June 7, 2010

Getting to the start line

So now it was possible (though difficult) to run the marathon and go on vacation. Even after deciding to go on the houseboat trip, I continued to get in my long runs "just in case". I also have a half marathon later in the month, so I knew the training wouldn't go to waste.

Before we left town for Lake Powell, I tried to do all the last minute prep work for the marathon because I knew there would be little time in between. For anyone who has done one of these races, it is an odd sensation to take care of the last minute details five days before the race, instead of during the antsy moments the night before.

I went out for a quick run around the campground with Sean on Wednesday morning before the boat arrived. I had thoughts of another run, but the rest of the week's exercise was limited to some swimming and one brief ski run. And of course, the food and drink temptations were plentiful. During a normal taper period, you back off the amount of training, but try to keep the intensity up. There was very little intensity involved in lounging on the houseboat.

Being on vacation with fellow runners, most of the opinions were that I should run the marathon. You know the type, "You should totally do it. I would.", said with a beer in hand. But these guys actually meant it, and I was pretty sure I would say the same thing.

So we docked later than planned on Saturday. Every minute that ticked by was one less that I would get in sleep the night before the marathon. It had taken us 11 1/2 hours with stops to make the drive up, and when we didn't drive away until 2:30pm, I wasn't even sure there would be any sleep. On one of the last trips off the boat as we were unloading our gear, I twisted my ankle. I'm not sure if I clipped a cleat or what happened, but soon I was on the ground clutching my ankle thinking "Oh boy, here we go." It definitely hurt, but it wasn't too bad of a sprain. I walked on it but iced it regularly.

Just before we pulled away, Sean's sister offered her house in Vegas if we didn't want to make the trip back all in one shot. It was pretty tempting, but that would mean no marathon. We left non-committal, but when we were back in the car and deciding which way to turn, I chose the route home with no Vegas temptation along the way.

We took turns driving, but I didn't get any sleep when Matt was at the wheel. It is difficult for me to sleep in cars or planes, and Saturday was no exception. We made fewer stops and had our meals on the road from sandwiches Holly had prepared, so we pulled up to the house at around 12:45am. After a bit of last-last-minute prep, my head hit the pillow around 1:15am. Although the days on Lake Powell were very relaxing, I didn't bank up much sleep. Matt was kind enough to drive me to the start line, which meant I didn't have to drive to the shuttle, so it gave me an extra 45 minutes of sleep. But I still had to get up at around 4:00am to make it to the start line, so my sleep tank was going to be nearly empty.

So, under-trained, almost no sleep, and a twisted ankle. This should go well.

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