The Mental Marathon Plan

Alright as I get closer to running this marathon, I am starting to prepare even more. First let me say, I am terrified. I have had some really disappointing long runs and I feel like I am not ready for this. Second, I am so over this training… I’m so ready to not have to plan my schedule and life around long runs and hoping that it doesn’t snow just yet! I can’t wait for this to be over.

This Tuesday will be my last really long run before race day and I am looking forward to getting it out of the way and desperately hoping that I feel awesome and finish feeling confident that I will be able to do this 26.2 miles in a few weeks. As I prepare for this long run, I have been preparing myself for race day. This is my last chance to prepare and practice my strategy before the big day. I have been researching a lot of mental strategies and motivations for finishing a marathon. I have also been researching getting through the wall and overcoming common race day obstacles (especially bathroom issues).

I want to me as prepared mentally as possible so that it is one things less I have to think about come race day. So here is what I have planned and am going to try on Tuesday. As a Birth Doula I am planning this out like a woman in labor. After all labor is a marathon (I need to write a whole post on that)

First I plan to break the race up into 5 mile segments. For me 5 miles is an easy segment and I know I can run 5 miles pretty smoothly. Each segment I plan to focus on something different to help me get through it and prepare myself for the next one to come. I am planning to write these focuses on my arm in case my mind goes blank and I can’t remember while I am running. So here they are:

Miles 1-5 (Pre-labor) Focus on breathing, relaxing, and warming up. Many people push themselves at the start of races and I do not want to burn out so I plan to focus on my own pace and not get wrapped into other people’s paces.

Miles 5-10 (Realizing you are in labor) I will be focusing on pace and form. Form is really important for me and I know during these few miles if my form is not good I will be hurting the rest of the race.

Miles 10-15 (Start of Active Labor) I will be focusing on my body and checking each piece from my toes to the top of my head. Thinking through what hurts, if anything needs a stretch, and how things feel. I will also focus on maintaining nutrition and hydration.

I know I can get through these miles pretty smoothly so up to mile 15 is all focused on preparing for the challenging miles ahead and giving myself the best possible circumstances.

Miles 15-20 (Water breaking/Epidural thoughts)  will be focused on enjoying the race. I plan to look around, read every sign, give as many high fives as possible and simple take it all in. I know after this point I won’t be able to focus on taking it all in and I don’t want to miss it. So this will be a good distraction as I lead to that place.

Miles 20-25 (Transition) will be all about distracting myself mentally. I plan to use each mile to pray for something different (writing them on my arm ahead of time) and really think about that person or situation. I plan to dig deep and use my why and mantras to push through these last few miles (more on that in a post in a few days).

Mile 25- finish (Pushing and Baby!) Will be all about taking it all in and enjoying the accomplishment that I am achieving. I don’t want to miss a second of the last mile. Even if I have to walk this whole mile I am taking in every second of it!

I am hoping with these goals and focuses I will be successful in completing this marathon and feeling accomplished at the end. I plan to try them out on Tuesday in my last long run and really get a feel for what needs to change and what is working.

Have you run a full marathon? What was your mental plan?

Ready, set, tri

tri

This week I have been gearing up for my first ever triathlon! I know, crazy! As you may remember a triathlon is on my 30 list for this year. I have been working to cross a few things off the list so far and this will be a big one.

rotb

This weekend I will be racing in Race on the Base. I have done the 5k a few times and the triathlon as a relay, but this will be my first ever complete tri. As I get ready I am nervous! I haven’t trained for it at all and now that it is here I am worried. What did I get myself into?

While our weather has been horrible the last month or so, it has been really hard to think about training. So this week I have put a lot of effort into mental training. A triathlon has many components and walking through it mentally can be a huge benefit. The transitions are especially important to be prepared for. Last week I bought myself a transition mat (more about that later). I decided to this to help me stay organized and it will be useful for other events like Ragnar.

Trying to figure out what to wear has been another struggle. It needs to be good to run in, comfortable for the bike, but also able to be swam in. As this is a sprint distance I am not going to change clothes between legs. So hopefully I have picked out a good outfit.

So here is my packing list… Am I forgetting anything? Let me know so I can pack it!

Clothing:

  • Tank top
  • Shorts
  • Sports bra
  • sweats (for before)
  • Ragnar Jacket (for before)
  • Flip flops (for after)
  • Comfy clothes (for after)

Run:

  • Running Shoes
  • Hat
  • Sparkle Skirt (I know not needed but so great!)

