I’ll be honest, writing my name on my vest makes me feel like a bit of a twat. But I’ve shouted so many strangers’ names from the sidelines of races, with the genuine will for them to do well, that I figured the running gods owe me this moment of self indulgence. I mean I could’ve given myself a nickname, but I didn’t.
2 more sleeps to go…
Panic is setting in…
Things to do tomorrow:
I’ve got a couple floating around in my bedroom, but two ain’t gonna cut it over 26 miles. The most I’ve ever consumed is 3 over 20 miles and on one of those runs the third one made me gag, but I think that was because it was warm and more gross than usual… I think I’m going to take five – four for sure and one for spare.
Last week I went to Sweatshop to try and get a race belt to put my gels in. The shop assistant asked me how many I needed it to hold and looked aghast when I said four, maybe five and now I’m worried that’s too many and the other marathoners will laugh at me, but then I remember seeing some dude at a half marathon with, like, three gels stuffed into his armband-mp3-holder-thing and I think that at least I will never look that dumb.
So yeah. Five gels. Two regular, three with caffeine. Or maybe the other way round and then I can have a coffee before the race starts. I like coffee before a race.
Buy some portable breakfast
I accepted Marathon Girl and Marathon Boy’s offer of a lift on Sunday morning – I figured that their horror stories/pep talks would help and that if I started anxious-crying they would know how best to distract me. Or at least they would know how hard to slap me to make me act like a regular human again if I do start anxious-crying.
We’re allowing 3 hours to drive the 100 miles down to the New Forest, and should arrive an hour before the race start. That’s enough time to panic, throw up, do a nervous poo, and find the start area. That’s 4 hours between leaving London and the race start. That means breakfast en route, and that means porridge in tupperware and a bagel in clingfilm. So I have to go buy some porridge and some bagels and some chocolate philly for my bagel (I ate all my chocolate philly the other night in bed because I was too nervous to consume proper food, but was really hungry).
Sort out my audio companion
I haven’t run a race with music since the Cardiff Half Marathon (terrible, terrible race…) – I find the rhythm really distracting and like to hear myself, y’know… footfall, breathing etc – but I’ve run all of my long runs and my steady ‘marathon pace’ (I feel so stupid claiming to have a ‘marathon pace’ now) while listening to the Marathon Talk podcast and so I’ve saved up three weeks’ worth of the show to download and listen to. I asked two clubmates for their top marathon tips a few weeks ago and they both told me that it’s boring and that scared me even more. I mean, I’ve got no idea how long this thing is going to take me. So I’m taking headphones and 5 hours of running podcasts – I don’t care what you think of me – and I’m listening to some runners talking about running and talking about all the training I probably should’ve done, but didn’t.
My mp3 player is charging as I type this.
Make a race plan
I’m nervous – can you tell? I have no race plan. I’ve spent the fortnight since I last posted to-ing and fro-ing between an exhilarated, pre-race high in which I am utterly convinced that I am awesome and a deep, deep low in which I am acutely aware of every twinge in my hip flexors and my calves, and in which I am utterly convinced that I have wasted the last 16 weeks and my marathon debut will be, quite frankly, shit. But then the next day my legs are like springs again and I feel awesome…
So I have no race plan. One day it ‘s ‘jog it like a long, slow run’, the next day it ‘s ‘nail that steady pace you’ve spent all summer practicing’, the next day it’s ‘start slow, check in half way and then crank it up to moderately steady’. I’m going to go for a jog tomorrow and see how I feel and then make a plan and calculate some splits and write them down and then inevitably worry and write a back up plan and then fold the two plans up into tiny balls and make my housemate pick one at random and then do that one whether I like it or not because I cannot for the life of me decide what is the best course of action for something I have no experience of.
Clear my GPS watch data
The other week I went to parkrun, turned the GPS signal on my watch on and, when the race started, started my watch only to discover that the memory was full and so my watch wouldn’t actually start timing and so I had to run the race blind. I must remember to empty my data, because it would be a bit shit if I got to the start line and ended up spending the first 5 minutes faffing with my watch and then adding 5 minutes to whatever time it said on the screen.
And I need to remember to charge the battery too.