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Marathon Packing List

I’ve sent this to sooo many people so many times, I figured it’d be easier to just post it here and share it. You’ll have to adjust it to YOUR needs, but after you do it once, it’ll take the stress out of any marathon, mostly if it’s out of town… there is waaaay too much stuff in there, yes, but it would serve you better to delete things than to forget to put them in there. They will remind you of things you need and I didn’t include! (whaaaat?)

I organized it in stages, so it’s both a packing list and a to-do list.

Week before
Prepare your playlist
Clear Garmin’s old data, just in case.

Grocery shopping (once in destination)
Salted pretzels
Fruit
Nutella
Bread, cookies
Oatmeal
Gatorade
Dark chocolate
Water
Nuts
Cereal

Day before the marathon
Eat (nutella, Gatorade, Pretzels, salt). Prepare what you’ll eat on top of the counter to pre-asses.
Tape marathon bag (I like to duct tape it in case in breaks!)
Sleeping drops
Earplugs
Phone charger
Mp3 player charger
GPS watch charger
Tape (for anything)
Duck tape for shirt letters, scissors, and sharpie
Put phone numbers in back of bib

Marathon Day: for the Athlete’s Village (the start)
Sunscreen
Prerace food: chomps, power bars
Salt
Wet wipes or Toilet Paper
Bodyglide
Trash bags to sit on/wear
Poncho
Long socks for arm warmers for the first miles
Gels to eat before
Gloves, hat, fleece headband
Throwaway warm clothes: sweatshirt, pullover
Thin bag pack to put stuff in marathon bag
Heat packets for hands/feet
Lock
Kleenex
Pen

Marathon Day: for the Race
Pace bracelet (this one is my favorite!)
Set the playlist
Bib and pins
Mp3 player
Hat/visor for rain
Sunglasses
GPS watch
Heart rate monitor
Keys
Gels (5, 10, 15, 20: Four gels)
Lipgloss
Clothes (shoes, hair bands, headband, shirt, bra, shorts/tights, socks, underwear, tshirt)
Pace bracelet bands to put gels/mp3 player
Heat packets for hands/feet
Wet wipes
Little towel/Kleenex
Tylenol
Credit card, money/Metrocard
Salt packet or S-caps
My own shoetag
Mylar blanket
handheld bottle

Marathon Day: After the race, in the checked bag
flipflops
socks
extra shirt
deodorant
long pants
underwear
warm clothes
food
bandaids
cell phone
lotion/tiger balm, neosporin
marathon stick

Day after the race
Gelato
Boston Cremes
ICE

Go wild and adjust it to your needs!

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The Last Marathon Notes. I promise

So many things worked out so well for me in the Boston Marathon that I had been trying to pinpoint what was it that did it, mostly under the crappy circumstances I was in 2 months ago (piriformis syndrome, and then the evil ITBS). I decided I’d jot them down because it is REALLY IMPORTANT I keep them around…

The Race
The race was a blast. And it was the opposite of what I always do. No music, running with Andrea, going out just to enjoy the race. But what I think really did make the difference was running with no pace bracelet. And having no time goal or clue what time I was doing during the race. That took all the pressure off me and allowed for everything else to work and to finally run a smartly-paced marathon.

