In one of my first posts I promised honesty, so if you are easily queasied, this is your warning that this post may be considered gross by some, but honest by all.
I have a friend who once told me running marathons was extreme. I tried to explain that without proper training, running a mile could be considered extreme. Lets face it, most activities could be viewed as extreme in some way. IE - growing up riding horses I know that riding in shorts isn't' wise. The saddle tends to pinch your inner thigh waddle. Is horse riding extreme if you walk around with thigh waddle welts afterwards? How about that sister in law who tends to tip over for no reason while walking, resulting in repeated ankle damage over time? Is walking extreme? Or, are there certain risks that are a normal part of that activity? If properly trained for a marathon, it is really just another long run. Just something to think about, food for thought as I describe the less glamorous but normal marathon prep we have done this week.
For me, the week started with toenail prep. After our last marathon, my big toe nails on both feet were very tender, black, and one has been half way lifted off ever since (5 months ago). The black parts were just about grown out, but after our last long run 2.5 weeks ago, they are black again. Not painful at all during the runs, just tender a few days afterwards. I like to do my toe prep about a week early. I trim everything as short as possible, and give myself a week in case anything is too short and hurts, I have a week to grow it out a little. Keeping nails short is supposed to help eliminate the blackening/loosing of nails. Then, after the trimming, I painted them a bright blue that Emma picked out for me. Next, glitter. I now can't see the black that is already there, and wont' be able to see whatever damage results from Sunday until I take the paint off. Also, I got a pair of flats for service and meetings this week as I will not risk my ankles in heels this week. On our run Saturday, there were a number of unavoidable puddles. As a result of my feet being wet, I developed a blister on my little toe. If it isn't gone by Sunday, that toe will have to be wrapped in tape to prevent more friction. Tape stays in place better than band aids.
For Brian, the forecast of rain brings its own worries as far as raw nipples go. (remember, you were warned!) Guys definitely have a bad deal as far as rain and friction goes. For the dudes, the wetter your shirt, the worse the friction is. See funny nipple video here. I've read many a race recap describing how many of the men finished w/blood spots on the front of their shirts. Normal wear and tear, considering the undertaking. There are different methods for dealing with this issue, band aids, Vaseline, Glide, experimenting w/fabrics, ect...or just sucking it up and wearing a dark shirt so its not noticeable. That is Brian's style, so we got him a black whicking mesh tank and new pullover jacket of the same material. He ran in it on Saturday w/no issues, although it wasn't raining and was half the distance Sundays run will be.
I should mention he doesn't worry about his toes, as he hasn't had too much of an issue so far.
Other than that, we are still figuring out what to carry with us, if we will wear our packs or not, jackets or not, hats/visors or not, what to put in our drop bags. (no worries, carrying the camera is non optional!) Drop bags are bags you can put your last minute things in, like if you wear sweats or jackets to the start that you want to take off right at the start, or if you have food/drinks you want waiting at the finish, you can put that stuff in a bag at the start and they take it to the finish and have it waiting for you. You can also have drop bags at certain aid stations waiting in some races. If you know you want chocolate milk and GU at mile 20, you can have them take your bag and have it waiting there for you. Since we will be arriving at the finish and then being bused to the start, what do we do with things like car keys, wallets, purses, ect?? Hide it in the hotel, car, or drop bags?
So, there are quite a few of the smaller issues that we are working out this week. Trying to get to bed early, nap when possible, get as many protein shakes in as possible. Actually, one of the biggest challenges of the last few weeks before a marathon is eating as much protein and complex carbs as possible w/o seeing your weight increase. Since you are tapering during this time and not running as much, it is a constant balancing act! This is also the point that if people are going to question us on not eating enough, it usually happens. Leaning out is just a normal thing that happens when eating this way and putting in the miles/workouts. We always just chuckle when it comes up because most people have no idea how much eating is involved in this process, but lets just say to keep up endurance for this sort of undertaking, there is a lot of eating that goes on!
Then there are things like making sure the laundry is done because I need to have our things and the kids things packed on Friday, although I am aiming for Thursday, and don't want a big hurried rush at the last minute. Keeping the house clean all week to avoid one massive cleaning spree is also a challenge with 3 little monkeys running around. Brian needs to get in for a hair cut on Friday, he likes to wait until the last possible minute before a long run as he gets a tan line, so the shorter the hair at race time the better. Making sure the kids are prepped for service and studied for Sunday meeting and know what their answers are, meeting bags packed, ect....
So, its a busy week, which is probably a good thing!! I have 2 more workouts and 2 runs left this week, but just resting after Wednesday. Brian is trying for 2 more runs this week also, and will ride his bike to work whenever it isn't raining. For the most part, the physical training is really over, just a little more prep of the small stuff and we are ready to go! I think overall we are feeling ready, calm, and looking forward to a weekend away, and what will no doubt be an adventure!