There was no rain on my final group training run, but it was rather gloomy and chilly. So, I can officially say the weather for every Saturday morning long run of my half-marathon training sucked. Not a nice day in the dozen.
Our final long run before the Mini-Marathon was uneventful. I came. I ran. I drank Gatorade. It was all so normal it was almost mundane, which is a good thing, because it means I’m prepared for the race. Our group leader said it was common for people to get jitters the week before the race, but I feel as cool as the Gatorade I was drinking. I’ve been doing the running and I know I’ll be able to finish. I’ll probably get anxious-excited the night before the race, but only out of anticipation, not worry.
There was one weird thing about the final run. I was only a block away from the end point at the running store when I had to run past a wooden porch next to a local restaurant. There were half a dozen people standing there who suddenly started cheering and whooping and looking at me as I ran by. Um, was I supposed to know these people? They yelled things like, “Good job!” and “Way to go!” I gave them a confused look, and then they looked confused when I kept running past them. I think they were part of another training group, the Team in Training organization that had a water station right at the bridge. However, it was rather fun having people randomly rooting for me. It made me wonder what it would be like if this happened in other aspects of our lives. You could be walking down the office hallway and suddenly encounter your coworkers yelling, “You rock the copy machine!” or “Way to refill the coffee maker!” It would make life so much more exciting and surprising, if somewhat creepy.
Now that training is almost over, I want to show you what it’s done to my feet. And yes, I know I have no future as a foot model.
The black color is due to dried blood under the nail bed. Consider it organic nail polish. It’s way cheaper and better for the environment. I’ve had the black toenail on my left foot since my 5K two months ago. The half-black toenail on my right foot showed up a few weeks later, and now my long toe on my right foot has turned a bit red. It’s not painful, though if you squeeze those toes, they do hurt a little. This can happen if you don’t keep your nails trimmed or if your shoes don’t fit properly. My shoes feel pretty comfortable, but since I have the gene that makes my second toe longer than my big toe, I think that toe may be brushing my shoe slightly during my runs. As a result, I can now peel that nail halfway off my toe. Cool! If I were a spy, I could hide a microchip of secret documents under there.
As you can see, I also have crossed toes, or bunions. This is another genetic trait that I’ve had since birth, not a condition due to ill-fitting shoes as it can be in many people. For most of my training I wore separators to straighten the toes, but decided to stop a month ago because I thought they might have contributed to my foot injury. As a result, last week I started developing a blister on my long toe, not because of bad socks or poor shoes, but because my toe is now rubbing against…MY TOE! It’s not painful, just rather ridiculous. I’m rather proud of me feet. They’re not as gnarly as a ballerina’s feet (warning, gross foot image), but they show how much I’ve used them. And the blood will go away eventually.
This week the training winds down to only 20-minute and 30-minute runs. I’ll start carbo-loading a couple days before the race, gaining weight in glycogen and water right before my monthly weigh-in. (Oh, fun.) Carbs get converted to glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is instant energy that your muscles can access immediately. However, for every pound of glycogen your body stores it also stores 3-4 pound of water. When people say you’ve lost “water weight” at the beginning of a diet, that’s the weight they’re referring too. I’m going to be gaining water weight, so I’ll just have to remind myself I’m not getting fat, I’m just storing energy – heavy, heavy, energy.
My training group is making pace bracelets for everyone which I’ll pick up at the end of the week. You give them the time you want to finish in and they give you a bracelet that has the time you should hit each mile marker printed on it. I’m aiming for two hours, 30 minutes. I’m planning out what I’m going to wear on race day and I’ll lay it out the night before. It should be all good. The best thing is knowing that a week from now all this running will be over!
ETA: A couple people asked if that last sentence meant I was going to stop running. Nope, I’m still going to run, just not so much. Those 60-minute long runs on the weekend are killer.