The ITB issue
A LOT of people told me to defer Boston and to stop running for a bunch of months. Of course you know I didn’t, and this is what I found helped:
#1: GET OFF THE PAVEMENT. This was Toby (Tanser)’s idea and it did wonders. I had trouble first with the idea of doing even the long runs there, but it was a major factor on my super fast recovery. I will keep at it. Toby also never said to stop running and helped me plan the whole thing out. As much as I read and listen, there’s nothing to get advice from someone who’s lived it. Just keep running through it, you won’t make it worse, it doesn’t matter what people say, don’t stop running. That is, if you can handle the pain. Run on a softer surface if you can, and a flat area (the downhills hurt more as you know. In NYC, I did my long runs in the reservoir (up top) and it was fine.
#2: Brutal MASSAGES. Also Toby’s idea. So I went to Chinatown to pay for pain a few times to Toby’s guy. But then, a friend lent (more like shoved) me her PT: Paul was so good I’d end up all bruised from the massages!! Seems like as much as you want to roll on the ITB, that stoooopid thing doesn’t stretch, so he went deep into the quads (the ITB runs below). I did all I could not to cry on those sessions and look tough. Since then, I’ve never foam rolled again. Massages are 50 times better.
#3: STRENGTHENING. As my knees bend inwards, I needed to strengthen some particular muscles (the inside of the knee, the forward rotation of the glutes, etc.): you have to find someone who knows where the deficiencies are and would give you specific exercises to work that area. And you have to do them. Every day. I am still doing them. I have added the thera-band to my torture devices. Basically focus on strengthening the quads and the glutes. ok? that’s KEY. 2-3 times a day. GO at it.
#4: STRETCHING. Foam rolling the ITB, the quads, the hamstrings; tennis ball in the piriformis, hip flexors, use a yoga band to stretch out your hamstrings, glutes…  any kind of “fun” stretching: the marathon stick; the yoga band… Every day, as many times as you can. When I am home, it’s 8 times a day. Every time I pee, I stretch!
#5: The rest. Warm compress the sore spots (knee, etc) before a run to let it warm up, and ICE the crap out of it after, as many times as you can (like three times a day)

If you do all those 5 things, you can get rid of ITBS in anything from 2 days to 2 weeks. Once a day stretching won’t do it though. You have to be aggressive and attack it, ok? Like, you’ll be in more pain from this than from the ITBS. The more you suffer, the faster it’ll go away. –I’ve seen people have their ITBS disappear after two days of this. OKAY???

The Training
It was short and fickle (given post NYCM piriformis syndrome and then the ITB…) but here’s what did it:

#1: BLAISE, my TP (NOT Toilet Paper: Training Partner!). I needed trails, trails it was; there was a monsoon, there he was. He trained through a brutal winter with me and followed my training program even though he had no marathon coming up. There he was for every long run I could NOT have done by myself. All I’d hear is “whatever time/route/day/surface is fine”. It’s amazing to me how you’d come across people like that in the world. There are no words to say how much I appreciate having a TP like this.
#2: See above for trails and Toby’s support!
#3: My friends, family, and everyone’s patience. You don’t get these things done on your own, and yeah, it takes a village: Thanks to all of you who shut up and didn’t tell me how crazy you thought I was running like that. It’s great that by now you know better and that’s all I needed. Thanks to all of you who supported me, helped me, and pushed me forward on those crazy days. And thanks to all of you inspire me, and to all of you who believed in me.

Ok, I now swear that I am done writing about Boston (for a few months??). I did 5 miles this morning, all back to normal!

— M E B —

You don’t need more than three letters, right?

The short story is that I met him and was able to thank him for being such an inspiration to me. The long story is that I had been thinking about Meb a lot over the last weeks.

First, there was that article in RW’s about him. He had been injured for a long time and had to go through a lot of testing and treatment to get back to running. And when things go wrong for such a long time he questioned if all this is really worth pursuing. As I was a bit frustrated with my injury, I was thinking about that too. But Meb was all in. Result: he won NYC.

Then when I started worrying about how I would hold my pace for 22 miles in Boston and not go out too fast like everyone does, like I always do, I remembered what he did in NYC. He tucked himself in the pack and waited. He “went to sleep” knowing he could do it. No one was expecting much from him, and he was smart not to rush to prove them wrong. Result: he won NYC.

I wasn’t out to win anything but if he could sit in the back for those exciting 24 miles when he knew he could do it, I could also sit and wait until my hills were out of the way. Result: I got my Boston.

My most intense Meb moment was when I saw him collapse in the park during the Olympic Trials when someone told him about Ryan Shay. You don’t forget those moments. I saw him (on video) acknowledging the place where Ryan fell during his NYC marathon. Meb is just that kind of runner and person.

He has been a great source of inspiration and answers for me these last months so when I heard he was around the corner, I sprinted! And here’s the phone picture proof (no camera, I wasn’t prepared!!).

