My Marathon Mantra

Ryan and I have officially made it to Cincinnati!

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Hellllloooo Ohio!

Yesterday morning I hit up Caitlin’s Royal Wedding Watching party at the early hour of 5:30AM (soooo much fun, btw!) was home by 8AM, and on the road to Cinci by 9AM! Talk about a jam-packed day. And I didn’t even get in a nap! Luckily things have slowed down since we made it to my mom’s house last night… and now the focus is on the marathon (and my biostatistics final, but that’s a whole ‘nother beast!).

And I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little bit nervous for my marathon tomorrow! I can’t believe it’s in t-minus  24 hours! And on top of that? There’s an 80% chance of showers and thunderstorms… eek!

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Oh dear.

Luckily I’ve been watching the weather forecast for the past week, so I’ve had quite a bit of time to mentally prepare myself for a wet race. I’ve run in rain before…but never a full-on torrential downpour… and never for, you know… 26.2 miles.

I feel like I can handle it, though. And no matter how many blisters I get, that medal is going to be *so* worth it! (Plus, the weather today in Cinci is gorgeous, so having my race be tomorrow in the rain forces me to enjoy the outdoors on a day when I’d otherwise not spend much time outside. See, there’s always a way to find a silver lining Smile with tongue out ).

So yes, I am nervous, but I feel like it’s a “good” kind of nervous. Eustress, rather than distress, if you will. I am just so freaking excited to get out there and run! Like I said in my previous post, I’ve definitely got that running itch.

I’ve done a few (shorter) runs this week, and I must say, my mind keeps drifting to what race day is going to be like. It’s silly, but I’ve even teared up a bit on my runs this past week as I imagine myself out there at mile 16 passing through Mariemont — the town where I went to high school.

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Mariemont!

But seriously y’all, I can’t believe the race is tomorrow… and I cannot believe I am about to run 26.2 miles!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I never thought I’d ever run a marathon. Up until a year or two ago – “running a marathon” wasn’t even on my bucket-list! Sure, I dreamed about what it’d be like to be “elite” enough to do that, but I never thought I’d actually be one of those people. I guess it’s because I never really considered myself an “athlete” while growing up. Sure I could run, skip and throw a ball (albeit, not that far…) but I wasn’t exactly the most athletic one in the bunch. During elementary school I  tried my hand at all sorts of sports – basketball, soccer, softball – but I never fell in love with any of them. It wasn’t until I took up tennis in 7th grade that I actually found a sport I liked, and that for once, came easily to me. Later on in high school (and even more so in college) I picked up running, and since then, I haven’t looked back!

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True love for this sport…

After my first half-marathon back in 2008, a few of my coworkers asked me if I’d ever run a marathon, and  I flat out told them “no, the marathon distance is *totally* not for me… I’m perfectly content with completing a half!”

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ThunderRoad, December 2010 (Half-Marathon #4, a new PR!)

Well, as my running career continued and I ran more half marathons, I realized that I wasn’t getting that “satisfaction” I felt when I ran my first half. I wanted more. I wanted to feel that rush again, to feel scared…to question my ability of whether or not I could finish. I wanted to feel that “holy sh*t did I really just do that?!” moment again. And I realized… the only way I could find a challenge big enough to stir up that kind of emotion, was by signing up for a marathon.

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Can’t wait to get my hands on another one of these babies! (Corporate Cup, Half-Marathon #5, March 2011)

Well…newsflash. Thanks to marathon-training, that anxious emotion has definitely been stirred up again! (In a good way).

So here I am, less than one day away. And I’m nervous and scared as hell. As a lot of you know, the Boston Marathon was a few weeks ago… and although I loooove reading race recaps, some of them have made me (unnecessarily) anxious. I know each individual person is different, and each person runs a race in their own way, but still. Knowing that Corey got injured after having such a (what seemed to me) perfect training season has kind of worried me. This just goes to show that no matter how prepared you are… things can, and do, happen.

I know for a fact that my training wasn’t perfect – heck, it took me 6 hours to run my first 20 miler, and 5.5 hours to run my second 20 miler… all because I spent so much time stretching.  On these longer training runs, I’d spend anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half  stretching in random places (calf stretches on the curb, butterfly stretches in some random person’s yard, downward dog next to the neighborhood golden retriever…). This is the approach I choose to take, though. And to be honest, it worked for me. My recovery from these long runs was very short (I actually never had a long-run where I felt super-sore afterwards, and I was up and at ‘em soon afterwards), and I genuinely believe it’s all in thanks to the stretching I did during these runs.

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Seasoned runners (and everyone else I’ve talked to) say you should run the race like you’ve trained. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’ll be taking lots of time to stretch, and I’m not going to let it bother me. I managed to successfully do this during the last half-marathon I ran (the one where I completed 5 miles beforehand to turn it into a 18 mile training run), and I had a great experience! I’ll keep my Garmin on “auto-stop” so that I can compare my “net” running time with the chip-time, and that will be enough for me.

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Taking some time to stretch on the side of the road during Half-Marathon #5, aka one of my 18 mile runs! (Corporate Cup, March 2011)

I want my first marathon to be a good experience. I don’t want to run hard, get injured, and have a bad taste in my mouth. (Although, I know injury can happen regardless of pace!). Finishing this race without injury is what is important to me. I want to be able to be back running as soon as (reasonably) possible, and I don’t want an injury to hold me back.

