January 14, 2012

Night Before the Race: Bermuda Marathon

After my post this morning, I headed to the gym for a quick (30 minute) workout. With the marathon coming up tomorrow, I knew I needed to rest my legs, and I also didn’t want to go crazy and use up my energy, so I opted for some light arm work – alternating between 10 rows and 10 overhead presses using 5lb dumbbells, and then halfway through, switching to 10 rows and 10 chest presses using 10lb dumbbells. Super light weights for me, but because I did such high reps (didn’t count, but you can imagine how many sets I got done in 30 minutes of just those exercises!), I was still able to fatigue. It felt good to break a light sweat, and I think it was the right choice pre-race.

I headed out to the pool area to check out the beach, and when I did, I bumped into a marathoning friend of mine, John. He lives in Vermont with his wife, and they hosted a big group of 50 State Clubbers at their home for a post-Vermont City Marathon barbecue two years ago. Such fun! I couldn’t believe I had run into him at my resort (it wouldn’t have been nearly as shocking had I seen him at the expo), and he explained to me that his friends owned a condo here and had invited him along. They could not believe the crazy deal I had gotten on my accommmodations, and pointed out that these condos cost several million dollars to own, and usually rent for anywhere from several hundred to a thousand dollars a night. WOW!!!! When I got back to my condo, I checked out some of the ownership materials I found, and it turns out it’s pretty elite… to the point where jeans and flip flops are actually not allowed on the premises, and sneakers are only permitted in the fitness room or on the tennis courts. Guess who didn’t pack any other shoes?! I walked fast when I was going through the lobby from then on 🙂

I tried to walk over to the Fairmont Southampton, which was less than a mile away and was supposed to offer a free shuttle to the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, where the expo was. However, upon arriving (just after it had started to rain buckets), I found out that the shuttle only runs three times a day – and I had just missed it. I was a bit annoyed – you would think that the marathon website would make that a little more clear, instead of advertising that the shuttle was available and made it easy to stay at either Fairmont! I sucked it up and took a cab, but was not pleased to have to pay $20. (Fortunately, I could share a cab back with John and his wife, who were going to meet me at the expo later).

Arriving at the hotel, I immediately ran into Bart Yasso in the lobby, chatting with two of my friends from the Albany Running Exchange, who have an event timing business and were the official timers of the race. I said a brief hello and caught up with the group before heading up to the expo. The expo turned out to be super tiny – as in, the smallest expo I have ever seen of races that actually have an expo. There were about 6 booths, but the entire thing was set up in a massive ballroom, so it seemed very odd to have so few booths but such a large setup. Meanwhile, I learned that the 10K was the big race of the weekend (which had been this morning), and that the half marathon and marathon were almost afterthoughts to that main event. According to the list of entrants (the entirety of which ran in the local paper), there were fewer than 40 people planning to run the entire marathon! Looks like it will be a lonely second loop of the course tomorrow.

When John and Marianne arrived, I discovered one big plus of a mostly non-existent expo: there were two masseuses in the back corner who were ready to give free massages, with no line! Sweet. Mine wasn’t nearly as hard as I would have liked (my neck/shoulders get super tense after all the computer time I put in!), but it was still very welcome. As a bonus, the rain subsided while we were getting our massages – and now I just have to hope it continues to hold off until tomorrow afternoon. Before heading back to The Reefs, we walked along Front Street, the main shopping district in Hamilton, and the site of the marathon starting line. Less than 24 hours and it would all be over!

We shared a cab back to the Reefs, and I spent the rest of the evening relaxing – watching the 2012 Olympic Marathon trials on TV, cooking (wheatberries and steamed veggies for dinner for me), and enjoying a ginger cider to make me sleepy at the end of the night. Now the question – how will it go tomorrow? I am far more nervous about this race than I have been about any other marathon (except perhaps my first). And after getting a look at the crazy hills in Bermuda, I’m afraid that it’s going to be one of the toughest races I’ve done. Yikes!

Let’s be honest – I am woefully unprepared and completely untrained, and it’s stupid that I am even attempting this race. I am mad at myself for being so dumb and lazy about long runs. I think my goal is to run the first half and finish around 2:00/2:05 (maybe longer with those awful hills?), and then try to see how much longer I can keep running – but ultimately I’m probably going to end up walking (or, very optimistically, run/walking) the second half. Not the most fun way to do a marathon, but that is entirely my fault. Hopefully, I will learn my lesson and start training in earnest after this – 13 miles of lonely road and a slow pace will be pretty good punishment. I am long overdue for a marathon comeback, but I know it’s not going to be tomorrow, and I’m annoyed at myself for not making that happen, but now I just have to look forward. Perhaps February? March? I would really like to PR a race this year, so we’ll see when I can make that happen.

Good luck to everyone else running tomorrow!


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