T minus 3 days until the Atlantic City Marathon. My last marathon was the 2010 NYC marathon and it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done mentally and physically. Luckily I have a good feeling that this weekends race will be very different. I feel stronger and more confident. That being said I’ve definitely been nervous this week. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned in the last two years of running.
1) Realistic Goals- This time around I have a much more attainable goal of 4:20 and my runs my long runs have gone pretty good for the most part. Also a plus is that the AC course is FLAT! Reviews I’ve read say that the course say it can be lonely and the out and back in mentally tough, but that doesn’t bother me. My goal is to start with the 4:15 pace group (unfortunately my goal is in between pace groups of 4:15 and 4:30) and to run with them as long as possible. It is highly recommended to run longer distance races with negative splits but I’ve only done that once ever so it’s not something I’m going to shoot for this weekend. I strongly believe that I will be able to keep up with the 9:45 min/ mile pace the whole race. Will I be upset if I have to trail off in those last 6.2 or so miles… no.
2) Stomach Issues- Every runners nightmare. In both marathons I’ve run I lost at least 10 mins stopping at the bathroom. I’ve spent a majority of the last year working with doctors to see if I have hypoglycemia. High sugar foods or sugar-free foods make me feel like crap and upset my stomach. So when you combine running long distances with high sugar “energy” chews or gels you have problems. I did not know this until now, I was using candy corn and gummy bears as my energy! Crazy right, I was bringing it all on myself without knowing. I currently use FRS chews to fuel during long runs and it causes no problems what so ever. I also steer clear of drinking Gatorade when I’ve just taken a chew because the sugar and carbs in the Gatorade and chews don’t mix well in my stomach when it’s bouncing up and down! This is definitely one of the biggest reliefs I have going into the race. Baring any bad foods I’ll eat on Saturday I shouldn’t have any major issues. Everybody is different but if you’re having problems try cutting back on the high sugar supplements and try something with a better balance.
3) Stop putting pressure on yourself- This is one issue I’ve not been able to totally master. Although I feel more relaxed this time I still very much worry about every little thing going wrong. Some days you have bad runs, you just prepare enough that those bad days aren’t horrible. Before NYC I got so worried that I ended up getting myself sick. Early this week I was struggling with this but after a good workout Tuesday I agreed with myself to let it go. No pressure, just do your best and what you have trained so hard for. I will let you know how I do with this on race day later…
At this point 3 days out I’m getting very excited. One of my best friends from college is flying up with her boyfriend to run the half marathon that occurs at the same time. In fact we will get to run the first 8 miles together, then they turn around and I continue on. I’ve run a majority of my half marathons with Brittany so I’m looking forward to crossing another state off the list with my buddy. She always helps relax me with her hakuna matata attitude.
Also this weekend were staying at the new resort and casino Revel. I am so pumped!!! Peter and I love to spend time in casinos and hopefully I can win enough money to cover the costly night at the hotel! Before I do any big race I always go and see my favorite physical therapist. She is the best at getting me stretched, massaged and mentally ready for big events. If you in NYC and need a PT go see Wendy Rhodes. She is the BEST! Other than that I don’t have any rituals. Do you have any rituals? What about last-minute advise?
I have two more quick workouts planned. After PT I’ll do a quick swim and tomorrow I’ll do a short 2-3 mile run.