was so amazing. I never sleep that much, ever. At 8:30, I thought, “Let me take a nap on my couch.” I woke up at 4:30 am. Then I took a quick shower, collapsed in my bed, and then slept until 8:15. I heard you can have a crappy night of sleep the night before the marathon as long as you get a good night’s sleep two days before the marathon. I think I have that covered.
One more thing – the head coach of our training program wanted us all to wear the team shirt on Sunday to run. I know more than one person is ignoring that request, and I am too. There’s only one shirt I would ever consider wearing tomorrow:
This band not only changed my life, but their music has been a constant source of encouragement and motivation throughout all my training runs. I wore my Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace tour shirt for my half-marathon, and I could not be prouder to wear the Wasting Light tour shirt tomorrow.
I can’t believe tomorrow is already the day. I will let you all know how it goes. I know it will be incredibly hard…but that I will have a lot of fun, too.