Monday, February 25, 2008

Pre-Race Report (2/23/08)

On Friday night, I had my gigantic pre-race pasta binge. With the race on Sunday, I read that two nights before is the best time to carbo-load because it takes a night and a day to really start to use the carbs. I tried to get to bed fairly early because the next couple of days were going to be crazy.

I had a very early start to my day on Saturday, with a 4 AM alarm for the flight to New Orleans (through Baltimore). My dad, coming from Baltimore, and I got into New Orleans around 11:30 AM local time and headed to the hotel to check in and then for some lunch. The hotel also happened to be the spot for the Expo, which was convenient.

After a bland lunch (purposefully so I didn't upset my stomach), we headed to the Expo. What a disappointment! It was in a very small room and it was obvious from the beginning that this was going to be a budget affair. Nice technical race shirt but absolutely no goodies in the bag--just pamphlets for other races. No goo, no energy bars, no great coupons--nothing. For a $75 entrance fee, I would have expected much more.

They were missing an information center where we could ask questions like where should spectators go to get a good view of the race, etc. They didn't even have a detailed course for the race (see below). When asked for a street view, they told us to spend 50 cents to get a newspaper--lovely.I attended a first-time marathoner session which was OK. The one thing that the guy said that really resonated with me is that the race is a celebration of your training. It's not a test and you're not getting paid for this. Celebrate all of your hard work by finishing the race and enjoying yourself. I hadn't even thought of it that way before and I think that really helped to calm me down.

I had pasta again for dinner that night with a bunch of bread. I asked the waitress to just use olive oil and garlic and to '86 the white wine. I knew that olive oil would work for me, but white wine sauce (and the extreme amount of butter that goes with it) would not. I'm very happy I kept things bland again the night before.

My dad and I watched a ton of college basketball games on Saturday, which helped to relax me. By Saturday night, I was feeling pretty calm and got to sleep very quickly. Believe it or not, I think I got 6 hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 5 AM.

Upon waking up Saturday morning, I immediately ate a Clif Bar to get me going and we left the hotel at 6:05 AM to walk the mile to the Superdome for the start of the race at 7. We got there by 6:30 which was perfect because I didn't have to wait around too long and get extra nervous. I stretched, grabbed a little water to wash down my Clif Shot (man, I love that company) and got ready for the gun.

Ah, the pre-race stuffing your mouth with Clif Shots -- only a runner!

One learning (among many) is that your Garmin watch has a tough time finding the satellite if you've flown a couple hundred miles from the last time you wore it. I powered it on about 4 minutes before the gun because I wanted to give it time. Well, by gun time, it was still looking for the satellites. It didn't finally grab a satellite until a minute into the race. I immediately started my watch, which was no more than 1-2 minutes after I crossed the starting mat and 6-7 minutes after gun time.

I was off... Race report to follow....


CewTwo said...

Too cool! And support from your Dad! That is one thing that I will not have if I run a marathon. Don't misunderstand. I have friends and family to support my running, but it is not the same as your parents!

Sounded like the right decision for the food. Part of my training is oatmeal. two packs of 'Lower Sugar" Brown Sugar and Maple Quaker oats. I love it and it works great for me.

The expo did sound depressing! I'm not a social creature. I would have grabbed a friend and ran through it, but probably would not have lingered. I am glad that y9ou did. It sounds like you got some good advice.

I'm very impressed, Greg! You did so well!!

ShirleyPerly said...

How nice to have family support during your first marathon. Yes, this is a smaller race and as such, the expo is not very impressive compared to, say, Boston, Chicago, Marine Corps, which also cost a lot more and have 10-20 times the number of folks running. But you can spend so much time walking around and hanging out at some expos that you might not get the rest you need before the race. You'll often also have to line up for the start 1-3 hours in advance which can be a real drag. So, personally, I like smaller races. Can't wait to read the rest of your report.

Susan said...

So far so good! Congrats in advance!