Wednesday, January 22

Houston Marathon: Week 16

This is the 18th installment in a multi-part series documenting my path to the Houston Marathon.

Last week's post: Week 15   

Week 16 Primary Focus:         Taper
Longest Run To-Date:             12.75mi

My 16th week of training was one of the hardest. Not in the physical sense, but from a mental one. Imagine being in a routine, a strict and regular one at that, and then all of the sudden the routine is abruptly changed. A disruption in what is normal occurs, and it all happens right before the race. This week I was moody (sorry, Jessie), stressed, anxious... and I used the urination station quite a bit. This, my friends, is called race week.

Race Week

A lot of people believe they need to make wholesale adjustments the week leading up to a race, when small tweaks will not only suffice, but are preferable. Making major adjustments to nutrition, sleep, hydration or any other behavior isn't necessary. Small-scale changes are enough to get you race-ready. As we've already established: the work has already been done. Now we maintain.

Some of the focus throughout the week included:

  • A little more water and electrolytes (perhaps more sea salt on meals)
  • More focus on getting to bed earlier
  • Making sure I didn't skip any meals
  • Scaling carbohydrates up a bit more to ensure your glycogen tanks are full
  • Putting forth an effort to keep stress low
Outside of these items, it was business as usual. I had some runs that were short. Many of them incorporated some drills and quick bursts of speed to keep the muscles firing.

Throughout the week my job was hectic. I had several presentations and many to-do's as a project I'm working on reached a critical point in the plan. I hardly thought about the marathon as I was so focused on the 'next thing' in the office. One side of me thinks this was good, as it kept my mind off of potentially negative thoughts regarding the race ("Am I ready? Can I do it?"). But the other side of me thinks the stress from work may have had a ripple effect and taken a toll by affecting my sleep and potentially disrupting normal hormone levels. 

Come Friday afternoon, when I left the office, it was all-focus on the marathon. Work-related items were a thing of the past. The only thing that mattered now was Houston. Friday night I went to see Lone Survivor with Jessie and my dad. It was a great movie that put things into perspective, including pain threshold. 

Here we go

Saturday morning I slept in a bit, got up, and went on an easy tune-up run with Jessie. The weather was beautiful. My legs felt a little heavy, but again, this was by design; no need to worry. Soon after the run my mom picked Jessie and me up, we went to the airport, grabbed a flight to Houston, and were there in no-time. 

At the Houston Airport
After getting our rental car we headed off to an amazing Paleo-friendly restaurant in Houston called Corner Table. I had spaghetti squash, which was delicious.

Jessie and my mom, Pam
We then went to the Expo to pick up my race-packet which included different goodies, my bib, and my timing chip that tracks me during the race.

At the Expo
Afterwards, it was off to the hotel to get checked-in, put the feet up and relax before dinner. The hotel was conveniently located just a couple of blocks from the starting line, which made it easier for race morning logistics. The race started in Downtown Houston, so parking would have been a nightmare. Those sorts of hassles aren't worth it when you're trying to mentally prepare for a 26.2mi race.

After dinner, it was back to the hotel to organize my race morning items: shoes, clothes, watch, nutrition, etc. After unwinding and clearing my head, I was in bed by 9:15p. I laid there and thought: Holy cow, over 16 weeks ago I started this journey... and the event is tomorrow morning. My goodness time flies. Here we go.

Stay tuned for my Houston Marathon race re-cap...

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