Well, I've had my carbo-loading supper of steak and sweet potatoes. I've done my final 30 minute jog leading up to the race. My race clothing and shoes are laid out on my bedroom floor. My gas tank is filled. My food for the morning is ready to go. I have a gel in the race shorts pocket.
I drove up to Lambeau Field in Green Bay to pick up my race bib. It seems like time is compressed. It was an hour and 15 minute drive yet it felt like it was only half that long. After preparing for this for so long everything seems to be happening fast. I walked in and picked up my packet, checked to make sure my chip was working, and attempted to partake in the exhibition. Compared to when I was there in 2007 the exhibition is about three times as big. I suppose that's what happens to a growing race.
After about a minute of looking at shoes my nerves got the best of me and I left. I felt and feel very agitated. There I was in the midst of people just like me, in a place catering to people like me, and I was freaking out in my head. My heart was probably beating like 80 beats per minute. Race exhibitions are the perfect place to hear about new stuff, yet being around all of that I felt that I already knew what I needed to know. I wish the race exhibition was after the race.
Part of my problem is that I haven't raced much recently, and have never raced a marathon. It is hard for me to relax when I have built up so much pressure on myself to perform well. I am sure that whatever happens the outcome will be good, yet I am not 100% sure. Plus, I am pretty sure that it will hurt quite a bit.
For the record, my plan is to run 5:43s for the whole race. Since I can't read the decimal seconds on my watch while I am bouncing up and down that means I want to be seeing 5:42 and 5:43 on my watch. Most of the hills are in the first 11 miles, which we run with the half marathoners. I plan to relax as much as I can while hitting that pace and then around mile 23 or so I am sure pacing will go out the window and I will simply be working as hard as I can to get to the finish. But the reality is, this is a race. Due to wind and the people I am running around that will probably fluctuate quite a bit. I am sure I will see 5:3Xs on my watch as well as 5:5Xs. The goal is just to relax and go with the flow and not hammer until at least after mile 20.
For the question about fueling, I will take a gel within 15 minutes of start time. I will drink water and gatorade along the route depending on what I feel like at that moment, but I plan to get gatorade at least twice. I am taking one Cliff Shot (Double Espresso flavor with the new formula) in my shorts pocket and I plan to eat it after halfway and before mile 16. There will be gels along the route, but not all flavors are agreeable with me, plus I like the caffeine. I will talk about fueling in the future, because after using gels for something like five years and doing ultrarunning and mountaineering I have a different view on fueling during racing than many runners.
If you want to get updates you can get text messages or an email of my progress on the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon website. I am bib number 551.