Friday, February 22, 2013

Race Day Preparation: Clothing, Fuel, and Race Information

And this is the post where I include way too many pictures of myself for my liking but it goes with the topic of preparing for race day so bear with me.

 It's that time.  A week out from a marathon.  Usually I wait until a couple of days before race day before I start thinking too deeply about things like what to wear, where to pick up my race bib, what I'll eat...yaddi yah yah.  But it is going on week two now of my coach dropping nice hints that he'd like me to be thinking ahead about such things so that I don't get overwhelmed trying to pack and think about it all at once.  And he's right, I probably will be better off for thinking of these things ahead of time.  Especially since I have quite a bit of other life stuff going on right now.

I guess, I'd like to start by saying that this is not a fashion running blog.  Ha!  I hope I don't offend anyone but what I race in is so much more about FUNCTION than it is about FASHION.  In fact, I don't give a hoot whether I'm color coordinated or if my socks look good with my ears.  I don't care about sparkle or bling or too many accessories.  I do care a little about looking good when I run (I'd be lying if I said I didn't care at all). I think when you LOOK GOOD you FEEL GOOD.  But what looks good to me is often what feels good and this isn't always what looks good to others.  Ha!  I only own a few pairs of running shorts that I wear (I know what I like and I'm all about keeping things simple with my wardrobe)  and I'm sure many of you would think I'm awfully gross due to the fact that I've worn pretty much the same pair of 3/4 compression tights for almost every run this training cycle.  And no, I don't wash them after every run.  That's just nonsense to me when I'm going to sweat again anyway.  I wear them because they work in keeping my left leg holding in there.  And you know, I'll probably wear them on race day too.  Even if they do make my ass look like a squished up bagel.

So, in deciding what to wear on race day, I'm considering these things:

  • comfort
  • weather
  • how my leg feels
  • representing Brooks and Nuun (I'll probably wear my Nuun visor).  
The picture at the top there is what I sent to my friend Jenn as I started to toss around what I wanted to wear.  I think we both agreed that the Nuun shirt underneath the vest would be too hot.  Just the vest and arm warmers with a tank underneath is probably enough.

Okay, maybe this is the one I sent Jenn.  :) 

 I do know that if it is on the cooler side, I do want to wear one of my favorite Brook's Essential Run Vests.  Love these things!  I wear them daily!

If it is warmer (btw, I haven't checked the weather in Napa ONCE so far...I should do that!) and my leg is feeling okay with just KtTape then I might just wear my yellow and black Brooks tank/short I wore in my last two marathons, Boston and Foot Traffic Flat.

This was around mile 22 of my marathon after Boston "let's qualify so we can run again next year since it didn't happen in 90 degree Boston."  Not feeling so good here...sun, antibiotics...not the best mix! Really Hoping to never run a HOT marathon again considering almost all of my marathons have been hot!  Newport was 75 degree, Boston 2004 was 87 degrees, Boston 2012 was 90 degrees and then both of my  Foot Traffic Flat marathons were on July 4th so on the warmer side.

And this is what death looks like!  Ha!  90 degrees Boston Marathon 2012.  The very last stretch to the finish line!!  At this point I was making all bets with God...if I could just finish, I would...... And way too skinny for  what is best for me.  This was at least 8 lbs lighter than I am now.

I printed off my Napa Marathon information last night that was sent to me in an e-mail.  It was actually really fun reading about it.  Some highlights that stood out to me:
  • They are very strict about NO HEADPHONES and enforcing it.  They mentioned this several times.  No problem for me since I don't like racing with music.  I'd much rather have quiet and enjoy the beautiful Napa Valley!  
  • This year's Napa Valley Marathon is all about "Honoring Women in Marathoning" and I love that I'll be there.  
  • I hope to meet and hear some of the speakers.  Joan Benoit-Samuelson will be there.  
  • Considering a pasta feed dinner...the speakers sound great.  Really the whole marathon sounds so well run.  I remember it being great the first time I did it but it is all a little foggy to me.   
  • The overall winners win their weight in wine...Ha!  If only I were just a little or a lot faster!  
  • The sweat bags sound really nice!  We have a choice between a duffel bag and a backpack.  
  • Napa Valley Marathon is a "GREEN" marathon.  One thing hey encourage is for us to bring our own bottles to grab at the aid stations.  Not sure if I'll do this or not.  I will help with litter in making sure my trash goes in the garbage.  

 Fuel.  Hey, if you know what works, stick to it!  I'll be using Honey Stinger Gels.  I'll probably take a few flavors.  And I'm sure I'll be stuffing them in my bra again.  Hey, this is a great way to hold them when I don't have many pockets.  If I wear the vest then I'll have plenty of pocket space.  But if I wear the yellow tank and shorts, I'll need my bra for storage.  Not much in there anyway so plenty of room.

Breakfast.  I'd also like to make a final decision about what to eat on race morning.  I'm so used to having my own comforts here at home where I can easily cook up a big bowl of steel cut oats with chia seeds, flax, apples, agave, etc.  In a hotel this is harder to prepare.

Visualizing.  I'm including this final picture because it inspires me.  I posted this for a contest last year before Boston and it gets me excited to run.  It also makes me miss my original Pure Flows.  Although I'm loving the Ravenna's, I really did love the Pure Flows.  Just trying to stick with one shoe for now because it is working for me.  Anyway, this picture makes me remember that "It's go time" feeling.

