It’s been almost a week since Erin and I ran our first marathon. It’s time to recap our experience. The race was on a Sunday this year, which worked out really well. Last year we ran the half marathon on a Saturday. Memories of battling rush hour traffic on Friday afternoon to make it to the expo before it closed still haunt me. This year, I was able to use Saturday to really prepare for the race, and I felt rested and ready to go by Sunday morning.
Erin will tell more about the race itself in Part II, but here’s what went down first.
Our training plan called for a 2 mile shake-out run the day before the race. Getting out for a slow, easy run can help battle pre-race nerves and loosen you up after an easy taper week. Mike came home Friday afternoon with a First Marathon Gift. I was so surprised and excited to see that he had gotten me a Garmin watch. I had been wanting one for so long! I couldn’t wait to get out Saturday morning and test it out.
Besides needing a few miles to learn how to use my watch, the shake-out run turned out to be a great idea for another reason. I was feeling unsure the days leading up to the race about what to wear. The early mornings had been very cool, and I was worried that I was going to be too cold in shorts. Getting out first thing Saturday morning when it was still pretty chilly helped me figure out what was going to be comfortable to run in.
Pre-Race Carb Loading
One thing I wasn’t too nervous about was all of my pre-race routines. By now we’ve done enough races that we have these pretty much down. Still, I made sure to eat plenty of carbs and drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the race. One of my most experienced and supportive running friends brought a gift basket filled with healthy carbs and other goodies to school Friday to wish me luck on the marathon. How sweet is that?!
After a few days of snacking out of the basket, it was time for the all-important pre-race meal. Saturday morning I made baked ziti for the big carb-loading dinner. We stayed at our sister Jessica’s house that night, and we offered to provide dinner in exchange for her family’s hospitality. Also because we were so picky about what we were willing to eat. A bonus was that the recipe made such a huge amount that I was able to put some in a second dish for Mike and the girls to eat that night as well.
Soon the food was packed, bags were ready to go, Mike and the girls were off running errands, and I found myself with some time to kick my feet up and relax. This never happens!
Okay, to be honest, I was itching to go. Finally, it was time to pick up Erin and head down to the expo. Since we were so rushed last time, it was my goal to really take our time and enjoy the experience. We shopped, sampled energy bars, and took tons of pictures. Months of hard work was about to pay off and we were enjoying the whole marathon experience.
A Little R & R
Eventually, we headed to Jessica’s house for dinner and some rest and relaxation. Although moments of nervousness would wash over me from time to time, overall I felt very calm and ready. We could not have been more prepared. We put in the hard work, and it was about to pay off.
We spent the evening hanging out with our niece and nephew. After they went to bed, Jess and Matt took the opportunity to go out sans kids – something they don’t get to do very often. We watched a little TV, set out our clothes for the morning, and hit the sack. And I have to say, I slept pretty well. We were about to become marathoners.
Click here for Part II – the race!