Final Prep Stuff

Tomorrow is the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA, and I’m pretty much all set to go. Once I remembered it was race week, I went into race prep mode pretty easily, with just one last-minute “Oops, don’t forget to do that.” BTW, “that” was drink coconut water, and I totally forgot.

Yesterday I printed out directions, parking instructions (the biggest cause of anxiety for me) with back-up parking plan in case the beach lots are full, set up my time table (I’ll be waking up 3:45 a.m.), and got my pre-race food. Yes, I eat cookies before I race. Don’t judge…besides, they’re vegan.

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Mentally, I’m doing all my funny pre-race things, like getting phantom injuries. In my last post I wrote that my right calf finally felt close to 100%, but the next day, I could have sworn there was regression, and that it was worse than it had been in a long time, and maybe I should wear compression socks during the race, and I might have to take a week off after to really be prepared for marathon training, blah blah blah. I spent my work day popping ibuprofen, icing my knee and calf, and wearing compression socks under my boots.

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This mind-fuck can also take the form of a phantom cold. Oh, and of course my calf felt fine again on my next run. Yeesh.

I’ve also started to check the hourly weather forecast a couple times a day. This is truly the most useless busy-behavior as proved to me by my experience in the 2012 LA Marathon. It had been raining heavily the days prior to the marathon, and I was obsessively checking the weather, bought two different types of rain gear last minute, and then, yeah, sunny skies for the race. But this exercise in futility seems to comfort me. Or feed my neuroses.

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Looks like it’ll be nice weather, though I wish it wasn’t going to be sunny. The final five miles of the course go straight into the sun, and that can be warm and blinding. You wouldn’t think heat would be a problem in February, but the two times I’ve run this race it has been warm, and one time I cramped. This is my main issue with this race – the late 8:00ish start time. Start at 7:00, dammit! Again, all this may be for nothing because yesterday I ran in overcast with sprinkles weather.

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Now the good mental stuff, like visualizing, I’ve had a hard time with. This comes down to figuring out my goal for this race. Half marathons for the most part have now become fast training runs for me, and are just part of my marathon training plan. In other words, they’re not usually my “A” race. The race I’m really training for is the marathon in May, so how do I want to run this race knowing that next week is not a recovery week, like it would be if this were my A-race, but instead will be a ramp-up week with increasing mileage? (I also didn’t have a taper week, which I would have had if this were my A-race.)

Like I’ve noted before, I try to have A-B-C goals. So my F*ck Yeah goal is a sub-2:00 marathon. I’ve only had a couple of these, and there is something magical for me in seeing that “1” as the first number. This is probably unrealistic since I have only been ramping up my mileage for six weeks now, with only one speed session. My Pretty Cool goal is sub-2:10. That’s still a solid time, and considering my conditioning, I’ll take it. Especially since my PR on this course is a 2:06 from 2010. My Let’s Be Happy With This goal is to finish in the 2:15 range comfortably, no injuries. I would be bummed if I couldn’t pull this out.

Mostly, I’m curious to see where my fitness is. It’s been eight months since my last race, and only the last six weeks have been spent in full running mode. I really have no idea where my conditioning is, so overall I’m hoping to get my head in a slightly detached, fact-finding place, and trying not to put too much pressure on myself.

So that’s it. I’ll spend the day having a late breakfast with a friend, then off to the movies with a couple other friends, go buy some Gatorade and energy bar, and then chill in bed and catch up on Scandal. Kind of wish every Saturday was a pre-race day. Anyway, next time you hear from me, Surf City will be in the books!

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