EXIF_JPEG_T422

He said I looked like a fast marathoner (he’s a God, what can I say?). He saw my nasty blue toes (which at least match my blue Boston jacket), and told me to be proud of those and said his looked a lot worse. I told him I wanted to see him again in NYC in November, he said he’d do his best. We talked about how magical the NYC course is. I really can’t even imagine what it must be to win something like that… My money is on this guy this year!!

Good luck to all my loopster friends running Nashville, Kentucky, London (Go Deena!), and Big Sur this weekend!!! I’ll be pulling for you!!! Have a great weekend everyone!!!!!!!!!!

Boston Marathon RR – Part II

Race Monday
Up at 5 am. I was sleepy, I felt like crap and I was worried I hadn’t slept or eaten enough.
Monday morning. Race Day. Lots of Busses. Boston Commons.
But once I sat on the bus, I was totally relaxed. I was happy and READY. Ready to “make it happen”, ready to “get my Boston”. The trip to Hopkinton is an hour long and by the time we all get there there’s very very long lines at the stink-a-potties and not enough time to get ready. Still, Andrea and I met with medievalistrunningincircles(in the pic below) and runwithjill for a short bit chat while lining up. 

Loopster hangout

Walking to our corral in our throaway clothes trying to hide my arm warmers!

I was so totally relaxed that we got the start line 9 minutes late; so we started like a few corrals back, and who cares! I was ready to enjoy it and soak it all in, in my 26.2 “victory lap”. The plan was to enjoy the race, go cautious and pace for an even effort. Basically, hold it in for the first 22 miles and then see what we had left for the last 4, where the race starts.

I like to divide and conquer, and split the race into segments to make it easier, so I’ll do the same here.

Mile 1 to 5
Bushes, downhills, and a very very crowded road. Andrea and I started together as we have similar finish times, but we didn’t have a plan to stay together or not. I always have to stop to drink water, and who knew what my leg would do. She had a messy toe. We just decided just to do whatever we felt like doing, but there was no space to move at all. She was a step or two ahead of me most of the first miles. I held my pace tight, not pushing at all. The weather was perfect (though most people were over-dressed), 50s, sunny, with a little cross-wind. Thank you very much.
BAA Boston Marathon marathonfoto (6)
 
Mile 6 to 11
This is looking too easy, this “being relaxed”, but I don’t question the plan. I was really pumping the crowd for attention and we run into Jill, she does pictures while running!
Jills pic
We are relaxed and enjoying it, such a change from all my other races!! I also had never raced a marathon with anyone before; we chatted a lot, we grunted, I swore a few times, it made it so much better. By Mile 8, I just couldn’t wait any longer to get to the Newton Hills; I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I was shocked I was having this much fun; why do people say such mean things about this course? We high-fived about 200.000 people. Got a few “Vamos Argentina”, and lot of “Go Liz”. By then, Andrea had agreed to put her name on her shirt for the next one. I was counting the seconds to the famous Wellesley College screaming girls, and the minutes to my hills! They couldn’t come soon enough!
 
Mile 11 to 20
You hear the screams from far away, and the signs they hold up urging you to kiss them are hilarious. And it was over too soon ;-). Mile 14 I feel a sharp pain in my hip flexor, it hurt like hell for half a mile and then it goes away just as fast as it appeared; but the ITB is mute so far. Shhhhhhhhhh, don’t wake him up. Now I am being pulled to Mile 17 where Dimi would be, I stopped for a hug and went right back to it. Andrea and I are still together and when I see the Mile 18 sign I scream in disbelief “Mile 18 already?? This is going to end too soon!!!!”... yeah, ridiculous, but I am not lying. I was feeling the course slip right by. I barely noticed the first two hills. I had been gelling every 4 miles and drinking every two. By the Mile 20 marker I screamed “There is no wall!!”. Yes, I was screaming most of the race. It was fun like that.
Don't look at my knees! Hard left onto Boylston. very hard left.
 