So in order to make that happen, I’m going to run smart. I’m going to take my time, and stop and stretch on the sidelines when I feel I need to. I’m going to listen to my body, and if it says “stop and stretch for 5 minutes,” I’m sure as hell going to do it! And yes, if it takes 5 minutes to feel stretched out, I will gladly take 5 minutes. So if this race takes me 6 hours to complete, so be it! If spending an hour stretching on the race course is the key to letting me bounce back from this marathon in good time, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Some of you might be reading this expecting me to be focused on time, but I’m not. I have plenty of other future races to focus a goal on time.

I’ve told myself from the very beginning that my goal is to finish this marathon without injury. Of course, I’m expecting to be sore. The things I’m hoping to avoid are any and all types of stress fractures, messed up IT band, knee pain, foot pain, and the like.

So with that, I’d like to share with you a little mantra I’ve come up with and have been using during my training runs…

“When in doubt, stretch it out!”

And that’s what I’m gonna do. So just to reiterate, don’t be expecting any record-shattering times coming from this girl. That’s not what this race is about.

I’m all about listening to my body, and honoring when it tells me to slow down, stop and stretch.  I know I have it in me to succeed in what I’m setting out to do.

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Happiness!

Tomorrow is going to be an amazing day, and I’m so pleased that I’ve come this far with my running career. I’m so proud of myself for successfully completing a marathon training plan… in fact, I think that is a huge accomplishment in itself! Tomorrow’s run is kind of the “last hurrah” … the final celebration of all of this hard work.

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I just can’t wait to get out there and run, even if it is in the rain!

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BRING IT!!!!!!!!!!!

And with that, Ryan and I are headed downtown to the Flying Pig Expo to pick up my race-bib and timing chip (and collect some goodies along the way, of course!).

Also, I wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your well-wishes and support from your comments and tweets. Knowing you all are cheering me on truly is a such a great source of motivation! I’ll have my phone on me tomorrow during the run, so if you want to tweet me anything, feel free!

Have any of you ever set a non-time related goal for a race? Were you able to succeed? Any suggestions for fun and energetic songs I should download for my iPod?! Oh, and of course, feel free to share any last-minute marathon tips!

P.S. Wish me luck on my mathelete marathon… that’s right, my biostats final went live on Thursday and is due the day after we get back from Cinci!! Helllloooo crazy-busy weekend!

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25 Comments

Filed under Cincinnati, Flying Pig Marathon, goals, half marathon, Happiness, marathon, my story, races, roadtrip, running, Travel

25 responses to “My Marathon Mantra

  1. Janene

    WOO HOOO! It sounds like you got a great plan in mind! I’m super psyched, too, despite the rain forecast. I did a run in the rain this past week and just thought of it as practice, haha! 😉 So excited!!! Squeee!!!

  2. oatsandspice

    That is so fun that you had a Royal Wedding watching party! I wish I had done something like that!

    You will do absolutely amazing in your race tomorrow – I can feel it! Remember all of your training and hard work WILL pay off! I’ll be thinkin’ about you girly!

  3. You are AWESOME! You will be great and I’m so proud.

    And toottttaalllly jealous of your Royal Wedding viewing party, though Elise and I had a pretty good time drinking tea and eating bagels while enjoying the whole thing.

  4. Allison you are so ready for this!! I hope that if anything, my race shows that anything can happen but you need to hold your head high and do your best given the circumstances. I don’t want my story to scare people, I want it to motivate them and show that it’s okay to put so much heart and soul into your training and then be disappointed when it doesn’t work out, because there are always future races! Running a marathon for the first time is pretty scary, but go into it with confidence and with the goal to enjoy and take in the experience. I can’t wait to hear about it, and I bet you will exceed your expectations! Go get it, girl!

  5. Good luck! You seem to have such a positive attitude. I hope your first marathon is everything you hope it to be. 🙂

  6. Good Luck on the marathon! I know you can do it!!!

  7. I LOVE this post. You are going to do great on your race and soon will be a MARATHONER. I think you’re being incredibly smart by not focusing on time but rather on running smart & listening to your body. Not many people can do that–totally admirable!! Can’t wait for the race recap. 🙂

  8. I’m so excited for you!! I know you’re going to do amazing…rain or sun! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  9. Best of luck tomorrow!!

    I was in the same boat as you. After completing my first half I felt completely content. But then I ran another one, and came out much stronger, so much so that the idea of becoming a marathoner entered my head and never left. Now I am running Disney in 2012!! OY!

  10. I am SO EXCITED for you for tomorrow!! You will ROCK IT!! And I love your attitude!! I think it’s SO important to just enjoy and stay injury free, and I’ve no doubt you’ll do that! 🙂

    GOOD LUCK and have fun!! 😀

  11. You are going to run right through that spot in your Mariemont picture!! Can’t wait to hear how it goes. Stay strong and HAVE FUN!! 🙂

  12. Hope you did awesome and cannot wait to read a recap! Good luck on your test also!

  13. you’re ballin’ I wish I was as fast and furious as you are!

  14. YAY! Race looks insane lady! Speaking of crazy, that lady in the pig costume is hysterical! LOL!

  15. Sooo how was the race?? I’m sure you rocked it! 🙂

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