Friday, November 30, 2012

Always Try Something New on Race Day

One thing I forgot about barely running the week before a marathon (aka the taper, heard of it? On the blogosphere, where us runner addicts lament the loss of endorphins and the feeling of slothiness?), is that being less active makes me much less sleepy.   This whole week I’ve been popping awake at 6:00 a.m. or earlier despite my 7:00 a.m. alarm—even though my normal running self would happily sleep in until 7:00 like a log (barring rude neighbor noise).  No running = I only need about 7 hours of sleep.  Running regularly = I am wiped out if I only get 7 hours (read: I'm often wiped out).  It finally makes sense to me how some people are fine on 5 hours of sleep.  They don't run?

I woke up way too early and put on jeans for casual Friday, only to despair that these normally comfortable jeans were giving me a hell of a time trying to squeeze into them.  Curse you, taper, you’ve already attacked my thighs! Or curse you three thanksgivings!

Ultimately I determined that I had put my jeans in the wash, and so they shrunk.  That is always the right answer.  

The forecast for marathon Sunday in Sacramento, improving ever so gently.

Yesterday, this forecast was accompanied by a bright red warning of floods, and a higher wind speed.  Does anyone know for sure if South wind is a head wind or tail wind? I have really high hopes, as my friend Lesley chimed, that these winds are a tailwind.  I’m just going to strap a sail on my back and fly!

I can say one thing: if the weather sucks, at least it takes off any remaining pressure to dig for a PR.  I can’t break any records while facing 25+ mph winds.  Not even music video wind hair records.

It’s easy to have a good attitude about this.  All you have to do is say “the weather will be terrible, but so what, marathons are not easy anyway! You deal.”  I don’t/can't worry about the weather.  It’s totally out of anybody’s control.

But for someone who runs just ONE marathon a year, it is bad luck that the one day of 365 falls on Sacramento's most blustery storm all year.  Just bad luck.  And it's okay to be bummed about bad luck!

2011 bragging about its clear, perfect weather...
One other thing I can say is this: there are a TON of friends--friends in real life, and friends from the internet--who will be running CIM on Sunday too, and that knowledge brings a feeling of camaraderie and togetherness that makes it seem 1000% more exciting and manageable, no matter the conditions.

I am mentally prepared for the forecasts to remain accurate, and for the possibility that heavy wind gusts and/or flooding make the course too difficult to finish or just not worth it after two chilled hours only finding me at the halfway point.  But, I think and hope it's going to be completely fine.  Just some rain, and some normal wind.  


Seriously shut it.  That's the rule, that's my rule, and it has not backfired on me so far.

Two very significant things I will be trying on race day (make that three).

1) Wearing these lightweight Adidas capri tights with great nooks for Gu and other snacks, which I bought at my gym today out of concern that I don't have a great solution for how to run comfortably in really wet conditions.

My thighs look way less cute in these, but at least I have shins and a torso

I simply don't think this will lead to a disaster.  They fit, more or less, and I will run in them.

2) This one's stupid.  I might run with a new GPS running watch that I have never tried out.

I currently rock the Garmin Forerunner 305, but for MONTHS and months now, it has been testing my patience.  It will not turn on anymore unless I do a Hard start while it is plugged in.  And even then it takes several minutes of work to get it to turn on.  So I haven't turned it off in weeks.  It just stays on, in the charger.

My clunky 305 from last year's CIM

I told my mom that I didn't think the 305 was going to survive much longer, and would like a new watch for Christmas/birthday, maybe the 410.  When I directed her to the Cyber Monday sale that Neon Blonde Runner alerted me to ($150 with free shipping!), my mom pounced on it (unbeknownst to me) and had it mailed straight to me.  I received it tonight (Friday) and played with it after getting home from watching Lincoln.  (JGL is in EVERY good movie this year!).

Circle is the new rectangle

It seems really crazy cool.  I think I'm going to enjoy this baby.  And so I'm thinking of using it on Sunday (it's so much LIGHTER! and so much less dead/dying than my 305!).

