The Countdown is On

The Missoula Marathon is Sunday, July 8th. That’s one month from today, or 29 days and some hours according to the countdown clock on the Missoula Marathon page. This Sunday is our last big training run and those of us training for the full are doing the full 26 miles, and more in some cases. Chances are good that I won’t be blogging on Sunday due to being really wiped out. Look for a blog post Monday night, reporting on how the run went.

I’ve spent a good portion of this week feeling a bit nervous about our upcoming training run. I clearly have a mental “thing” about the full 26 miles, even though it’s only 3 miles farther than my last longest run. But that is exactly why we’re running the full 26, so that this doesn’t happen before the race itself. After Sunday I will know for certain that I can run(walk/run) the full 26, so on race day I can concentrate on other things.

Since our pace group is going rogue for the first half of our final training run, I’ve felt the need to be a little bit more prepared, mainly by purchasing a second pouch for my water belt. The Amphipod Ballistic Endurance Pouch is big enough to hold a 3oz bottle of sunscreen, a package of the Stinger Energy Chews and a package of the Jelly Belly Sport Beans, both with the air let out. It also has 4 loops on the front that can hold gels, though I’m not sure if I trust them for my precious Stinger Honey Gels or not. Regardless, it will allow me to bring along sunscreen and possibly some more substantial food of some sort, since we’ll be out for 6.5 to 7 hours if my calculations are correct. Tomorrow I will fuss around with the arrangement of the items on my belt to find the most comfortable configuration for my 4 water bottles and extra pouch. And just like the 23 mile training run, I’ll be filling two water bottles with gels mixed in with water and bringing extra gels along.

I’m also planning a little differently for after the run. I’m still going to go to my friends’ house for a meal and to use their tub, but I may wait a bit longer to take my cold bath than I have in the past, to see if it makes a difference. A friend posted this article from Runner’s World that suggests the cold/ice bath may inhibit muscle refueling, along with some interesting information about nutrition. I don’t think I want to skip the cold bath entirely, though. My own experience is that it helps with swelling and soreness quite a bit, and I don’t really plan to do anything more strenuous the next day beyond climbing the stairs in my office building, so muscle refueling may not be that big of an issue for me.

Beyond that, I’m not changing anything. I’m going to go to bed early tonight and tomorrow night. I’m going to eat the things I know work best for me tomorrow and for breakfast on Sunday. I’m going to stretch gently and use my foam roller tomorrow and not do anything strenuous. I’ll be ready for 26 miles on Sunday, followed by our taper. I’ll still be running my short, roughly 3 mile runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but our Sunday runs leading up to the marathon will shorten dramatically to 3 miles, 6 miles and 6 miles respectively.

Only 29 days and a few hours left before the marathon. I’m still planning to start at 5am so that I don’t feel so much pressure too hurry up. My first marathon is about finishing, and about running happy, like Shannon just did in Buffalo. See you there!

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