Mile 20 to 22
Bring it. I was SO ready to make it happen. I had stuck to an “easy” effort and it was paying off. I was feeling great up Heartbreak, which I now renamed Heartfix Hill and I can not tell you how great it is when you get to the top and you realize it’s done, you’ve conquered the hills, and then you also leave all your fears behind. Heartbreak is really not bad, if you are running this relaxed and happy. This was my first marathon ever where I never stopped to walk or listened to even 1 minute of music (and so much work went into that playlist!). I was IN THE ZONE! The crowd had gotten thicker and louder and at Boston College it all goes out of control. I might have lost my pace there a bit. These kids were just OSOM, louder than Wellesley, and fun; I think that was my favorite part… I am now ready to check the tank and see what I have left.
 
Mile 22 to… Heaven!
From here it was all downhill, and that’s when the race starts for many. My ITB was not a problem. I had NO pain whatsoever so far; I felt good, strong, and, HAPPY. I saw my friend T with a sign on the course
stfu
and off to mile 25 where Dimi would be. I spot him and then I saw a bank with those big clocks…
BAA Boston Marathon marathonfoto (10) BAA Boston Marathon marathonfoto (11) BAA Boston Marathon marathonfoto (12)
I am horrible at math when I run, but for the first time, I look at my watch to see what’s going on… I tried adding numbers, and it seems like I am doing decent time… I recheck, and seems like I could come under 3:50, which would be amazing. But I am starting to lose Andrea now, I turn around every few seconds and I see her behind me but she doesn’t seem to catch up. I tried to alter my stride but my legs are locked I couldn’t. We are close to the finish and with less than a mile to go I see I could come really close to my PR from last November, and I hit the gas. I turn left, I see the finish line 500 yards ahead and I find the extra gear. My last mile at Boston was my fastest. I finish in 3:45:21. A PR by 1 second! In Boston.
BAA Boston Marathon marathonfoto (7)
Boston Eli Someone wanted to go back and do the whole 26.2 all over again right then! Ready for three bottles of Gatorade. more or less. For REAL!
The most amazing thing is that I felt like a million dollars at the finish line. I could walk. This is totally new to me. I had NO PAIN. NO pain!!! This is the first time this happens. My ITB said nothing, not a peep, just the regular blisters. Andrea comes in a few seconds later, we hug and cry like maniacs. We then take her to the medical tent as she’s dehydrated and needs a whole bag of IV. She was fine after a bit, we hugged some more, and once you see the official pictures you’ll see how well she recovered, we even got pictures with all two Elvis Pressleys! We met our friends, took some more pictures, and I just couldn’t shut up about what an amazing day I had just. Well, I still can’t.
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the happy finishers!
best groupie EVER! professional marathon crew! baa Boston marathon 2010 (53) baa Boston marathon 2010 (54) baa Boston marathon 2010 (55)
I did get my Boston but I didn’t have to make it happen. Once I relaxed, it all happened on its own. You just have to trust yourself enough. It all just came together, and on race day there is not much you can do but put one foot in front of the other, trust yourself, and let it all just happen. I could not be any happier today. I feel like the Queen of the World. That’s what I’ve been screaming all day.
 
I feel like I’ve turned a corner here. 

Boston Marathon RR – Part I

WOW

What can I say about the feeling of a first timer running the world’s most prestigious marathon in the world?

Well, WOW!

I had an amazing time come race morning. And I had been so worried about this race for months… Only 3 months to train, then getting injured in the middle of it, had to skip a lot of training (tempos and speedwork were gone, less long runs), and no time on the pavement. I expected pain, pavement shock, the promised ITB friction, and having to gut it out just like in NYCM09. And everything was the oppositeof what I had thought. EVERYTHING. Don’t you just love it when life proves you 100% wrong like this? But let me start at the beginning…

Saturday
My friend Dimi and I got to Boston early and went for seafood in the pier.
baa Boston marathon 2010 (3) baa Boston marathon 2010 (3)
I was still struggling to eat as I had no appetite whatsoever and I was afraid to lose any more weight. Any kind of food looked disgusting to me, even the Nutella, but I kept at it all weekend, sighing a lot while eating. The weather was cloudy, rainy, cold, and windy. As long as Monday is nice, we’ll take it. We hit the expo next (the finish line is right there!).

baa Boston marathon 2010 (7) baa Boston marathon 2010 (7) baa Boston marathon 2010 (7)

It’s funny how this weekend I was more “MsRitz” than Elizabeth, but I loved it. I went by the RW’s booth and as Jeff and the Mayor were busy with people for a bit, I discovered the OSOM (because there is NO better word to describe her) Jennifer Van Allen there!

