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Chicago Marathon: Pre-Race Festivities

Posted Oct 09 2012 11:50am
This past weekend was truly extraordinary. Thank you to everyone for making my weekend so memorable, enjoyable, and special. I'm very grateful to all my friends and family for your support and kind words!!

The following gives a bit of information on my training program, what I was up to Marathon-Eve Day, and what I ate since carb-loading isn't exactly Celiac-Approved. 

I followed Hal Higdon's Intermediate 1 training program. It was precisely what I needed to push me to the finish line yesterday. I'll admit, however, I had some lazy days. Ahem, weeks. In fact, weeks 13, 14, 15 I was so burnt out on running I skipped many of my shorter runs. Next time I train I'll find more discipline to commit to these shorter runs. Although skipping those short runs was by no means detrimental to my marathon; those short runs make you faster. And now that I've PR'd (Personal Record) once... okay, it was my first marathon so OF COURSE it was a PR, but still... I want to PR again :)

Many thanks to Hal Higdon. He does it right... don't worry that you don't run 26.2 miles before the big day. What they say is true, it's way harder to recover from that distance than it is from 20 miles... and your training WILL carry you through that last 10K. If it did for me, it will for ANYONE! p.s. Hal Higdon offers free training programs for almost any running distance: including 5K's!!

The day before your first race (of any distance!), act like a kid on Christmas morning. PLEASE!! I did. I'm sure my family really appreciated my utter-dysfunction but hey, it's your weekend. Soak it up! 

I ran with Brett (my first mistake?) on Marathon-Eve Day morning around 7:30AM. Hal Higdon called for a short 2 mile jaunt so off we went. My Garmin wouldn't find satillite in the city so we decided to run for 20 minutes and forget the pace. 

If you don't know already, Brett is FAST! Way faster than his nervous, anxiety-ridden, kid on Christmas morning girlfriend. Not to mention, I WAS FREEZING! It was all of 35 degrees and all I packed was a long sleeve Nike top, shorts, and a visor. Brrrrr!

By the half-way point my Garmin kicked in and told me we were running at break-neck pace. That's not exactly what I pictured for my short, little, fun 2-miler the day before my 26.2 miler. When we finally reached our hotel... my ears were frozen and my head was aching off my body. Yet, I was so relieved to have had such a bad run. 

Wait, what? 

Without that bad run, I wouldn't have bought a headband earwarmer thingy for race day; which I wore for 25.9 miles of the 26.2 mile race. Moral of the Story: Don't worry about looks, worry about warmth or keeping yourself cool if it's wicked hot. 

I also did the whole Expo Check-In deal, which made everything VERY official! 
I'm off to the left a bit hesitant to enter :)
Bib and Timing Chip in hand!!
PRE-RACE MEALS (Important for Celiacs, maybe not so important for others)
On Thursday and Friday I ate more carbohydrates than normal (white rice and fruit) and in the two weeks prior to race day I made sure to drink copious amounts of water. I also drank a coconut water on Thursday and Friday which helped me stay hydrated. 

Saturday morning I had a lovely breakfast with Brett and my Mum at South Water Kitchen in Chicago, on the corner of E Wacker and Wabash. I wasn't AT ALL hungry (pre-race jitters) so the mushroom, swiss fritatta with fruit was way too much. But it was yummy!

Jimmy John's was lunch... always my go-to place for a quick bite. I didn't want anything too heavy. I couldn't carb-load because most carbs used in carb-loading contain gluten. So instead I chose fresh, light ingredients that would digest quickly and easily. Thanks JJ, you're always so good to me!
In Chicago, GO HERE!!
We ate at Sayat Nova for dinner. Total hidden gem of an Armenian restaurant in Chicago. It's off Michigan Ave on Ohio. I'll be completing a review on it over the next few days. Watch for the review, read it, and then go there. No arguing. Best pre-race meal ever! Chicken Kabobs, rice, grilled onions, with the best lentil soup you'll ever have.
And they take the chicken OFF the kabob for you... I call that a win!!
Happy and full at Sayat Nova!!
Wanna Share?
What are some of the aspects of your pre-race ritual? Share so other AHL readers can learn from your success!

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