Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon: Here We Are

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It’s Monday.

The Pittsburgh Marathon is on Sunday. As in six days from now. Or less than six since the marathon kicks off at 7:00 in the morning and now it’s almost 9:30pm and…

Oh dear.

I’m not overly nervous. Yet. I will be. Soon. But for now, I’m just calmly excited. Or in denial that come Sunday morning I will have to run 26.2 miles. It’s probably denial. Whatever the case, I’m ready.

What I’m Wearing

Marathon Outfit

My Oula tank, Suki shorts, and Lateral sports bra are all from Fabletics. I ran my last series of long runs in this outfit to make sure that everything stayed in place, nothing chafed, and that I didn’t overheat. Winner, winner, carb-loading dinner! It doesn’t hurt that I’ll be sporting some black and gold in Pittsburgh either. My socks are super lightweight, though I hope I’m not making a bad choice in wearing my Injinji socks. They’ve been bothering me lately, so I switched back to normal socks. I’ll be wearing the Mizuno Wave Rider 16 in Blazing Orange since I started to hoard them when I realized how much I loathe the 17. I’m planning on using the aid stations for water, but I may still wear my FuelBelt just in case. I trained with it, but I may ditch it if it’s going to be warm at all. And Body Glide. Because duh.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve “finalized” my marathon playlist, though I may add or remove some as race day approaches. I’ve got a mix of pop, rock, Christian, 90’s alternative, Army cadences, and inappropriate songs. A number of songs made it on the list just because they make me laugh. You need to laugh when you’re running 26.2 miles. Oh, and one country song because I apparently lost a bet or something.

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What I’m Eating/Drinking Now and Race Day

Today I drank 96 ounces of water, one glass of milk, one cup of coffee, and one banana, peanut butter, spinach smoothie. Hydration is important this week, and so are calories. I ate the smoothie breakfast, a black bean taco leftover lunch, a snack of cheese and crackers, and a veggie pot pie dinner. Come the night before the race, I’ll have some pasta with no sauce (it gives me heartburn even the next day for a run), and I’ll eat old people early, finishing no later than 5:30. This isn’t hard for us because we normally eat old people early. On Race Day, I’ll have a bagel at some dumb early hour. I’ll drink water until hour two and switch to Gatorade every other water stop until the end of the race. I’ll eat some magic beans. And after the race, my parents are making me a steak dinner back at The Farm.

What I’m Running This Week

Two three milers and a 15-minute shakeout run on Saturday morning. “Trust the taper” is all I keep thinking right now, because I want to go run all the miles. Right now. Telling me not to do something, not to run, makes me want to do it more.

How to Follow Me

I am thrilled that the Pittsburgh Marathon is using the RaceJoy app. It makes it super easy to follow me on race day. Simply download the app on your smartphone of choice (Apple, Android) and search for my name, Jenna Hatfield (bib number 3623). You can add me to your favorites and it will send you messages as I cross the various checkpoints. (I have also allowed the app to post to Facebook and Twitter with these updates for those without smartphones.) If you feel like fully stalking me, I did pay extra $0.99 to allow full GPS tracking. If you also pay the $0.99, you can track me on the map and find me after the race. I’m thrilled with how easy it was to set everything up for this race. I wish more races would utilize this system!

 

I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I’m excited. I’m at that point where I read things about the race—the finish, the crowds, the whole of everything—and I start to cry. Not bad tears. Tears of joy. I can’t believe I’m going to be a marathoner, a Runner of Steel.

Let’s do this, friends.

 

 

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Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon: Less Than Two Weeks to Go

Two Weeks to Go

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With just under a quarter of my 20-mile training run for the Pittsburgh Marathon completed on Saturday, a car whose driver was texting and driving pushed me off the road forcing me to step weird on some dried mud. I immediately felt pain on the top of my right foot. I also immediately panicked, due to the foot injury I endured after the Pittsburgh EQT 10 Miler last November. I ran a little longer in the direction of my 20-miler before deciding that pushing on a potentially injured foot with only two weeks before the marathon qualified as a bad choice.

Two Weeks to Go

I turned around, came upon my best cheering section ever and had her drive me home. In all, I only logged 6.28 miles. My medic husband looked at my foot, I took a shower (during which I cried all the tears), and took a two hour nap—but not before researching the following search strings.

  • I only ran 16 miles as my long run for marathon training
  • Am I going to fail my marathon because I only ran 16 miles?
  • I flunked my marathon training omg what do I do?

Tweets began to trickle in from fellow runners and friends, assuring me that I had put in all of the hard work, that I would be just fine, that anything over 16 is just a mental game anyway, that the adrenaline of race day would carry me through, that walking remains fine, that I can totally do this.

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I kept Googling, of course, to continue making myself feel better. I learned all kinds of things. Like that the 20 mile distance is an arbitrary number; there’s no magic number to get you across the finish line. That some training plans rely on the 16-mile run. I read a number of posts from people talking about their failed training seasons and the mental/adrenaline aspect of race day. And finally, I just nodded my head and said, “I’ve got this.”

Icing My Foot

My foot is “fine” in that it doesn’t hurt more when I put weight on it. My husband thinks that I stretched it weird on the dried mud. I am taking the train of thought that stopping was the right thing to do, that if I hadn’t done so, I wouldn’t be able to run at all come Marathon Day on May 4th. To focus too heavily on the arbitrary long-run number would be setting myself up for unnecessary failure.

My only goal time is not to be picked up by the sweep vehicle and transported to the finish line. Oh, and not to pass out on the course. That’s it at this point. I want to run my best, and I recognize that my best isn’t quite what I thought it would be way back in January—but that doesn’t make it any less than my best.

Next week I’ll give you all my last minute details to follow me on race day, what I’ll be wearing, what I’ll be listening to, what I’ll be eating and drinking, and so on. But before that, I’ll turn 33 on Friday. BOOM!