T minus 1 week – a Fear and Gear Redux

The countdown is really on.  I got my official runner email from the Philadelphia Marathon!  I’m number Bib Number 15680.  Janet and I are in the LAST start corral (blue) because when we registered, we put in an estimated a generous finish time of 5 hrs. Margaret is in a faster corral (purple) because she estimated a really good finish time.  Our training runs are pointing to less than 5 hrs, so Janet and I may try to get into the next corral forward (orange.) We’ll check that out when we pick up our bibs for real on Saturday.

With one week left to go, here’s a review of training:

  • I’ve run more than 400 training miles
  • I’ve run in NY, ME, MA, PA, Canada, and China
  • I’ve spent about 12 hrs in physical therapy
  • I’ve spent too much money on shoes, socks, silicone stick, running bras, tape, energy gels
  • I’ve gained 2 lbs
  • I’ve lost 1.5 inches
  • I’ve gotten carded 3 times since September

17 weeks ago, I wrote a post called “Fear and Gear” – basically an introduction to the way my mind can take distance anxiety and translate it into hyperfocus on details that I feel I can control. Examples were worries about whether my gear would fit, not fit, rub, fall apart, fall off. Whatever.

In  time since that post, my fear has legitimately focused on cramps, shoving the long runs into an over-full life schedule, weather impediments, food, travel commitments, and… of course… the ongoing physical discomfort of running distance.

However, as the runs have gotten longer, the focus has been on how to successfully complete the distance in front of me – and figuring it out. I chunked it up. I changed my diet. I changed my shoes. I did lots of awful physical therapy. I got it done.  The longer the distances, the more I focused on real obstacles.

Now, with 7 days left, I’m tapering. That means I don’t have that much time devoted to running, leaving my mind free to find fear. And whether I’ve got the right gear.

I need to choose shoes. I have three different pairs.  I have run hundreds of miles in the Hokas. So, I’ve been planning on using those for the marathon. But, last week, I thought, “WAIT.  With over 400 miles on the Hokas, they probably need to be replaced. But is it bad to switch shoes with only 2 weeks to go? Probably not. But maybe I should. Should I? Probably not.”  And then I bought new shoes.   Below, you can see my well-worn Hokas Stinsons on the left. Then, you can see my NEW Hoka Bondis on the right.

IMG_1782  IMG_1789

Interestingly, the new ones don’t look quite as ri-dunk-u-lous as my worn ones. (Sales must have been tough given the Muppet look, and the designers are clearly building a more traditional looking shoe.) It seemed like I could safely make the switch since the sales rep reported all the same support benefits of the Muppet version.  NOT so.   I ran 7 miles in the new Hokas and my right foot ached so much, it woke me up during the night.

No problem, I’ll marathon in my Muppets.  Except, now I worry that I really strained my right foot and no shoe will help me on race day. But, I can’t buy new Muppet Hokas because the running store doesn’t have them in stock.  So, I’ll be running on old Hokas.

I’d like to run in shorts. I don’t like running tights – no matter the brand, cut, size, squish, it always feels like they are falling down when I run. I hate the tights, but I love my shorts.  In Maine, morning runs are now in 22- 38 degrees, and that would NOT be awesome in shorts for 26.2 miles on race day. But, the race is not in Maine, it’s in Pennsylvania, so I’m counting on a moderate mid-Atlantic temp, somewhere between 45-55 degrees.  PLEASE be that warm, so that I can wear my shorts.  My favorite shorts are by New Balance, shown below. They have shorts within the shorts, a flat waist band, and an ID zip pocket in the back (as seen in photo of back of shorts.) I love these shorts. I have 3 pairs of them.


We have to be up really, really early on race day because we have to be through security by 5:00 a.m.  The race doesn’t start until 7 a.m.    That’s two hours we’ll be outside waiting and we only get a small baggie to store a few small belongings to pick up at the finish. That means, we need to be able to go in shorts and t-shirts and pretend we’re not cold for 2 hrs OR go to Goodwill and drop 10 bucks on a big long sleeve and cozy fleece zip up.  I won’t be able to keep the new duds as I’ll have to leave them behind at the start, but at least I won’t be frozen it place when the gun goes off. (On the upside, discarded runner clothes get picked up and donated to charity,  so that’s good.)  Check out Goodwill finds:


I also am now afraid of my Hot Spot cramp. This is different than my side-stitch cramp. The Hot Spot is on my right side, low, the size of a quarter, and when it hurts, it hurts all the time, especially if I’m pounding on the roads.  If that happens, I get a compensatory cramp that will stop me.  I think this is gluten related.  I haven’t eaten gluten for the better part of a year (except I probably ate it in China, which probably contributed to my problems there) but, without thinking, I ate the MOST delicious dessert last night a work banquet. It’s called the Bowdoin Log. It’s ice cream rolled in crushed chocolate cookie smothered in fudge sauce.  I licked the plate. THEN I remembered that the cookie crumbs would have gluten in them and, sure enough, a couple of hours later, my Hot Spot said hello.  I am hoping that my body deals with this gluten invader quickly and forgets about it before next Sunday.

And then, Janet, is pretty much out to sabotage me. In the course of 48 hrs, she sent me a screen shot of the Weather Channel’s 10 day forecast, showing 60% chance of rain on race day. I called her and said not nice things.   Then, yesterday morning, we met up for our 8 miler run and since I didn’t have my Garmin to check my pacing, she led at blistering speed. We finished the 8 miles pretty fast, and that was a victory, but I was nauseous for the next 6 hours.

This week, I only have about 12 more miles to run in total, then 2 days of no running, then Sunday is race day.

I’ll post again with pre-race preparations.


2 thoughts on “T minus 1 week – a Fear and Gear Redux

  1. You can do this…say it over and over…”I CAN do this”… I Can do this thru any weather, thru cramps, thru any annoying pain, thru every step… I am ready…I am strong…Bring it on…go get those 26.2 miles…you own them!

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