Between physical therapy, work being super busy, a slapdash last minute move (short story: I can’t live with boys, cat problems, money problems, the end), testing out my legs with running again, and just generally worrying about the actual physical ability of my body to complete Sunday’s marathon, I almost forgot about all the other stuff that goes into race prep!

Almost.

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I was putting off the exciting part – choosing what to wear, getting ready for the Expo, going over transportation and spectator areas with my parents, putting my playlist together, even painting my nails to coordinate with race theme colors – until I was sure I was going to show up to the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon this year. It wasn’t until last night, when something came over me, that suddenly, I felt, deep down in my heart, I knew, come hell or high water, I am gonna do whatever it takes to cross that finish line and it’s going to take a tornado or a very large Marine physically strapping me into a stretcher or the sag wagon to stop me.

And that’s when I was like oh my shit I need to plan my race logistics!

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Obviously I needed to start looking at weather forecasts, fueling plan, planning where the aid stations are just in case, looking up “when you need to be lined up” times. But with 26.2 miles on tap I’m gonna have to pack a little more heavily than for 13.1. Even for 10 I’ve learned I am happy to rely just on aid stations and can bust out a 5 1/2 minute PR. But while aid stations and water stations being available every 2-4 miles sounds like plenty for a marathon, when you’re coming off hip bursitis, what happens if my leg flares up half a mile past the last aid station and I’ve got 3 1/2 miles to go to the next one? Girl’s gotta have a backup plan.

And what if my phone dies and I have to be carted off in a stretcher?! Okay, so my dad is my emergency medical contact, but let’s be real, my dad’s coming back from Vegas the day before, it’ll be a miracle if he even makes it to the race that morning. But will I be able to send “pls send choco milk” desperate texts to at mile 12 when I’m like “omg I’m not even halfway done”?!

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So, here’s the plan for the rest of the week to give myself the best prepared chance of not dying during Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon.

Today:
-Hydrate hydrate hydrate
-Hydrate some more
-Eat a banana and some fish

Thursday:
-Prepare iPod shuffle for music so as not to use up phone battery
-Carb-load with pasta and veggie load
-Hydrate hydrate hydrate
-Call Pop Pop about coming up as spectator (if he’s in, get him parking) – this is my retired Marine Pop Pop. Fingers crossed he can make it.
-Talk to parents about coordinating with Pop Pop
-Buy Jolly Ranchers and BioFreeze
-Recumbent bike for 30 minutes

Friday:
-Hydrate hydrate hydrate
-Pack Flipbelt with 6 GU’s, Jolly Ranchers, extra tube of NUUN, and baggy of Advil, Xanax, and Klonopin (helps me focus on the mile I’m in instead of having a panic attack about the next 25 miles)
-Pack BioFreeze and headphones into Nathan handheld water bottle pouch
-Prep throwaway layers (buy hoodie at Goodwill?) and clean compression socks for post-race
-Carbo-load and veggie-load

Courtesy the Marine Corps Marathon Instagram account
Courtesy the Marine Corps Marathon Instagram account

Saturday:
-Expo – pick up bib, shirt, clear plastic checked bag, and ENJOY THE EXPO.
-Find out what will be available at aid stations – BioFreeze? What else? I’ve never stopped at an aid station before.
-Find out what’s available at water and food stations – Powerade?
-Talk to friends who are planning on coming down to spectate about where on the course I can expect to see them
-Charge Garmin, charge phone, charge iPod shuffle
-Hydrate hydrate hydrate
-Carbo-load and veggie load
-Lay out flat runner with packed bags (layers, compression socks, wallet with only credit card, ID, and SmarTrip card, and HoneyStinger waffle for start line, flip belt, handheld bottle)
-Make sure we have bagels, peanut butter, bananas in the house
-Be in bed by 8pm

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Sunday (RACE DAY):
-Up at 3:30am to get dressed/brush teeth
-Say my prayers, man
-Eat my bagel with peanut butter and banana
-Hydrate hydrate hydrate
-Pee
-Leave by 4:15am to catch first metro train to Pentagon
-Join prayer service at start line
-Check my bag
-Line up
-Pray
-Minimize the use of my phone
-Eat HoneyStinger waffle 30 min before start
-Take a GU 15 min before start
-Pee early in Porta-Potty if I have to (don’t drop phone in)
-When the gun goes off, zone into myself, my body, thank and high-five the Marines, repeat Show ’em what you’re made of, repeat Philippians 4:13, and put one foot in front of the other

After?

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I have 4 Shock Top beers waiting for me and a whole lot of ice, Advil, and no evening plans next week to spend as much time as needed watching Hocus Pocus on my couch never taking my MCM medal off.

Here we go. Excuse me, I have to go refill my water.

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