Bike:

  • Bike
  • bike shoes
  • helmet
  • Water bottle

Swim:

  • Goggles
  • Towel

Random:

  • Transition mat
  • Fuel/hydration

Next week I will recap the race, and do a full review of my gear (especially my new transition mat). I may even do a giveaway! Stay tuned.

Ragnar 101 pt 3

Driving and Cars

A lot of the time during a Ragnar Relay is spent in the car. The teams I have been on have always preferred 12 or 15 passenger vans. These make it possible for each person to have some space as well as room for gear. I have seen people do Races in Mini vans, SUVs, and other random cars. It all depends on what you have access to and what you want to spend money on. Big vans make the space nice, but driving them in small parking lots with a lot of other vans can be challenging. Thankfully I get practice in big vans for my job 😉

Most teams decorate their vans with magnets, stickers, window paint, lights, blow up toys, and anything they can think of! You can always tell a team that has never done a Ragnar before as they have minimal if any decorations, while teams who have done many have their system down. Each of my teams have been a little different. When you have a great team name that uses a theme it makes it easier to decorate your vans and come up with costumes. For example we have done Ragnaliens, this give unlimited ideas for anything Alien. Neon colors, crazy decorations, fun lighting, everything!

Vans can get pretty stinky, messy, and crazy within the 24 hours of racing. Sweaty runners, random food, jumping in and out, and exhaustion can make things a little crazy! The biggest thing is friction between people and bad attitudes. This is the biggest thing we try to avoid on our teams. It really brings the whole team down when one or two people are party poopers and in bad moods. Everyone has their moments, but they need to remember that everyone else is tired, hungry, and cranky as well. Choose your team mates wisely!!

The next thing is smell. Oh man the vans can get REALLY Stinky! Think locker room in a much smaller space. My best suggestion for this is to change as soon after your run as possible and place those smelly clothes into a ziplock bag with a dryer sheet. This seals in the smell so it doesn’t spread through the van. If shoes smell put them in a bag too or use newspaper and dryer sheets in them between runs.

Next is mess. The vans have a tendency to get very cluttered and disorganized. Phrases like “have you seen my headphones,” “does anyone know where____went,” become common place in a messy van. I try to keep all of my things super organized in my bag and in a seat pocket if possible. We also tend to create “nests” in the places we typically sit. Basically a seat or an area where all of your stuff is.

Ragnar 101 pt1

I Recently did a Ragnar 101 event on Facebook. It was successful so I want to share some of my information with you! It will be in a few different segments.

What is Ragnar Relay and  how does it work?

There are two types of Ragnar Relays, Road races and Trail races. So far I have only done the road races, so most of my information is about the road version of Ragnar. I will try to include as much trail information as I can throughout. I do plan to do a Ragnar Trail this year!

Ragnar Races are 12 person (Road) or 8 person (Trail) relay races. Each road races covers around 200 miles of running as a team. The team is split into two vehicles with the first 6 runners in one and the second 6 in the other. (more about vehicles in another post). Each car does their 6 legs letting one runner go and driving to the next exchange to switch out runners. Once all runners in their car have done their first set of legs they hand off to the other car and then go get food and rest before their next set. Each runner runs 3 separate legs of the race averaging around 12-15 miles total. Most teams finish in around 24-30 hours.

Teams can have less runners if needed for the team. In 2015 our Napa team only had 8 runners. It ended up being really fun as we were all in one van together and got to be one team for the entire race. In this race we skipped the set of legs that those runners would have done. Some people choose to make up those legs by running extra legs when they do not have enough runners.

COST

For a typical Road Ragnar the cost per person without hotels usually ends up around $300. This depends on what car you use or rent, decorations and team shirts ordered, sleeping arrangements, food, gas, etc. This seems like a lot of money, but it can be done cheaper. If you are willing to cut out conveniences and comfort you can make your Ragnar experience pretty cheap.

When you form a team it is best to get all the registration money up front. This makes people have a financial commitment in the race and they are less likely to drop out. Nothing worse that trying to find a replacement last minute because team members aren’t committed.

So if you have decided you are going to do a Ragnar Relay check out their website to decide which race you want to do. I love Socal and Napa! Then find 11 friends (or strangers) to sign up with you and form your team. Then start the planning and training process. My teams have always been from different states and countries. This can make planning difficult. We usually set up a private Facebook group for the race so that we can talk about all things Ragnar and make plans. If not everyone has Facebook, we usually do group emails.

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Ragnar Relay So Cal 2016

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