So, Garmin 410 users, is the watch user-friendly enough that a newbie can comfortably run with it from day one?

3) Sounds like I will be wearing a visor due to the rain, and no sunglasses due to the rain.  I usually do the opposite.


Taper has turned me into pudding.  That is how I would describe the feeling of only moving my body 20 miles this week.  Does that make me psycho? Yes.  Talk to you after [trying to] run 26.2.


  1. Ooooo...I like the looks of that new Garmin! I also have the 305 and feel like I have a VW bug strapped to my wrist. I don't need to lift weights.

    Can't wait to screeeeeeeeeam at you as you blaze by :)

  2. I agree -- *always* try something new. What's race day without a little excitement?

    Curious to hear how your new watch works out. I've been having similar troubles with my 305 for a while now & I'm pretty sure its days are numbered.

  3. I have the 405 (looks exactly like the 410), since your not new to using a garmin, you shouldn't have any problems with the upgrade. BUT if you plan on using it at CIM, you might want to do a little test run with it on Sat (even if it's just a slow 5 min jog/walk) just to make sure you know what button is for what. lol

  4. I can't wait to see how it goes. I know for me personally, bad weather is a huge barriar and it has often relieved me a little bit because of weather issues if I don't do as great as I wanted. That watch is really nice and I'm jealous.

  5. I do new stuff on race day. It only backfired once, when I had truly embarrassing underwear chaffing. But I'd definitely play with the new Garmin just to make sure you don't do something annoying like accidentally pause it at mile 3.7.
    So me and my injured self have been on a running break, and here is what running apparently does to me: makes me tired at 10:30 pm and makes me hungry. Without running, I'm all bright-eyed at midnight with no interest in sleep, and I don't really have an appetite. That's weird for me, since I'm usually hungry every 1.5 hours, but I do have to wonder how much grocery money I'd save if I stopped running.

    That's the other weird thing. Because my hunger adjusts with my running, I don't think running contributes much to weight maintenance for me. I had months of no running this summer and gained what felt like 2 to 3 lbs over 5 months and I usually gain weight in the summer, anyway. So I think definitely your jeans shrunk.

    Good luck and here's to a stiff tailwind!

  6. I have a 405, and got very used to using it in the rain. I'm not sure if the 410 addressed this problem, but the 405's scroll bezel is VERY finicky when wet, so whenever I'm in the rain or super sweaty with the 405, I always lock the bezel (by pushing the two side buttons at the same time). That way there's no chance of me accidentally brushing it, changing the screen to something else, and then no longer being able to manipulate the bezel see my pace. You might want to test that feature out, or just consider locking it through the whole race so you can always see your splits? Sounds like it's gonna be an interesting day... Hoping for a tailwind!

  7. I can't wait to hear how your race goes!!! I hope the rain holds out for you and the winds are at your back the whole way!!

  8. Oh, the blogger taper whining, such a staple in the running blog community. I could never survive on five hours of sleep a night even if I was unemployed and living with my parents and my only responsibility was showering. I just love, and need, sleep. My last run with my Garmin 305 was when I saw you! It promptly died at my friend's house right after. I'm sorry your weather has to be lame, that sucks, but good luck anyway!

  9. My 405 hates rain and sweat and goes nuts, like Sweatykid said, lock the bezel.

  10. I'm sorry to say that a south wind means that the wind is coming from the south, and therefore, will be a headwind for at least part of the course. The good news is that it was originally supposed to be from the SW, which would have ensured headwind for the whole course. So, yay? Regardless, I'm going to have a GREAT time... this will be my first marathon, and I will enjoy it no matter what happens. I'm so excited!!

    BTW, good call on the visor. I went out for a quick mile in the rain yesterday just to see what it'd be like, and my running hat was BY FAR the best thing. It kept the rain out of my eyes... I definitely did not need glasses.

