My Lessons in Marathon Running Manifesto

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I composed this race day Manifesto on May 8, 2011 after another one of my sub 4:00 marathon attempts.  Little did I know that the following year, not only would I run under four hours, but that I would shatter it with a 3:42 marathon.  I decided I needed to get out of my head and make some changes to my attitude, my thoughts, my actions and my habits.  So, like a scolded school girl, I wrote my “I will/will not” list of marathon do’s and don’ts and changed my focus and my mindset.  Today, I will add this little diddy to my 50 till 50 project since running and racing is a huge part of who I am and have been for the last 15 years.

I WILL refrain from smart-ass comments & eye-rolling when people ask me “how long THIS MARATHON will be.”  They really don’t know what distance a marathon is.  To them, ALL races are marathons.

I WILL go to bed early every night during marathon week. No more “insomnia” marathons!

I WILL eat healthy all week; no crap, not even the left-over Easter candy or the hidden Halloween candy in the cupboard.  And yes that also includes the Peeps!

I WILL stick to a taper the week of my race & not overdo it just because the rest of my friends are running 50 miles & I’m jealous.

I WILL take the charger for my Garmin with me even though it clearly says it’s 100% charged.  That thing has a mind of it’s own and it will choose to die right before I hit the start line.  Ask me how I know!

I WILL stop telling everyone that I missed qualifying for Boston by “x” amount of minutes.  Unless I miss it by a few seconds, it’s really not “that close” in running time.

I WILL NOT wear any running attire for the race that I haven’t trialled on a long run already because chafing bites!

I WILL NOT stow runner’s gum or electrolyte chews in my sports bra & forget about them, only to have post-race photos taken with the pieces still there, making me look like a freak of nature.

I WILL NOT over-hydrate on race morning.  Anything more than four porta-john trips before the race is unacceptable.

I WILL jog a warm-up & properly stretch 45 minutes before the race instead of staying huddled up inside the trash bag that I’m wearing for warmth.

I WILL NOT go out of the starting chute like I stole something; I WILL keep my first mile @ least 8:30 pace and build up gently.

If I have to pee, I WILL stop & go.  No more holding it the entire race & focusing on not peeing my pants because that messes with my head and slows me down.

I WILL fartlek (aka pick up the pace) to the next fluid station so I can afford the time to walk and properly drink & not have electrolyte aspiration.  It really hurts when Gatorade comes out my nose!

I WILL NOT run & simultaneously eat electrolyte chews while chasing them down with water.  Those also hurt when you choke & they get stuck in your nose.  I WILL stick with gels.

I WILL NOT engage in lengthy conversations with other runners because talking increases my heart rate & makes me run slower, even though it distracts me from my discomfort.

I WILL NOT be a baby & walk the long uphills.  A slow jog will cost me less time, even if it hurts.

I WILL NOT take the downhills like a barrel over Niagara Falls, it’s not worth it come mile 20.

I WILL refrain from pissy comments & dirty looks when spectators at mile 22 say “you’re almost done.”  Just because they can drive 4.2 miles in 5 minutes does not mean that I can run it that fast, geesh.

I WILL stand up straight and proud when I see the course photographers to avoid the usual “downward sag” of all body parts photo.  It never fails

I WILL NOT be snarky about the woman in front of me who weighs 50 lbs more than I or who is 20 years older & beating me (this one will be a little hard).

I WILL NOT put adhesive toe warmers in the back & front of my sports bra because I got up at ass-o’clock and froze before the race & then forget about them until I saw the burn marks post-race!

I WILL NOT overdress & be stuck with my favorite long-sleeve race shirt around my waist after the first half mile to flap & annoy me the entire race. I WILL suck it up at the start line because I WILL eventually get hot & forget all about having been cold in the first place.

I WILL NOT over-accessorize and weigh myself down no matter how many cool running gadgets & gizmo’s I own for my “free” sport.

I WILL pray, for people I know who are going through a tough time, every mile instead of mentally making fun of peoples’ choice in race attire; or lack thereof.  If you want to race in a cotton tee shirt or wear thong underwear under your tights, knock yourself out.

I WILL stop being jealous of everyone who has someone waiting for them at the finish line.  I will be happy for those that they have the support of their family and friends.

I WILL have a great race, enjoy the moment & not act like a spoiled brat if I miss my goal & just be thankful I CAN run a marathon at all!

**The above have all happened in one race or another**

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