Saturday, October 11, 2008

'Twas the Night Before Chicago

So, here I sit in my hotel room at the Palmer House Hilton in a perfect condition before the race: Bored. This is a good thing. Other than a wonderful visit with my friend and former co-worker, Molly, I've done absolutely nothing today.

My racing gear has been checked and double-checked. My bib is pinned. My gear bag to check is packed and marked. Other than essential self-care between now and the race, there is nothing left to do.

I'm spending my time resting, browsing on my laptop, watching DVDs, reading Lance Armstrong's WAR and eating. Which is a most excellent way to prepare for a marathon.

With regard to tomorrow's race, how ready am I? What's on my mind?

#1: The heat. Molly and I went out at lunch, and we sat outside. It was a lovely day for a picnic, but too warm to run a marathon. The weather reports converge on 75 F at Noon, and vary between partly and mostly sunny. This will be my biggest enemy, and one that I'll do everything I can to outwit it. I will be running as conservatively as possible, looking for even splits. I will not hold back; I've already finished marathons. If I blow up due to the heat, I blow up. I'm going out there to do my best with the goal of qualifying.

#2: How perfect this whole trip has been. It's just been surreal. From the parking spot next to the stairs in the airport garage, getting upgraded to first class, flight on time, hotel reservation intact, bed comfy. I couldn't have wished for things to align better.

#3: I feel pretty.. uh, 'darn'.. good! Seriously. I've trained my butt off for this. I've never worked harder for anything in my life, and I feel as ready as I can be. Weather aside, I am well-prepared for this, mentally and physically. Bring it!

#4: My lower left leg. Since the massage therapist hit something wrong two and a half weeks ago, there's been a problem with my lower left leg, below the calf and behind my shin bone. It's been a moderate nuisance; and egg-shaped sized pain that expands and wraps around the leg below my calf. But, in training, it has not slowed me down, and I fully expect to be able to withstand anything it brings me during the race. I'm pretty good at handling pain. Several of you have asked about this, and it is on my mind.

#5: GI distress. This has been an erstwhile problem of mine during training, and has not left me without a nudge or two today (since Thursday, really). However, I've done everything possible to control this through diet and eliminating disturbances (e.g., caffeine). I'm hoping this won't be a problem.

#6: I'm ready to move on. Seriously. Boston is not supposed to be easy; and, it sure hasn't been. But I really want this. I have other dreams to chase, but I absolutely MUST have this one first. I'm hoping I just remember how important it is to me when I want to quit at mile 20, and can't remember why I thought running another marathon was such a splendid idea.

I'll be turning in fairly early, nothing more than another DVD or two and another meal planned. I will spend some time visualizing the race and preparing mentally for what is to come.

I'll be at the endurance pavilion immediately post-race, and depending on how I feel, either heading back to my hotel or onto the post-race party until 4 PM. I always think that cold beer after a marathon sounds really good.. until I've just finished running a marathon, and then mostly it's about not puking.

Thanks to everyone who has been cheering me on! I've received so many well-wishes, and I'm deeply appreciative and grateful. I can only promise one thing tomorrow: I'm going to do my best!


Jesse said...

Good luck Alex! Thank you for all of you wonderful words of encouragement. See you at the finish!

runner-grrl said...

Jesse, Thanks! You too, and thanks for all of your support as well!