Tapering before the Disney Marathon was a nightmare. I was forced into an early taper after a bad 20 miler and had to cut my mileage drastically due to crippling IT band pain. I was an emotional mess for the entire three weeks leading up to the race. I don't remember much else except being sick with anxiety. It's such a stark contrast to how I'm feeling going into the New York City marathon (13 days, whaaat?!). Yes, my first 20 miler was terrible. But following it were some of the best runs I've had in a very long time. I don't feel any taper madness and I'm not panicking that I'm losing all of my fitness by not banging out a third 20 miler. I've put in the miles and I am going to run this race the best that I can.
This past weekend I went down to New York for a very short trip (as in, approximately 36 hours). The goals were to celebrate my brother's birthday and to run part of the race course. I have mentioned before that I'm an ignorance is bliss sort of runner, and I don't really look at elevation charts or course maps prior to a race. But this is the New York City freaking Marathon and I figured I might as well try to prepare myself mentally as well as physically. I asked two of my friends who have run the race before to take me through the "difficult" parts of the course and voila:
The run ended up being most of the Manhattan miles, with a little more of Central Park mixed in. The run started with the 59th street bridge and I was warned that it's a difficult part. You're about 15 miles in, the bridge is over a mile long, and it's eerily quiet since there are no spectators allowed. The rest of the run was fairly uneventful, and I tried to focus on the company and the new scenery. I love Boston, but man, I am really bored of all of my running routes. I had such an enjoyable run and got a few more confidence miles - as my friend called them - under my belt. I think, however, that the biggest benefit was probably mental. It was good to see what I'd be dealing with for miles 17-19 and 21-26.
See that singlet? That's vintage, right there! It's my dad's and he got it from one of his NYC marathons in the early 90'ss from one of the three NYC marathons he ran and now it's mine. I wore it on Saturday for shits and giggles and I was a fan. It's just plain ol' cotton (heresy for runners, I KNOW!), but it's vented/waffled/I don't know the right word for it, and it kept me pretty cool with a dri-fit tank underneath. I love the idea of having something of meaning with me when I'm racing so this may be my marathon outfit, weather permitting. Maybe I'm also a little superstitious and think that it helped give me some good running juju.
Are you a superstitious runner? Do you have any pre- and race-day habits that you are convinced bring you good luck? SHARE!