  11. I am dying to replace the clunky old 305.
    I think South wind will be sort of headwind? I think we run WSWish?

  12. YES, run with the new watch FOR SURE! I lost my 305 and was "forced" to get a new 405, best thing ever. It's really similar, just test the buttons out a few times, you shouldn't have to really push any buttons once you start running anyway. Good luck, I know you are gonna kill it!

  13. I get to see you today!!!
    My dad says (S at 24mph) means the wind is blowing from the South at 24 mph...right into our pretty little windblown faces :)
    I'm right there with you on the DAMN THIS IS MY ONLY Marathon of the year!!!!....urghhhh!
    I will be there with you, we will fight, laugh, cry, and have a blast! :)

  14. Two suggestions from a not-very-expert runner:

    1) Sure, go with the new capris, provided that they have a drawstring (nothing worse than having to hike your tights up every 2 minutes, like I did in my first HM).

    2) As someone who still hasn't figured out how to make her Garmin work (I only wear it in races because I do most of my workouts indoors, so I still haven't played with it enough to master it), I can recommend that you wear a regular lightweight (and water-resistant) watch (like a Timex) on your other wrist. That way, if you do something stupid to your Garmin (like turn it off instead of on), you've still got a regular watch to help you track time (and from which you can estimate pace, if your math is good - although I see you're a lawyer :) )

  15. Unfortunately, we have a headwind : ( but yes, it does sorta take the pressure of doesn't it? I'm just hoping to find a tall man to run behind so he can block the wind. Maybe I'll tag behind a pacing group. Is that cheating? Good luck tomorrow!

  16. I feel like tomorrow is like a celebrity marathon with all these fabulous runner friends (you included) doing it.

    I can't wait to hear about the race, hopefully there will be a lull in the wind and rain during the (less than) 3 hours that it will take you to run it.

    Nice work on getting the 410, mom!

    I wonder if Lincoln is worth watching...the majority of it was filmed here in Richmond, so I'd like to see it just for that fact alone. I've heard it's good (but that might just be the biased Richmonders who I talk with)!

  17. Make sure you slather on a later of anti-chafe under those tights. Just saying - taint chaffage is not fun. I also second the new Garmin - I have the 405, which looks exactly like that one. Make sure you lock the bezel before you start running - it will totally go nuts and make you insane in the rain if you don't. I always lock mine as soon as it locates the satellites (press both buttons at once). You can still stop/start/lap which it's locked. I love mine! I have my screen set to show me my current pace, total mileage, and split average.

    You will do great. If anything, you'll have a hell of a story about running in monsoon conditions!

  18. I'm not sure if I'm going to freak you out by asking this, but did you go out for sushi tonight in Sacramento? Not that I've seen a lot of pics of you, but I swear this girl looked just like you. Don't mean to sound like a stalker...

    1. It wasn't me :) I ate pizza in Folsom for dinner.

  19. I just started reading your blog and noticed your blog from a few months ago about standing at work. I've had on-and-off back trouble for a few years and managed to fashion a do-it-myself standing desk arrangement because it was too much of a hassle to go through the HR process to get a proper one. This will work if your computer set-up is a laptop + docking station + monitor. I simply elevate the docking station/laptop combo on a couple of stacks of printer paper (I'm 5'7" and need two stacks). My computer monitor can be raised so it's at eye level when I'm standing. Bingo - standing desk.

    I also use one of those goofy-looking stability ball chair things. I got mine at Gaiam, and it comes with a frame, so it looks a bit more chair-like and rolls like a chair. What I like best about it that I can shift my weight around on it while I'm sitting, and it releases the tension in my back and hips.

    1. My stand up desk arrangement is similar! I have my laptop on top of two boxes, a mousepad and mouse to the right on a box, and the keyboard in front of the laptop on a box. It's been going great, I sit 1-2 hours a day at work (barring meetings) and it's an eyesore but worth it.

  20. Ooooh I can't wait to go read your race recap now and see how trying new things worked out!! I know in our neck of the woods it cleared up really nicely yesterday, so I hope it did the same for you!


we have a strict no-word-verification policy. Comment away!