When I registered for this race at the end of December, I had two thoughts:
1) I am completely insane. Why on earth would I do this to myself again?! Answer: Peer pressure.
2) I guess there's no turning back. This will have to be my redemption marathon. (see THIS post for a small paragraph telling you about my previous race times)
January through the end of April has, hands down, been the best training season I can remember. I know people had their opinions about my methods but it obviously did me some good. I was nervous after the Columbus Half and the Hot Chocolate 15k last year because I felt awful during those races. I had to take it easier the rest of the year due to hamstring and piriformis issues. After Christmas, it was on!
I wasn't healed, per se, but the pain/tightness was something I could deal with for the time being. I dealt with and am still dealing with tight hamstrings and piriformis muscles but I've committed myself to daily stretching which helps to control it enough for proper training and racing.
Before making it to the full marathon, I had to conquer a 15 mile race in sub zero wind chills and a half marathon in chilly rainy weather. I came out of those races injury free and was able to return to full training the day or two after. Two weeks after the DC half, I ran my second 20 miler (SIDE NOTE: I HIGHLY suggest incorporating three 20 milers into full training. I didn't do it for my first two marathons but did for this one. I went into the race more confident and I feel it helped me to tolerate the agony better than with my others). After that 20 miler, I started getting Achilles pain. It made me nervous because I know Achilles tendonitis recovery can be tough if it progresses too far. I immediately started rehabbing myself (Yay for a degree in PT) and that helped to control it. I haven't had any issues with it the past 3 weeks or so.
A month later and one more 20 miler under my belt, I knew I was ready. I never felt nervous about racing. It's so weird because I ALWAYS get nervous when races are approaching. I think I wasn't nervous because I knew I would PR. How could I not when 4:35:57 was my best? I think that took a lot of pressure off.
Here's my keepin' it real moment: If you don't admit the following, you are lying your face off. We all make "secret" race goals that we only say to ourselves and maybe our closest friends. Am I right?! Yes, I am. Then we have our "public" goals that we tell other people. Right again?! Yes. My public goal was telling y'all that "my training says I should run in the 3:40s but I'd be over the moon with sub 4." I know you heard me say it. And that statement was 100% true. I honestly was not totally confident in my secret goal of 3:40. BUT Amanda said I could do it and she is the most honest person I know!
For those wanting info about lodging/expo/parking/eating, you can read the following. If not, don't waste your time reading:
- Hotel: Jackie and I shared a room an Millenium. It had what we needed but nothing special. If you have trouble finding the bathroom light, don't worry...it took us 5 minutes. The hotel was almost $200 with fees/tax. Staff was pretty nice. They do late check out on race day (2pm) which was nice.
- Parking: Valet at hotel was $27/night and they add that to your hotel bill. We noticed afterwards that there was cheaper parking next door.
- Food: Plenty of restaurants within walking distance. We ate at Rock Bottom. There were no available reservations but the wait was only 30 minutes during busy dinner time.
- Expo: One of the biggest and best I've seen. Lots of free stuff. Be prepared to walk a lot. Bib pick up is on the opposite side of the t-shirt pick up area. Hell, you are about to run a long distance so the walk can't hurt you.
Because I don't want to bore you anymore, I will post about race day later this week!!