Excitement abounds in my household this week as my wife and I prepare for Sunday’s Tacoma City Half Marathon. For me, a lot of the enthusiasm derives from the fact that “race week” translates into me running far less Monday thru Saturday — you know, because I have to save my legs for the race — and looking forward to really mailing it in next week — you know, because I just ran a half marathon.
Since this will be my fifth half marathon, my race week routine is locked down. It’s a mixture of precautionary and preparatory measures that will minimize injury potential and ensure peak performance come race time. And this week is no exception.
I’ll be avoiding anything that will put my precious legs in jeopardy. My runs will be short, slow, and leisurely. I’ll avoid stairs at all costs and be sure to wheel my chair over to co-workers’ desks rather than risk walking. You never know when tragedy might strike my toned legs in the form or a stubbed toe or a knee colliding with a filing cabinet.
It goes without saying that I must skip Thursday’s indoor soccer match. In addition to the tightened hamstrings that often result from chasing a ball around artificial turf, there’s always a chance that an overzealous 50-something will kick me in the leg or put me face first into the wall.
In order to produce the best race photos possible, I will spend a minimum of ninety minutes over the course of the next few days practicing in-race poses in the mirror. The last thing I want to see when I visit the On the Run Events website next week are pictures of me with my mouth agape or wrists limply dangling in the breeze. My body must be tight and upright every time I pass an official photographer. This will allow me plenty of good choices when it comes time to order a commemorative coffee mug or mouse pad.
On Saturday, the wife and I will arrive in Tacoma in the early afternoon, drop our stuff off at her friend’s condo, and make our way to the expo to pick up our numbers and swag. I look forward to being bombarded with a vast array of products that would no doubt improve performance, maximize hydration, and produce astonishing PRs. However, I will buy none of these products. What I will do is soak in the unique atmosphere that can only be created by gathering together a bunch of people who are willing to physically torture their bodies for fun.
The eve before the race, my wife and I will enjoy a blandly flavored, carbohydrate-filled feast then retire early in order to get as much sleep as humanly possible. It will likely take us awhile to slip into slumber as we’ll be anxiously worrying that all three of the alarms we set will fail causing us to miss the start of the race and curse the dreaded technology that ruined our lives.
It’s all downhill on Sunday morning: eat lame, digestively simple breakfast, shower, stretch, poop, and head out. We will bus over the bridge to the starting line where we will drop off our bags and wait in long lines for porta-potties. Eventually we’ll be corralled like farm animals and hyped up by a boisterous man or woman with a immensely positive vocabulary.
Then finally, after all the training, after all the discipline, after all the waiting, we run.