09 January 2013

PreRace penumbra

Forecast for Sunday:
Description: Description: Rain
Cloudy with rain (70% chance).  Highs in the mid-50s and lows in the upper 40s.

A little over 3 days till we step off.  At this point, I am getting my game plan in order.  This ain’t my first rodeo, so I sort of know what to expect. 

Don’t really need the course map anymore.  It’s the exact same route they have been doing for years.  I even have the mile markers etched in my mind from memory.  I know where to park, where the starting line is, which corral I am assigned into, where the water breaks are, where the timing chip marks are (every 5k), where the course goes uphill, where is the turnaround point, where to layup, where to kick it up a notch, which bands are playing where, where are the energy zones, and more importantly, where are the porta potties.  From my previous trips I think I could run it in in my sleep.  

I have a system.  You want to get downtown early because close in parking gets harder and they start closing streets around 0530.  My plan is to be downtown by 0500 at the latest.  Last year I scored a primo parking spot just off the course within the last 200 yards.  Made it nice to have the truck close by after I finished.  Will shoot for that spot again this year, if it is not taken. 

The Health Expo opens Friday and runs through Saturday.  I have to go down to pick up my packet with my race packet with bib, shirt, hat, and all sorts of swag.  The expo is a great place to see/sample/buy/taste/try on the latest running accessories.  You can get the latest moisture wicking apparel in some really wild colors, you can get a utility belt that would make Batman proud to carry your water pods, energy shots, iPod/iPhone, etc..  You can score a really good deal on shooz (1/3 off store prices) if you are willing to dig through the pile of boxes.  My problem is that then never seem to carry my size (12).  I usually get some new shorts and shirts cuz they are dirt cheap.  I don’t plan to get any new shooz at this time because something about breaking in new shoes on a half marathon doesn't seem to be a smart move.  I will spend a few hours cruising the expo for the latest gear/bling.  Some people throw down big $$$ for one of those high tech watches that will tell you every little detail about your run (time, temp, elevation, pace, split times, GPS location, heart rate, calories burned).  Some devices will even post updates to your smart phone/PC along the course.   I’m  prefer my old Timex Marathon watch with lap timers.  I always pick up a pace band – sort of a low tech way to track your pace throughout the race.  It is essentially one of those bands you get for a concert or state fair that grants you admission but they actually print out your estimate back with the various mile markers so that you can track your progress along the course.  Been using one of those for years. 
Everyone has different ways of getting amped up for this run.  Some are out doing sprints, some are doing LDS (long slow distance) runs in Memorial park.  At this point, I have throttled back on my runs.  Every other day try to get in 3-5 mile runs just to stay limber/keep from getting rusty.  It’s too late to try and go for the longer distances to make any difference and I am afraid I will injure myself like I did 4 years ago.  Looks like this weekend will be a wet & cold run.  I will run in the rain (not preferable) but I don’t want to really push my luck on catching a cold before the run.  Speaking of colds, I am skirting one right now.  My bride already has the zombie flu and doing her darnedest  to pass it along to me.  I am taking lots of vitamin C and Zicam to avoid the inevitable   I definitely do NOT want to add that to my race routine.

This year I am making an effort to carb load.  Eating a lot more pasta this week.  Laying off red meat.  There are different philosophies on eating before the race as well.  Fruit and oatmeal a couple of hours before are supposed to provide more energy (than bacon and eggs).  Some food combinations do not do well in a long distance race.  I've seen the results from eating heavy meals the morning of or the night before and it ain't pretty. 

A few other tips I've learned over the years: 

  • Eat lite before the race.  Think protein.  Yogurt and oatmeal are good starts a few hours before the start.  Bananas provide good energy.  Save the gel shots and energy drinks until the start.  I typically toss back one of those energy packs at the start and then another every 30-45 minutes.      
  • Prep the areas that will get the most wear & tear – feet, legs, chest – in my first year I started chafing around mile 6 and almost rubbed myself raw in a very sensitive location.  Had to apply a strategically placed band aides (while running I might add) to prevent further chafing.  Now I tape up before each run to avoid a repeat. 
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  I tried running with a bottle of energy drink last year and it really didn't help.  Carrying a bottle for ½ the race distracted me, and I tossed it to my brother on the sidelines as I passed.  I also found that drinking too much water may have an ancillary effect.  If you are sweating tons, that is one avenue.  If it is cold and you don’t sweat as much, you might have to make a pit stop (or two) along the course. 
  • And, if you must go, here’s a tip:  Avoid the first set of potties. 
  • Listen to your body.  It will tell you when you've had enough.            


ShadowRun300 said...

I love this post! I've been waiting for some tips from a professional half-marathoner.
I plan to stay downtown the night before the race, so I won't have to worry about parking.
And I've done a lot of thinking about what to eat the night before and the morning of. Your advice goes along the same lines I was thinking. I'm not much of a pasta eater, but I'll do it if it helps! I plan on a peanut butter bagel and banana for breakfast.
I think my biggest concern is staying hydrated. I definitely don't want to use the porta-potties along the way, and I don't want to carry a bottle. I suppose I'll grab a cup of water here and there.
Anyway, I am so excited for you. Wish the weather would be drier, but the temps seem to be perfect. Keep taking that Zicam! No Zombie Flu for you this year!
Looking forward to seeing pics of funny signs and articles of clothing... and you at the finish line! Good luck! :)

Abby said...

You sound very well prepared and know what to expect. Show that virus the door!
I was wondering too, with so many entrants, I assume you start in waves?

terri said...

You're more than prepared. Just hope you can avoid the virus before the race. Wishing you luck!

Rock Chef said...

And there was me thinking that all you had to do was train and then go running!

Avoiding the first potties - that is not something that I would have thought of...