Yikes, am I actually going to be running 50 kilometers 16 hours from now? In the pouring rain? (yep, after a week straight of gorgeous, sunny fall weather, the driving rain came today and it’s supposed to stick around all day tomorrow, because NATURALLY).
I went to the expo (referred to as Tent City, because it really is an enormous white tent in the middle of a clearing in the forest) and picked up my race bib and kit this afternoon. The ground was covered in straw to try and help soak up the rain, but to little avail. This is gonna be fun!
(I do mean that, at least…mostly…haha. Can’t lie, I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect of running four soggy 12.5km loops on a trail for 50k, but there’s also something I love about battling the elements and being out there in the thick of it, getting wet and dirty and running up and down hills. It’s all about attitude, and I’m feeling a very “bring it on” attitude towards this race. I’ve put the work in, the miles in, the sweat and – occasionally – the blood in to preparing for this ultra and I’m ready to do this, Mother Nature be damned!)
How I spend the day before a race:
– a little positive visualization and reflection. I look back on my training (I kept a log this time around, so I have three months’ worth of entries to scan through) because it’s a great way to boost confidence. I did four 20+ mile runs, and they all went great. I had some great speed sessions and five killer hill repeat workouts. I know I put the training and effort into this, but it definitely helps to see those numbers and times and remember that I CAN do this.
– go for a shakeout run. This depends on the distance of the race, but I keep it short and slow. Today I did a little over 2 miles.
– eating, drinking and resting. Lots of water, including water mixed with Nuun for the electrolytes. And of course lots of carbs! My go-to carbs the day before a race are sweet potatoes and either a loaf (yes, an entire loaf) of bread or two big bowls of oatmeal with cinnamon, almond milk and blackstrap molasses (for iron). I play it very, very safe the day before and only stick to food I’ve had before other races. NO citrus, thanks to a tip from elite runner Krista DuChene, and I cut back on the veggies too. I eat an early dinner that’s usually a small kale/spinach salad with a big sweet potato chopped up, beets (because a: I love ’em, and b: studies show beets improve performance for endurance runners, so sign me up!) and a can of tuna. I’m a vegetarian, but the day before a race I will always eat tuna for my protein because beans/lentils are too much fiber. I also don’t have any dairy the day before. Basically it’s the most boring day of eating ever, but definitely worth it if it means avoiding any GI distress the next day!
– stretch and foam roll. Probably should do more of this, but I usually only do about 10 minutes.
– get everything packed and ready for the morning (clothes, sports bras, GUs if needed, race bib, charge GPS watch, change of shoes and warm clothes to put on after)
– try and get some sleep! Except I know that most nights before a race my insomnia kicks in and I usually don’t sleep at all. I’ve never had a problem racing on no sleep though, oddly. I think the atmosphere and the nerves give me a boost, and I try and get lots of sleep the week leading up to a race. You always read in running magazines that it’s the “night before the night before” that counts the most, so if you can get a good night’s sleep then, don’t stress too much! Oh and I also have started sleeping in my compression socks since the Chicago half haha…it worked for me then so I’m continuing to do it! I think it helps bring the blood flow up to my legs while sleeping and get the muscles all ready to run, but I could be totally wrong, so take that piece of advice with a giant box of salt.
Alright, I’m off to eat a boring sweet potato! Tomorrow…post-50K…I am so trading sweet potatoes for a Boston creme doughnut. And a stack of pancakes with maple syrup. Yummm.