OSOM Jennifer Van Allen!

She’s just super super nice and SO inspiring. She says 1 word and I tear up. The expo, in general, was mayhem. Very crowded and very little space for this much people. I was ready for a panic attack every 2 minutes, so glad Dimi was there to keep me sane. We ran into Grete Waitz signing autographs, she said she was going back to Norway…

baa-boston-marathon grete waitz
And Khalid Khannouchi, and it turns out we go to the same sports doctor and podiatrist in NYC.
baa-boston-marathon baa-boston-marathon
While Dimi met his friend, I sat and watched the course video; by the second run, I was freaking out. I was so scared of what my leg would do with all those hills, I had to get out of there. My brain was spiraling out of control. We went to get dinner and (this is me showing off my hard-earned numbers)
my bib, I guess I am running!

then to Beerworks to meet the FE folks. There’s a Beerworks across the street from Fenway park (and there was a game right then, so the streets were crowded), but it was the wrong Beerworks and I decided my legs had had enough and I needed some rest.

We went back to the hotel but I didn’t sleep very well. My head was in total freak out mode.

Sunday
I woke up early and headed to the Sheraton for the RW’s “How to run your best Boston” seminar. Bart was moderating; Warren Green had osom tips (sun is in the back, no sunglasses needed!). Mark Remy had the funniest tips ever, which he published right away as I told him they would make a great post and if he didn’t post them, I would! They are here, and I really don’t know what’s wrong about #8 and #9. If you only know Mark from his running pictures, you’ll very happy to know he’s a good looking man, I was shocked too! And he’s ridiculously funnier in person. Jennifer knows the course really well but she mostly talked about the feeling of doing Boston. Again, she says a word and I tear up. She’s that amazing. Tish was there too and I was so glad to finally catch her as I had missed her Saturday, we had tea after the seminar and I love love love her! You can tell she’s a task master, I like how her brain works! 

The amaaaaaaazing Tish Hamilton! boston marathon

But all this Boston talk was making me more and more nervous; met Dimi and his friends and we went to brunch at the top of the Prudential building, great views of the city:

baa Boston marathon 2010 (33) baa Boston marathon 2010 (34) baa Boston marathon 2010 (35) Left, bottom: finish line. Someone's obsessed.

See the finish line right there at the bottom left? Went back to the expo to wait for Andrea and run into Josh Cox (J, you OWE me!),

Josh Cox at the Powerbar booth

and … I had a OMFG moment… I knew I’d run into a lot of people this weekend, but I REALLY wanted to meet Bill Rodgers, the Legend, or Boston Billy as you might know him too… and I see him coming up the halls, people following him shyly. Not me! He asked me what the pikermi shirt was about, where I was from (I have an accent!), and he said he had many friends from Argentina. Then he said: Go Get Your Boston! Ok, Billy, now I am READY!

baa Boston marathon 2010 (25) Andrea would be staying over with me that night. I met Andrea last year through the Loop: she commented on my marathon pictures as I was wearing my Argentinian soccer jersey. Turns out, she’s Argentinian too and lives in Michigan. You probably know her, she comments a lot. So, Dimi would stay with his friends Sunday night and Andrea and I would go full marathon crazy mode. While I waited, and to stay off my feet, I sat at the RW’s “Running Legends” seminar, with Amby Burfoot, Dick Beardsley, Kathrine Switzer, Lisa Rainsberger and Greg Meyer.

