Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How big is your bicep?

I just measured my bicep to order purple sparkly arm warmers for the race.

10.5 inches of mightyness if you're curious ... which you are probably not. I don't think I'd be curious if the tables were turned.I'm not exactly sure I measured the right part of my bicep being new to bicep measuring and all but how off could it be? It's an arm sleeve for crying out loud.

Getting ready for the Rome Marathon
I am very excited for this race. Although I've sort of chucked the time goals out the window which is not my favorite thing to do but oh well I'm not setting any amazing time standards here.

The truth is that since this is (most likely) the only time I'm ever going to run this race it's more important to me to have a fun and memorable day than to run a super fast race. Do I say this before every race... possibly. Does that mean I'll never run my fastest race ... maybe.

This combined with my complete and total lack of knowledge about the course makes for a loosey goosey goal.

The Plan
So the plan is to head out at a 9:55 pace. That's a 4:20 target (which would be a huge pr if I hit it which I don't actually expect to).  I'd like to come in before 4:30. If I don't I'll be okay. I do have some speedy pacers with me (jim and doug) if we start together.

Common wisdom is to start the marathon conservatively and speed up at the end. Why start out so much faster than I intend to finish? Well unlike other shorter races there are some slow downs in a race this long like getting water, eating gus and usually at least one potty stop. So setting the target pace a little faster than my end average target pace hopefully factors in these slow downs. Plus while I don't intend to slow down throughout the race on purpose I think "hitting the gas" as mile 24 or 25 is unrealistic for me. My plan of attack is to start out at the pace I hope to hold and then hold on (for dear life).
I tried this before my last long ride this weekend. I think it's helpful. I won't use it for the marathon just because it's got a lot of caffeine and I'm not sure how my stomach is doing with it.
The weather will have a big part if in I can hold this pace. I lose speed like a crazy person when it's warm outside. But if it really is 55-60 degrees my chances are better.

I am toeing the line basically injury free. My hips have been tight these past two weeks but I think they'll loosen up this week with reduced easy running and stretching.

Things that could go wrong
Jetlag, cobblestones, foreign food, not speaking the language, lost luggage so many things that could happen to sabbotage my time goals.

One huge wild card is the start. There are 19k runners in this race and there are 3 corrals. Not a typo there are apparently only 3 corrals. We're all together. In my limited research of international races (mostly reading dcrainmakers blog) I have learned that organization at the start is ... not always great.

That pretty much lines up with my experience in France which was a self-organized start compared to the craziness of a big race in the states. 

So if the start is a 4 mile slog at the beginning then that's the day and I'll just go out and have a good time. I think a lot of people underestimate the time effect that 15 minutes of basically walking has on your overall time but it's pretty huge. If you want to run a 3:45 and you start with the 5 hour runners it's a lot of extra work at the beginning.
I didn't take any photos of the run so all the photos are of the ride.

The portapotty stop. I have no idea what to expect with the porta potty situation in Italy. I have never made it through a full marathon without having to stop.

I am going to carry my camera with me during the race which I don't do if time is my only goal. I do hesitate a bit as I take pictures on the run but this race is for fun and I've decided that cumulative minute is worth it. We picked this race because it's supposed to be a great day...start and finish at the colleseum and all that. So I plan to enjoy it ... dammit! (that last part is a goof - sorry I'm not sorry for cursing).

The nutrition plan
I have no faith - zero in there being anything except possibly water on the course. I asked months ago about the sport drink and heard it wasn't yet decided. It's apparently still not decided. Actually it probably is decided I just have no idea what it might be and that's okay because I only drink water on the run.

For nutrition I will carry 6 GUs. They will be plain flavor and half caffeine and half not. One before and 5 during the race at kilometer marks 7-15-23-31-39. I will remember this by writing it on my hand in sharpie also it's about every 45 minutes. I learned in IM France that converting to miles from Kilometers is beyond my mental power late in the race so I mapped out what the kilometer markers will be. I will carry either my fuel belt or my handheld bottle for water during the race. I think they hand out full water bottles which will be a blast (imagine 19k tossed half full bottles of water under foot) but I'll just transfer and run on.

Most importantly - the outfit
The weather currently says 40% chance of rain ... which will really be craptastic. But I think that will change. It should be 50-65 the whole day. That's good running weather although 50 at the start feels pretty cold to a Florida girl. I am going to wear the outfit I wore when I ran in NYC. With one change in NY I wore a sweatshirt at the start and then carried that around my waist till the finish. Which was ... annoying. This time my plan is to wear arm warmers the whole time. I ordered them today. I requested priority mail so it should be here in plenty of time. 

Now to end with a gratuitous photo of my daughter doing gymnastics. Because I love her and she's so much cuter than me. That's her waiting to warm up on bars.
Can't you just feel the nerves? look at that little bent foot. She did great though.

Now I have to go pack :-) The blog will be I think silent while I'm gone. Plus I gave up facebook for lent so you'll have to be patient to see how I do :-) Those of you who know me closely my husband will have his phone working.


  1. I'm here! Wish the weather would stay the way it is now.

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