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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I didn't have anything on my workout schedule for today, so I spent my time thinking about Sunday and all the choices that I have to make between now and then.

Choice number one has really already been made - what to wear. Since my wife wants to be able to see me on the course, I went out and bought a bright green shirt for race day, along with an actual pair of running shorts. Thus far I've run in my "exercise shorts" which are really intended for basketball. They serve the purpose, but on extra long runs, they run the risk of chafing. Learned that the hard way.

I've got my running hat, because I can't stand having my hair in my face while I run, and of course I've got my shoes. I'll probably have to look into getting a new pair after the race. I did some adding the other day, and I saw that I've put over 300 miles on those shoes in the last 11 weeks. They're holding up pretty well, but I'll want to keep an eye on them.

I even know which socks I'm going to wear on race day: the ones that are short but not so short that the back of my shoe can find the skin on my heel.

I know what I'm planning to eat beforehand (an orange and energy gummies), I know the stretches that I want to do, and I know what pace I want to shoot for.

Most of the decisions that I have left to make are little intangible things, like what I'm going to eat the night before, or how I'm planning to get to the race. I could walk, but that would mean getting up even earlier than I already am, and I don't want to risk not getting enough sleep. We could drive, but I worry about how much parking will be available. I guess we'll see how we're feeling the night before and then make the choice.

One thing that I am very conflicted on is whether or not I'm going to listen to my iPod during the race. On the one hand, it is allowed in this race, and I've been using music for most of my training. I've put together the beginnings of a marathon playlist, designed to let me know my approximate pace without having to check my watch. I could use the rhythm of the music to keep myself on pace and focused.

On the other hand, there are all sorts of things that I could miss by having the headphones in. I might find someone out on the course who shares my pace and is fun to talk to. That makes the whole thing go a lot more quickly. There will be bands all along the route, and I would be able to hear them from far away. Most importantly, I'd be able to hear the crowd and their cheering all along the route, and it is impossible to overestimate the adrenaline rush that an audience can give.

Yes, for all the pageantry of the event, it would be nice to be able to hear everything. I worry that it will get lonely at some points of the course, but it is unlikely that, in a field of 6,000 marathon runners, I'll be running without someone around me for any real length of time.

I think I've actually made my mind up while writing this. At least for this marathon, I won't be wearing my headphones. I'll still take the iPod (because it's got a stopwatch in it), but I'll leave my ears open to the possibility of the road. Who knows what I might encounter out there?

I did get a better idea of what to expect from the Austin Post's marathon course description that the race organizers have been tweeting out. If you're interested in the whole thing, here is part 1 of the Austin marathon strategy guide.

Honestly, I got so excited reading the second half today that my heart rate actually increased. Particularly in the final bit, I could visualize the entire thing. I can't wait to read the last part tomorrow and see myself coming across the finish line. Actually, I can't wait for Sunday to ACTUALLY cross the finish line, but time is funny that way. It goes slower the closer you get to what you want.

Which, incidentally, leaves plenty of time for the weather to change its mind.

But I hope it doesn't.

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