I've been walking around with the image of this gorgeous custom made finisher’s medal as my lock screen since registering nearly two months back for the beautiful Bellingham Trail Marathon. Now that we are at less than T – 24 hours I CAN’T WAIT, but I've got some unexpected nerves too.
It seems that this morning is a good time to throw it out there that I have no idea what I am doing. However, my body seems to have gone into some sort of instinctual preparation process without recruiting my brain’s assistance. Last night I passed out on the couch sometime around 7 pm with The Lorax on Netflix and our dinner dishes still on the coffee table awakening just past 9 to my son and my cat watching me sleep. So my son, who has a cold, got off to bed an hour late and I went right back to bed netting about 11 hours last night. I also ‘behaved’ with early (9-9:30ish is early in my book) bedtimes the few nights prior. Today I've decided my number one responsibility is to hydrate like crazy…quite the opposite of heading into a figure competition that’s for sure J
Beyond that, I have no clue what I am doing. I don’t know what to eat today. I think I will have Greek yogurt, oatmeal, and a banana for breakfast tomorrow though. I don’t know what to do or not to do. I have general notions of each and Google can certainly give me masses of advice, but I haven’t searched. I’m excited to go to the expo later today and get my bib, shirt, beer glass, and swag bag. I need to go get some salt pills I think. I’m looking forward to making and ziplocking my new favorite run fuel aka Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Triangoli. I’ll be packing them and a few Gu gels, but otherwise depending on the aid stations.
I expect to use up a couple hours today over-thinking, packing, rethinking, and repacking my pack.
I’d like to wear my road shoes as my arch, IT band, and legs overall fare better in them for higher mileage, but with the expected slippery mud and elevation I’d best go with my trail shoes. I’d meant to make my first marathon an excuse and go acquire a 3rd pair of running shoes a few weeks back, but didn't get to it and it is now too late in the game for new shoes.
Likewise, I have two potential outfits, one I prefer as it is overall more comfy and the other that is arguably smarter in anticipation of rain and not freezing my ass off when I slow to hike the hills. I still don’t even know whether or not I’m going to wear calf compression sleeves.
I should also note that the longest I've run to date is only 20.19 miles and that included some short walk stints when my arch freaked out (assumedly from said trail shoes above), and that it was pretty flat compared to tomorrow morning’s 5,000 feet of elevation gain, but it was in total crap wind and rain weather :) I’m getting faster on the short, my best 5 miler to date being an 8:21 average pace, but my goal tomorrow is to finish in a 14:00 or < average pace, or 6 hours and 11 minutes, due to the anticipated difficulty of the course, amount of hiking expected on hills, and the personal acknowledgement that I am not as adequately trained as would be ideal. When I ran 20 I didn't stop because my body was done I stopped because 20 was the goal that day. In hindsight I wish I had pushed on - I would feel more prepared today if I had.
However, I am as stubborn as they come so I can guarantee I will finish. It is my hope that this race proves to be my gateway to ultras, but something is stopping me from claiming that thought until after. For now I’m an admirer of ultra races and ultra runners and the vibes of inspiration that can generally be found emanating from them. Maybe sometime next spring I will start off with a 50k and maybe late in the summer or early fall I will try my hand (well foot) at a 50 miler. Maybe. First I have my first trail marathon, well first marathon of any variety, to run. Then, we’ll see J