Dick told the story of the Duel in the Sun and how he was getting stiff but then he hit a pothole close to the finish and seemed to jerk his leg out and he felt better. It shows how something that would injure or stress you could turn into something great. Dick and Katherine both emphasized how you can turn adversity into opportunity…  She was able to had the women’s marathon added to the Olympics basically because the marathon race director attacked her in the race course. 


baa Boston marathon 2010 (38)
baa Boston marathon 2010 (40)

 It was great to hear them talk but the more I kept hearing how important this race is to everyone just added a bit more stress… I went back to my hotel to relax, I needed to be alone, watch a couple of movies and regroup. Still, I wasn’t able to eat, but I emptied as much of the Nutella jar as I could. It was a struggle. If you know me, you’d never believe I had trouble eating. My stomach was all knots. I really feel bad for anyone who had to deal with me this weekend, I was a nervous mess! I should learn a bit from this… 😉

Fueled by Nutella. Andrea and I getting ready to not sleep

By 10, Andrea was out cold, and I was still trying. Short story is, I couldn’t sleep. That is SO not me… Eating and sleeping is what I DO; they’re my specialty, my talent. I gave up and just breathed all night. Toby had said “don’t hope for a good race, make it happen”. That really stayed with me. I just couldn’t wait to make it happen. I was going to “get my Boston”!

Found it!

April 15, 2010 11:37 AM

 by MsRitz offline

I am having a GREAT week. And I am not going to question it!!!

 

First, I finally acknowledged I qualified for Boston. Yes, it’s been 5 months, but sometimes, some things sound just like they belong in dreamland. For years I thought that I wouldn’t even bother trying, that it was so out of my league. I still find it a bit hard to believe that it happened. But it did. And the dream of “finishing Boston” is around the corner… around the corner!!! Let me pause to grab a Kleenex again.

 

Last night I watched course videos (… ehem, my plan of going to sleep early is SO NOT working!!!), Boston marathon promos, and… my favorite: Saint Ralph!! I just love love love this movie! And that line at the end “If we are not chasing miracles, then what’s the point?” always gets to me! So true!

 

But, I don’t have a miracle to chase in Boston. Or a goal. And not having a time goal is something so strange to me, like Chinese… But last night, I got it. This is a completely different game from my last two marathons. I know how to run relaxed: have done it before!!

 

There was a 5 miler where I almost didn’t show up because I was so tired, and a pikermi earlier this year, that I used as a “long” run!! Being relaxed works for me, though it’s usually hard when it comes to racing, but I KNOW how to do it. I CAN do it!

 

I think it happens to most of us: we forget what we’re capable of. I sometimes have to go back and look at my log to see that I can actually do a workout because I did something similar a few weeks before. This is when I realize that having a log and a blog helps me inmensely. No more self doubt. After all, I did BQ!!!

 

The world is all mine again. Oh, there’s my MOJO!

 

PS: How much can a person really eat? I am SO tired of chewing!

7 days to go: Marathon Mode ON

The week before a Marathon I turn into… something. Not sure what you’d call it, but there’s a very distinct pattern, and it’s not pretty! I go to sleep earlier. EARLY. Like earlier than my parents, my grandma, and the chickens. 10:00 pm, lights off! Ok, maybe not Monday (it’s Gossip Girl’s night). No need for fun stuff (other than Gossip Girl, see above). I need to obsess and obsess and go over the course a million times a day. I will make 3430983 lists and spreadsheets. People who want to hang out and wish me luck? I can do a quick lunch/dinner, I have a curfew.

I will watch what I eat. Yes. I will. It’s just one week a year so no need to freak out. I just avoid anything processed and fried, so it’s all natural, lots of carbs and salt. This, of course, does not apply to shake shack or nutella as usual. I will pack on the pounds, this might help make me go slower at the start in Boston.

I will run little, stretch a lot, strenghten a bit, watch movies about running, sleep 9 hours a day, and talk to anyone who’d listen about how scared and excited I am. If you talk, I might not be listening.

I will try to do a lot of stuff I will most definitely not be able to do the week after: pick stuff up from the floor, for example. Wear any shoe that shows my toes. Go down the stairs from my apartment.

I’ll be back to normal in a few weeks when I am able to walk again and go places, see people, wear heels, eat crap, and pick stuff up from the floor. Oh, and run!

Aren’t you super excited for this week??