Like a four-year-old girl in the Turkey Trot kids' race--that's how I felt today.
Of course, I was dressed slightly lighter than Ruthie was for her little race back in November. And there was no crowd cheering me on. And I don't think I had my tongue hanging out like that (though I don't know for sure). But the pure joy was the same.
This 12-mile run--the last long run of my half-marathon training!--went almost as perfectly as I could have dreamed. There was a light breeze, but no horrible wind. The sun came and went from behind high, friendly clouds. The songs on my iPod matched my mood. The Sport Beans I ate before and during the run gave me some oomph on the way out and some extra energy on the way back. I had to make no pit stops. The hot chocolate I bought at Starbucks on the way home tasted like the nectar of the gods. I loved everything about this day on the backroads.
It was a good rehearsal for my half-marathon, now two short weeks away. I plan to do many of the same things I did this weekend ahead of and during the race. Those things include:
1) Eat a night-before dinner of white pasta with my husband's simple tomato sauce.
2) Go to bed early and nap on the days before the race.
3) On race morning, eat a simple breakfast of Special K cereal with no milk and a banana, plus two glasses of Nuun and as much plain water as I want.
4) Unless the temperature is much higher, wear my capris and a short-sleeved shirt.
5) Eat several Sport Beans just before the race and two of them every two miles of the first 3/4 or so.
6) Gut out the first half (the uphill half) with no music. Turn on the tunes for the second half, with the most inspiring songs saved for the last two miles.
And here are two niggling things I need to deal with:
1) I've developed a blister on the inside of my right heel, probably from my new-ish shoes. I know from experience that regular Band-Aids do not stay on during races. But I have plenty of time to baby it and figure out how to cover it up before the race.
2) My new hand-held water bottle bugs me during long runs. It's heavy and, when I switch it to my left hand, my ring catches on the strap. But there aren't quite enough aid stations for me to run the race without my own supply of water. So just for the race, I'll go back to my small bottle, which should hold enough water between the aid stops and doesn't weigh me down as much.
Now, except for my usual cross-training this week, one more speed session on Tuesday and a shorter tempo run on Thursday, it's taper time. Time to rest, take care of myself, enjoy a little more sleep in the mornings. Oh, and tame the butterflies in my stomach. Don't know if I can do that. The anticipation is building.