Running a good marathon-- even after following a proven marathon training protocole to perfection, ultimately comes down to a number of affecting factors that could come up o
n the day of the race. A big part of what I have done this week is look at each of those potentially affecting factors and prepare for each eventuality accordingly.
Some of those factors are:
Lack of sleep or rest
Blisters on the feet
Stomach cramps due to indigestion
Too much or too little hydration
Not enough salt/electrolytes
Carbo-loading—or storing enough glycogen in the muscles during the preceding week
Getting up 5 hours before the race and eating
What to eat the morning of the race
And about 13 other factors
Lets take number eight as an example: I will be traveling over 700 miles north to the race site. (From DC to Bar Harbor, Maine.) The weather on the day of the race is a determining factor. It could be below freezing throughout the race in which case, I will need to dress with thermal gear in order to avoid hypothermia or frostbite. If I have a head wind of arctic air, I will need protective eye gear to make certain I protect my eyes and my contact lenses. In preparation, I will also travel the route of the race in a car and find out where the aid/medical stations are in case I run into any problems. Going over the course also allows me to see the elevation of the course—hills and downhills and the turns if any.
I’m leaving DC later this afternoon and flying to Portland, ME. I will stay with friends in Portland overnight. Tomorrow, I will travel via bus from Portland to Bangor and finally from Bangor to Bar Harbor. I preparation for a race a typically get to the site a few days before. This allows me to get used to the environment, the air, temperature, elevation if any, go to the expo-registration to pick my bib number and race package and instruction and more specifically, see where the starting line is in relationship to where I will be staying. On the morning of the race, I will drop a bag with warm clothes that will be waiting for me at the end, so that I can change and then take shuttle back to the starting line.
Last, but not least, I have been carbo-loading. Whole foods store as glycogen in the body. This is like extra fuel in the muscles ready to be used during a strenuous exercise. I believe I am ready. All system are a go. I’m thinking of my family at the Trust, and believing that our collective effort is a bonding experience as we continue to defend our environment.
Good news: The 5k I ran 2 weeks ago in West Virginia, raised over 30k for the town library—afterschool reading programs for children. My sister is the town librarian and I was happy to be able to participate. The community pledged in record numbers.