The Eve of the Race


“You want to think of your muscles like the meat they are.”  He said watching me wince as I rolled my foot over the spiky foot-ball.  I had mentioned that my calf was suddenly tight and hurting today.  He said the answer was drink a lot more water.  “They can either be steak, or they can be beef jerky.  You’ll want to be hydrated while you roll and massage so that it helps them heal.  If you dry them out, they become like the jerky….and they’ll snap while you apply that pressure to massage.”

Our eve of the race day in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Route 66 Marathon was a very pleasant, if chilly, one.  We had a great breakfast and got our bearings for where the start line would be from the hotel, and we wandered the expo.  I picked up a few arm sleeves and learned about some of the interesting local races here (Hill from Hell, anyone?).  I even got a good lesson from the triggerpoint massage stuff company on making sure that I was getting the most out of my foam roller and the like – but I did not come away with any great ideas on how to dress for race day.

At publication of this post, the temperatures are predicted to start in the mid-thirties and rise to the mid-fifties during the 4-5 hours I expect to be running.

That’s a significant difference when you consider the race distance and pacing.  Nothing is going to make running a marathon comfortable, but starting out over-cold or over-heating in the end won’t help matters one bit.  Even walking around today to see a little bit of this area didn’t help.  I was constantly pulling my hoodie off and putting it back on – muttering the whole time about not being sure what I was: too hot or too cold.

When I was packing, I made sure to include all the possibilities:  I have long sleeved gear, a jacket, hats, head wraps, gloves that turn into mittens and then into writs wraps as needed, and shorts and a shirt.  I was so consumed with how to dress to run, that I had to go back to my closet just as we were leaving because I didn’t pack anything to wear for when I wasn’t running.

Since my successful run on Thursday, I was feeling super excited about this race.  I don’t expect that I’ll run it particularly well…  I’m pretty much expecting a 4:30 – 4:45 run on this one.  But I am looking forward to the experience….or I was…  

As I relax in the hotel room with my husband, the sun having set a couple hours ago making it feel like practically midnight now, I’m nervous.  I’m worried about things falling apart…about this being the race I just quit on.

I don’t understand how my friends do nearly 20 or more marathons, or even all the various ultras of 50 miles or more each year.  I’m feeling tapped out.  I still want to run, sure…. But I want to do it for fun….with chatting and stopping for photos and to catch breath….  I’m not feeling this race vibe lately.  12 marathons or ultras in one year feels pretty heavy.  I mean, that’s why I made it the goal this year, sure, but I’m ready for an off-season.

So as I make the last aggressive rehab strikes against the injuries that have plagued me this month, I keep feeling a mix of excitement and adventure meeting against feeling tired of this much running.  I’m hoping my stubborn determination to see this through to the end will win out.  At least twice more.  Tomorrow, for the marathon… and December 3rd, for the ultra I chose to close this year out on.




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