- Organization is key. Having everything prepared in advance takes a lot of the edge out of the event, and allows the quiet focus to settle in and guide you. Do what you can ahead of time so you can enjoy the experience.
- The race starts out with a bang, but it doesn't need to end in a fizzle. I am a solid believer in going out almost ridiculously slow at the beginning of the race. Proper pacing makes the biggest difference, and will show up not at the beginning of the race, but at the end. Resist the temptation to bolt at the beginning and get into a comfortable pace by the 3km.
- Go with what you know. Never try anything new on race day. I decided to not go out and buy a new running outfit, because I want to be comfortable and know what to expect. I am taking my fuel belt and using my own nutrition to prevent issues. As a result, I will remember my super smile instead of my clothes as I look back at the photos afterwards.
- Stretch. I seem to always have serious periformis issues before the race, to the point of horrible hamstring pain. Take the time to stretch and relax and it will really help alleviate a lot of the stress.
- Rest. I have a serious shopping list that I want to take on in Boston. However, I want to ensure that I get plenty of rest to prepare both mentally and physically. It's going to be a big day, and fun, so I want to be prepared.
- Use a paceband. Believe it or not, long distance running is very strategic. How you play the game will determine how you will win. Mark when you are going to take in gels on the paceband, and write power words around the times when you expect it to be challenging (like 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and of course 42km). I am STRONG, CONFIDENT and READY and I RUN FROM THE HEART.
- Remember why you got into this mess. I absolutely love marathon running. It's a sense of peace and freedom that I absolutely love. I also love the thrill of the challenge of the daunting task, and marvel of what our human bodies are truly capable of.
- Thank the volunteers. I am always amazed of the love and dedication given by the volunteers associated with the races. It continues to blow me away that they would give up so much for a stranger with a crazy goal. So I am always grateful.
It's been an amazing and complicated road to reach this point. I have learned a lot about myself, and what running can be. I have also been thankful for all of the people whom I have met along the way, and how they have made me appreciate this journey.
So while I am at it, let's remember the external gratification that I am lusting after to cherish for years to come.... ;-)