Last night I could not sleep at all, I was so excited. This was bad news for my pre-race prep, as two nights before is considered the crucial night to rest up. I tried to go to bed at 9 PM, but couldn’t fall asleep until around 10:30, and was then woken up at 11 by a friend calling to tell me a song for my playlist. I then woke up at 6 AM to eat another oat bran french toast breakfast at the Marriott, pick up the rental car and my loyal supporter Kristen, and hit the road.
We got to the hotel around 11:45 AM, thanks to my speeding and a bit of luck that none of the 9234908234 cops hiding in the trees stopped me. We dropped our stuff in our room (upgraded, because I have finally achieved Platinum status at Starwood brands!) and hit the first seminar: a panel of elite runners. The elites were all white and American. Where were the Kenyans I was used to? Did this mean I actually had a shot at winning? Fat chance. These elites may not have been Kenyan, but several of them had qualified for the Olympic time trials and had under 2:45 marathons. Someday I’ll find a race that lets you win just by having a sub-five hour time. Maybe if I organize a one-on-one race with my manager…
In between that panel and the next one, we hit up the expo for a while, collected my chip, and took the obligatory pre-race photo with Bill Rodgers. I say obligatory because this seems to have become a pre-race tradition for me (see my Providence half marathon report… oh, that’s right, you can’t yet, because I lied and I’m still in the middle of writing it. I did make a lot of progress today though, and it will be a good one). Anyway, I may have to add Bill to my celebrity stalking list just below Ben Stein.
Next, my mom got into town. A bit late, because she didn’t bother to Google directions to the actual hotel and instead just had directions to Vermont (not kidding), so she had gotten a bit lost, but she did finally find her way. We then picked up all three of our pasta dinner tickets and hit up the recovery & periodization lecture, where I listened to everything the guy had to say about a four week recovery plan, and promptly decided to ignore it. Resting is for wusses – I have a 5K planned next Saturday (the Friehofer’s that Marcy is doing) and a 10K the weekend after that. (I’m making these plans now but Topher is going to laugh really hard when I can’t walk still by then). I asked about post-race recovery foods, and the guy first said that he wasn’t a nutritionist, but that a balance of proteins and carbs would probably be good. Each serving of Ben & Jerry’s has 4 g protein, and each cone has 10 g carbs, so my anticipated twelve servings will provide 48 g protein and 120 g carbs. That sounds good to me!
As a side note, I told many people I met today that I chose this marathon because it had ice cream at the finish. They all kind of laughed like I was joking. I then told them that I had a shirt made stating that I was running for the ice cream. They still kind of giggled. I don’t think people understand how serious I am when I say that I am running for the ice cream.
After pre-gorging ourselves on some amazing kettle corn that we had been alerted to in my bible (thank you Duncan – without that, we would have missed it as we approached the expo from the second floor of the hotel and wouldn’t have known to go outside), we headed to the pasta dinner. We ended up at a table with a bunch of interesting people. One guy had done Rock N Roll Arizona in 2004, and this was his second marathon – cool. Another guy had done all nineteen of the previous Vermont City Marathons and was being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year – cooler. The final guy at our table was a race walker who had done over 150 marathons, including six of the seven continents. A month ago, he did Antartica. We asked him how tough it was, and he started telling about the course, including my runners’ quote of the year: “and then you go over the glacier.” He wants to do Africa next but has to find a race that is tolerant of race walkers. He won the coolest guy at the table prize.
Dinner was good, though I cheated and had dessert. It’s the 20th anniversary of the VCM, so they had this five foot long and three foot wide cake that they were dishing up. I was trying not to eat sweets or dairy today, and managed to stay away from the Ben & Jerry’s samples they were handing out at the expo (only the promise of twelve scoops tomorrow could get me to consider forgoing any today), but the cake looked good and everyone else was eating it too. After all, I am nothing if not a food lemming.
Tomorrow: the plan is to shoot for a 4:15 pace, which is about 9:47. That’s just slightly faster than the 9:55 pace I did my 22.4 mile run at, which is probably good because I felt sluggish that day and I’m hoping to feel rested and energized and alert tomorrow.
I am so underprepared for this, and I totally know it, but just like the ice cream no one believes it. All they ask when I mention it is “what’s your longest run?” I say “22.4,” and they assume that means I’m prepared. Let me tell you, running ONE long run and then a whole lot of scattered running/exercise does not exactly prepare you for this. I’m scared out of my mind and have a stomachache due to nerves, though I’m trying not to let my mom know so she doesn’t freak out like a mom would. Will keep you all posted!