Pre-Race Thoughts and Fuel

Tomorrow morning I’ll be running the Rock n’Roll Providence Half Marathon. 13.1 miles is usually my favorite distance but this time, I’m nervous. I’ve had a nasty sinus infection/chest cold for the past two days and this morning was the first time I woke up with the ability to breathe through my nose. I’ve spent the majority of my day chugging OJ mixed with EmergenC. It’s been intense.

This is my third bottle of OJ today. The smile is more than slightly forced.

This is my third bottle of OJ today. The smile is more than slightly forced.

I went to packet pick-up at the expo this morning. The expo was okay, about the size you’d expect from an event of its scale. The expected vendors were there, nothing new or exciting which is always a little disappointing. I always like to find a vendor I’ve never seen before a new product launch. I guess two years in a row at the Boston expo has made me a bit of an expo-snob. Do those exist? I’m gonna go ahead and say yes. I didn’t buy much, but I’m happy with what I came home with.

The bounty.

The bounty.

I picked up some Nuun Hydration based on the recommendations of every runner on Twitter. I swear I’m the last person from the #runchat to try it. I also grabbed my go-to Vanilla Gu’s just in case. I rarely eat them on runs, but I think it’s a comforting factor to know that I have them if I need them.

My stomach tends to be fickle on race mornings. I usually can’t eat much so I need to make sure what I do eat is substantial enough to get me through. At this years Boston Marathon the pre-race nerves were so bad I barely managed to choke down a banana. I stuffed my pockets with Gu’s and hoped the urge to vomit would pass a couple miles in. By mile 16 the pure, empty hunger my body felt was not only awful but incredibly distracting. I started staring at spectators hoping to see some sort of food being thrown my way. A mile later a little girl was handing out chocolate chip cookies. I think her mother saw the joy/desperation in my eyes and said “Honey, give the nice runner a napkin and send her with a few cookies for the road- she needs them!”. I still have no idea what the actual quality of those cookies was, but my memory at the time was it being the single best food I’d even consumed.

Since this is my first race over ten miles since that day I started getting a little panicky about what I’d eat tonight and tomorrow morning to avoid a repeat of that desperate feeling. Along with the race nerves, I’ve been sick so I need to make sure whatever I eat is familiar and stomach friendly. I started going through the list of possibilities in my head. After everything that was too heavy, too creamy, too full of gluten (still so sad to me) or just down-right not what I was in the mood food; I was left with one of my favorite healthy go-to’s. Turkey Chili.

I know, Chili is not what most people think when they think “pre-race meal”. The reasoning behind this was two fold- First. I love this turkey chili. It’s so healthy but so filling and warming and yummy. Second- it’s spicy as all get-out and will (hopefully) help clear out anything that may be lingering in my sinuses. When I was little and had a stuffy nose, my mom would always feed me incredibly spicy food. Mom doesn’t believe in kid food vs. adult food. The pediatrician was very concerned when she informed him I was being fed chili at 8 months old. I turned out fine. So I’m told. The point is, the spicy food flushes out your sinuses and that’s just what I need.

I’ll post the recipe for the chili and the amazing Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins I made for breakfast on Monday. Tonight I want to focus on getting hydrated, rested and processing how I feel about tomorrow.

This is my first BIG race since Boston. I did a small ten-miler a couple weeks later and some 5ks and local races since. Rock n’Roll races are big. There are crowds, loud music and lots of spectators. I’m excited but the closer I get to race day the more nervous I seem to be. I don’t know how I’m going to react or if I’m going to get overly emotional at the finish. I’ll wear my Boston wrist band with pride and may even get to meet some other members of the 5700 Strong at the finish. I’ll accept how I feel when it comes and for now I’m just thankful the Rock n’Roll series offered everyone from Boston a free chance to run a race. I think giving everyone a reason to get back out there helped a lot of people with the healing process. It’s a gesture that didn’t go unnoticed.

Can’t wait to let everyone know how tomorrow goes! I was originally aiming for a 2:15 but given the respiratory situation I’ll be happy with anything that’s not a DNF.

Stay sweaty!




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