Systems Check

Almost exactly a week from now, I’ll be boarding a plane for Berlin. Want to know every minute detail of how it’s going? Boy, are you in luck!

The Body
Pretty good. Surprisingly good? I’ll be running about 20 total miles between now and the marathon, when I will somehow run more than that week’s work in one day, and I’m doing my best to trust my plan on this. I’ve got a couple of little aches that the extra rest will help: I thought I did the same thing to my left Achilles that I did to my right one — but it was back to normal in about three days, so it wasn’t as bad — and my left hip flexor has been tight. But that’s it. If I were to run the marathon today, I’d consider myself “healthy,” and (knock on Ikea furniture) I’m so, so happy about that.

The Mind
Most days I think I’m calm — a little shocked by how fast this month is moving, but confident in my preparation and totally at peace with the fact that I’m about to run a damn marathon. But then my taper-brain will get fixated on something silly and just spin around in circles for an hour. Today it was, could I still get a new shirt for the race? maybe a purple one? do any of my regular running shirts come in purple? could they get here in time? As though I would somehow not have really run a marathon if my shirt is orange or green. Yep, there is some crazy lurking up there.

The Weather
Right now it’s forecast to be 61 degrees with “some rain” on marathon day. Yesterday it was in the 50s and cloudy. Before the 30th, it’s supposed to be sunny and mid-70s; after, it’s either sunny or rainy, depending on the exact minute I pull up AccuWeather. However: I’m still 10 days out and the forecast has been different every time I’ve looked. I’m rooting for cooler and cloudier; “some rain” is fine, though I’d prefer not a torrential downpour, but I’m trying to be prepared for anything.

The Packing
Not started, but oh, the lists are. I’m sure I’ve bragged about this somewhere here before, but: I’m really good at packing. After three weeks of traveling with just a backpack last summer, I’m a little cocky about how easy it’ll be to do ten measly days. I am, however, a little worried about the liquids bag (there’s a lot of Gu and Ride Glide and sunscreen I’d really like to get to Berlin, though obviously there will be an expo and, like, stores if that doesn’t work out). I’m also not really prepared for a full-out rainy week in Munich, but I’m hoping that I can buy some cheap wellies over there and call it good.

(My packing-in-a-backpack philosophy, if you were wondering: dresses are best; leggings are a dream, especially for fall/spring weather; jeans are unnecessary; take two cardigan-type sweaters: one black and one not; if the shoes don’t go with everything they don’t make the cut. Also, Woolite.)

The Equipment
I made a list of just stuff I’ll need for race day. It took up a whole page of my notebook. See?

That includes: Three Gus, 6-12 Shot Bloks, Nuun, a hat, socks, extra socks in a plastic baggie in case it rains before the start, my handheld water bottle, a throwaway water bottle for the start, my breakfast, Tums, my shuffle and headphones, and so much other stuff. And most of it needs to fit into my shorts. Hahahahahaha.

The Race Plan
In progress. I’m trying not to overthink it (… you can laugh now) while also having something workable that will help me run the strongest race I can run. I know I want the first half to feel easy. I know I want to pick it up at some point, but I don’t know if that’ll be around 15 miles in or 20. I know I’ll be starting in the very back of the field, because that’s where everyone with no previous marathon time starts. I know I’ll probably want to eat and drink something in the hotel and something in the corrals, because the race doesn’t start till 9 but we’ll probably walk over around 7:30. I know I’m going to start with my handheld bottle, because one thing I’ve learned about myself is that I want to drink when I want to drink, but I’m prepared to ditch it on the course if it bothers me more than it helps. I know my hat will piss me off if it’s windy but that I’ll desperately want it if it’s raining or very sunny. I don’t know if I want to wear my calf sleeves. I don’t think I’ll carry my phone, because I’d really only use it to take pictures and I don’t really want to be that girl. I know I’m going to take nutrition by time and not distance, so I’m not worried about converting miles to kilometers. I know I’ll feel better just writing this all down, so I will, and then I’ll be prepared to do whatever feels best on the day.

The Music
I’ve run some Rock N Roll races with bands every mile, but I’ve never really heard the music on the course. How long do you really run past any one band? But in Berlin, there will be a band every 500 meters. Eighty-something bands! So between that fact and the idea that fully experiencing the crowd noise could be awesome, I’m not sure that I’ll listen to my own music (Berlin “respectfully requests” no headphones but doesn’t outright prohibit them, to the best of my reading). I do, however, plan to make playlists and carry my Shuffle on the course. I’ve trained with my playlists, and I want to have the option of going to them if that’s what I’m feeling on the day. I’m planning to go with three playlists: one of just music, one of just podcasts, and one of the two combined (which is what most of my long run playlists have been). I truly love running to podcasts, but they can be tougher to hear or dip in and out of, and this plan should give me maximum control.

The Hunger
I got through most of training without feeling ridiculously hungry — though Wildflower training might have adjusted my appetite to a permanent state of “feed me” — but it’s roaring in during taper. I was going to say I’d done a good job of keeping it mostly healthy, but then I remembered the two Specialty’s cookies from earlier in the week, and the bag of caramel apple candy corn, and the pint of Ben and Jerry’s from last week, and, well, never mind. But I’m trying. We have the remains of a CSA box to cook our way through, and I made three tomato recipes last night alone.

The Wedding Situation
Two down, one to go. And with that, I’m off to engagement party karaoke.

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4 thoughts on “Systems Check

  1. Linda says:

    Can not wait to see you!

  2. ahh I can’t believe the race is so close! And, i did not know there were bands every 500 meters – that is insane and it is going to be awesome. Happy tapering!!

  3. Diana says:

    You are soooo ready! And btw, thanks for the excellent packing advice- will take to heart for my
    Grand Canyon trip Oct 2nd. And that’s only for 6 days 🙂 You are going to rock Berlin! Have any amazing time my dear~

  4. Kristina says:

    I have such a hard time packing for just a local race (although that is improving) that the mere idea of packing for international travel + racing almost makes my head explode. Can’t wait to hear about the trip – and about the race, of course!

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