It’s a mere three weeks until the marathon, and I’m starting to believe it…denial being nearly impossible to maintain in the aftermath of a 22 mile long run. Marathon Expert and I spent a long and often unenjoyable morning at the Swamp Rabbit Trail. One of us had periodic stomach “issues” while the other suffered through calf cramps and a sore leg from a dog-walking mishap. As I don’t own a dog, I’m sure you can figure out who got to enjoy which barrel of fun.
The good news? I am once again ahead of my progress from the last marathon attempt. Last year, my confidence level took a huge hit when my scheduled 20-miler turned into a 12-miler. So, instead of a 20 and a 12, I’m going into Myrtle Beach with a 20 and a 22 under my belt. I still have my doubts about finishing, but even a professional worrier like myself has to admit that I’m looking at better odds this time around.
The other good news? It’s taper time. Oh, taper. I love you! I’m so looking forward to a mere hour and a half at Furman. It makes me happy just to think about. (Nothing personal, Furman and Swamp Rabbit Trail…it’s just that 13 long runs at a place where only 12 miles can be run without repeating something gets a little monotonous after awhile.)
The other other good news? I found out that I can hold down Powerade. This may not be important, but as I told ME yesterday, there very well may come a point when I just don’t want to chew any more. If it comes, it’s good to know that I have a liquid option for calories. Because let’s face it, the odds are that if chewing becomes an imposition, it will be late in the marathon and probably at a time when my body is screaming for depleted nutrients. I’m doing my best to prepare for contingencies, so I ran about 16 of the 22 with a water bottle and the remaining 6 with a bottle of Powerade.
The other other other good news? The temperature yesterday helped me resolve my wardrobe debate. In preparing for contingencies, I’ve attempted to lay out a clothing plan based on race-day temperature. If under 25 degrees, I’ll be bundled…obviously. We’re talking full tights, a couple of layers of shirts (with a windbreaker on top, if the day calls for it), gloves, and a headband. If it’s over 40 degrees, I’ll be wearing shorts and my singlet…possibly with sleeves, which I can later peel off and throw at Scott. (And if it’s over 70 degrees, I’ll shake my fist and curse the sick sense of humor of the marathon!) The dilemma is, what to wear when the temperature is between 25 and 40? I got the chance to find out this weekend. Overcast and 35 at the start, I opted for shorts and a long-sleeved dryfit tee. This combo was plenty warm while I was running, but during the water/fuel walking breaks my legs had the opportunity to cool down and tighten up. Toward the end of the run, they took full advantage of this. Not the very best thing for me. If I could do it over again, I’d wear my calf-length tights — just enough warmth without too much added aggravation. Win/win.
At this point, what’s worrying me the most is the one thing I can’t control: my nemesis, the weather. I don’t know what to expect and I won’t be able to prepare until the week of the race. Ah, well. It’s coming soon enough. 20 days to go…