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Week 18 = race preparations

RACE WEEK

Unfortunately, this week I ended up coming down with a small cold for a few days. Apparently it isn’t uncommon to get sick during the taper or right after the marathon because  running long distances can temporarily weaken the immune system  because “the body churns out the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses immune function in large amounts.” I started feeling bad on Tuesday afternoon, but it was mainly just a small sore throat and a little headache near my temples on both sides, nothing to stop me from running. But I feel much better now, almost 100%, so no need to worry!

The last week of training is all about resting, relaxing, and mentally preparing for the marathon. It is key that I don’t try anything new – no new foods, drinks, or sports. As I read before, “Remember, during this final week, you can’t under-do. You can only overdo. Training for a marathon is not like studying for a test in school where you can get away with and even benefit from last minute cramming. With marathon training, it is best to err on the side of caution by resting up instead of trying to fit in any extra miles.

I like to be prepared for anything on race day and I want to minimize as much “freaking out” as I possibly can by planning for every possible weather combination. Come hell or high water, I will be prepared for this race. Therefore, I am packing a lot for Charlottesville. Here is what my marathon bag will contain (click the image for a larger view):

I’m leaving around lunch time today to drive to Charlottesville, as are my parents. Then it’s time for the expo and packet pick up and some last minute things before the final stretch. This will probably be the last time I post until after the big race, so stay tuned! I’d be so thankful if you wanted send some encouragement via Facebook or text, as long as it isn’t too late tonight since I’ll be going to bed early 🙂

(P.S. If you want to see my detailed race week run-down, click here, I looove making lists as you can tell.)

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Week 9 – skiing injury

Everything went well this week until I got to the weekend when I was supposed to do a half marathon (I was going to do my own time trial). On Saturday, Matt and I went skiing, so I figured I’d do my run on Sunday. Unfortunately, after a nasty spill on the slopes I wasn’t feeling too hot on Sunday and ended up laying around and popping medicine. I had banged my head pretty hard so I had a little scratch on my forehead and then the back of my neck and shoulders were super sore. Luckily there was a lot of sitting around anyways since it was Super Bowl Sunday! I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive back home Sunday night feeling like I did, so I decided to take Monday off and go to the doctor then, that way I could rest up more before driving home.

My mom drove me to the doctor and after a little evaluation it ends up I have a neck strain, ouch!

The doctor gave me this wonderful manual that looks like it’s straight from the 80’s (first copyright in 1981). It’s both entertaining and informative – what a winner!

Basically I had sort of a “whiplash” experience when my head flung forward and hit the snow/ice and then bounced back, so for now, I can take a prescribed muscle relaxant, Motrin for the pain, apply warm compresses or heating pad on the area, and do neck stretching daily, including laying down after long periods of sitting or standing.

The good news in all of this is that I can still go about running and exercising! Yay! I was nervous this was going to cut into my plan for a few weeks or something. Even though I missed the long run this past week, which is NEVER good… but at least it wasn’t a week where I had an increase in mileage. I am such a planning person that it’s hard for me to miss such an important run like that, that’s 13 less miles I will have run to train for the marathon, but I’m hoping it won’t matter in the end – after all, I probably would’ve done more harm than good if I had tried to tough it out and run with a hurt head, neck, and upper back!

And now, it’s on to week 10, and I plan on running as planned tomorrow. I’m off to go lay down and rest on the heating pad – tough life!