I am running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
It's been like 18 weeks of training for this day.
And actually that's not even true. Training for this race basically started the day after last year's marathon ended.
Well, maybe I have been training for this since my first marathon the year before!
I have kept my body moving since then.
I have fueled my body and learned a LOT about food since then.
I have worked on my mindset x 1 million since then.
Running a race is about running, but it is about so much more.
Here are things I am doing to prepare for the race:
1. I am fueling my body with really good for me foods.
You might have heard about my pizza woes last year. After 18 weeks of training for this big race, I flew to Chicago and had pizza 3 days in a row before the race. OMG. Whenever I eat junk food like that in big quantities, my body goes back to how I used to feel before I lost this weight. I am in pain all over.
It hurts to move.
It hurts to walk.
And when you're running 26.2 miles, this is BAD NEWS BEARS.
My feet started hurting at mile 3 of 26.2 last year.
Was it the pizza? Was it my shoes? Was it my training on only hills and no flat terrain? Who knows!
But this year, I am keeping my body fueled with really good for me food.
This means lots of plants: sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, broccoli, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, beans, quinoa, etc. You name a plant, and I am probably okay with eating it. Well, wheat. I'm not eating a ton of wheat right now. I had some pasta and I had some pita bread, but I am NOT going overboard on the wheat. A little is fine. I find a lot of fuel when I have sweet potatoes, squash, beans, and quinoa instead of the pasta parties.
2. I am keeping my mind positive.
Sometimes when I am running, my mind starts to wander and I start to doubt myself.
This especially happens the first 3 miles of any run. No, seriously. I just ran 3 miles this morning, and there were parts of it that were awful, and I asked myself how the heck I was supposed to run 26.2 when 3 miles were tough.
Here's what I know about my body: the first 3 miles of any run, my legs are getting warmed up, my ankles feel tight, and my quads feel heavy. When I feel that happen, I remind myself over and over and over again that this is normal for my body, and that yes, I can do hard things. I've done hard things a million times before. Today is no different.
People sometimes think that I am super confident, happy, and stress-free all the time.
But also, I have learned that when feelings of doubt, sadness, and anxiety start to fill my mind, I can actually do something about it rather than let my mind continue to wander and fill up with blah.
I have struggled with depression and anxiety in the past.
I refuse to let those things fill my mind and make me think in circles and bring me down.
To help keep my mind positive, I read A LOT.
I listen to podcasts A LOT.
I turn off the TV and regular radio. Those things bring me down.
I stop scrolling on Facebook and Instagram. Those things bring me down.
I want my mind to be positive.
Doing these things helps me push out fear when I am running.
3. I am planning ahead.
I am thinking about who I will meet up with when I am in Chicago. I am thinking about what restaurants I will go to. I am thinking about what food I need to buy so that I am never without food and starving before the race. I am thinking about the clothes I need. I am thinking about the supplies I need for the race.
I AM WRITING ALL OF THIS DOWN.
I have a little spreadsheet on my Google drive.
I didn't used to be this organized, and I am actually still not this organized, but I am trying to be because I have realized how my lack of planning ahead has gotten me into trouble/into desperate situations.
One time last year, I visited my parents in Chicago and brought my fanny pack for my 18 mile run, but I forgot to bring my water bottles. It was awful trying to find water on my run. BUUUUUT I use that mistake to plan ahead. You better believe I will never forget my water bottles again.
We learn from our past mistakes to plan ahead for future success.
4. I am visualizing the race.
This is new to me, but I remember when I played soccer as a kid, my coaches told us to visualize the game, that that was what professional athletes did. I didn't particularly care about soccer that much, so I never actually did that! But I DO want to do well in this race. So I am visualizing it!
I am visualizing the morning of and how I need to wake up early to make sure I go to the bathroom and am NOT LATE to the race.
I am thinking visualizing the cotton shirt I will wear. Not a silky shirt because the cotton shirt helps me keep my fanny pack in place. I will wear a blue tank.
I am visualizing after the first mile, I will stop for about 15 seconds and stretch my calves and spell the alphabet with my toes.
I am visualizing how I will have music loaded onto my Spotify in case I need to listen to some jams to keep going. I plan to run without music for most of the race so that I can feel the energy and excitement, but I want this as a back up plan.
I am visualizing how I want to stay with my pace group, and when it gets tough, because it WILL get tough, to keep pushing myself. This is a f*cking marathon. There is no way that this isn't going to be tough. I am preparing my mind and my body to realize that this is going to be tough. BUT omg, I am also prepared and can hear myself saying,
"I can do hard things. I can do hard things. I do them all the time. I can do hard things. This isn't even that hard. I can do hard things, and they make me a stronger person. I can do hard things."
I cried typing those words.
I am visualizing getting to Boystown and seeing the crowds.
I am visualizing getting to Lincoln Park and seeing the very spot I saw my first Chicago Marathon as a spectator and wanting to be a part of the race.
I am visualizing the bands as we head into China Town.
I know my hamstrings will hurt, but I will keep going.
I am visualizing the parties as we get to Pilsen. There will be people in dresses, people playing music, and people handing out shots of beer!
I am visualizing the signs! Reading signs at races is one of my FAVORITE things. They help me laugh as I am doing one of the physically and mentally toughest things I will ever do.
5. I am keeping everything the same.
One of the worst things you can do before a race is change things up.
Like wear a new pair of shoes. YIKES. Have you ever worn a new pair of heels to a wedding and regretted that decision? Imagine running 26.2 miles in a pair of shoes you've never worn. A friend wore a new pair of shorts to her marathon, and she didn't realize they were too big for her. She said she had to hold them up the entire race. I am eating the same fuel I ate during my training: dried banana, dried mangoes, dried cranberries + salt. I am wearing the same shorts I've always worn.
My black spandex. Damn, look so sexy in dem.
And I am NOT eating pizza. I am eating regular food I always eat.
So that's it. How I am preparing for the marathon.
Can't wait to tell you how it goes!
Here is my race from last year! This race is going to go soooo much better! I had a whole year to practice and prepare!
How do you prepare for a big day?
What big thing are you going to accomplish as we end this year?