1.  What do you eat on race morning if you are traveling away from home?  
2.  What's your favorite gel to use in a marathon?  Or form of fuel?  
3.  Do you have a favorite piece of clothing to race in?  
4. Do you print out the race information, pack your race bag, and decide what to wear ahead of time or wait until last minute?  Usually I wait until last minute but like I said, my coach has really been pushing me to get this stuff started early.  He probably knows me well enough by now to know that I stress out if I wait too long for things.  :)



  1. Nice work on getting your plan together so far in advance! I should try that because I usually end up a little nervous the night or two before, trying to figure what to wear. Fortunately I don't have a whole lot of options of accessories, etc. to wear, I usually keep it pretty simple!

    My favorite thing to eat on race morning is a bagel with peanut butter on it! Nothing too huge or heavy, but enough to keep me going for a few hours.

    Have a fabulous run next weekend!!

    1. Thanks girl! I think it will help me to think ahead this time around. Yes, simple is good for me. Focus on running much more than accessories and what I'm "sporting". ;)

  2. I am loving all of the pictures!

    I am basically the opposite of Type A so I don't even give these things any thought until I am laying in bed the night before the marathon. I plan to be more prepared for Boston, however. :)

    I don't think I'll ever wear my yellow Brooks top again! My belly kept showing and I was not in my best shape so it was a constant distraction. I already know I'll be wearing my 2-in-1s at Boston! :)

    I am so, so, so excited for your race and can't wait to read ALL about it!!

    1. I hear you on the tank and the belly! That's one of the reasons I might not wear it this time...I don't have a gut or big belly by any means but still, even a few pounds heavier makes that shirt feel uncomfortable on me. We shall see. Thanks Kate! I'm somewhere in between you and a type A. Middle of the road.

  3. I will most likely be re-reading this post a few times over the next week. I am running in the Little Rock Marathon which is the same day as yours so we will be marathon twins! (ok, I just coined that term so I don't know if it even makes sense...)

    Anyhow, I am right there with you on the fashion. I normally don't care much about what I wear but when you are wearing something for over 3 hours you want to feel good and look halfway decent. I tried on a few options yesterday but still undecided. I guess I should check weather as well! That might play a small role! ha!

    Before a marathon I like toast with peanut butter and honey and a banana. Before my last marathon we stayed at a hotel that did not have a continental breakfast (I thought it did) and we were in a hurry so all I had was a banana. Not enough pre-race fuel at all but somehow I finished. That race still holds my current marathon PR but I really did crash at the very end and I wonder if the right pre-race fuel would have helped any. Who knows?

    Well race nerves have already started and we are still 9 days out. Just know I'm right there with ya!! ;-)

    1. Ah, Tia! This is how badly I STINK at keeping up with important blogs like yours...I didn't know you were running another marathon so soon. Sub 3? You always amaze me!! Thanks about the peanut butter and honey and banana...I think this just might be what i do. Marathon twins! Ha, but I'm the slower twin...same day though! :) So excited for you. Thinking of you!

  4. One of the best things about sports bras is all the storage space! Lol. I run primarily with guys, and they're always making fun of me digging around in there for my gels, phone, keys, etc. :)

    I never do things ahead if time, then I stress out and swear never again. And repeat. :-/

    Oh, and my running tights and capris almost never get washed after just one run. Unless they get muddy, but not always then, either.

    I do always carry my own water bottle for races, but I've never been fast enough where I had to worry that refilling would cost me placing in my AG. I do really like being able to drink what I want when I want, though...especially when it's warm. Good luck friend!!

    1. Plenty of storage space for sure! Smart woman Kate! :) Even about the not washing the tights every time. :) Thanks Kate!

  5. I agree with starting tackling the to do list, between the to do list and life in general, the race weekend sneaks up fast.

    1- Race morning, I start off with a honey stinger waffle, protein shake, and fruit, usually a banana
    2- I dont like gels, but can gut one if its an emergency, I prefer Strawberry or Watermelon GU chomps and Strawberry or Lemon Honey stinger waffles.
    3 - I kinda hate my tri gear, it is not comfy at all but my favorite stand alone run gear is my Black and Yellow Brooks ID Long Sleeve, the blue one is growing on me as well.
    4- I print the material and decide what to wear before hand (dressing myself is easy since my team kits, whether its teamroll or brooks, makes my choices either A or B) but I pack at the last second. I have it down to a science now and doesnt take me long at all.

    I am getting excited for you

    1. I just tried my first honey stinger waffle today and loved it! I wish they had the black and yellow long sleeve Brooks shirt in my size! Every time I go to buy one, they only have medium and large. :( Thanks!

  6. I am getting incredibly excited for you. Yay!!! I have a feeling you are going to do awesome and most importantly appreciate the experience and the journey you took to get there.

    I am a bagel & banana breakfast girl & lots of gatorade (G2 with less sugar but some major electrolytes).

    I have a PR outfit and it is absolutely 100% ridiculous. Trying to break it....but we shall see. ;) It is always better to under dress in my opinion. Being hot sucks!

    Gatorade, gatorade, gatorade at the aid stations for me. :)

    You are going to do awesome and the course should be beautiful!

    1. Aw, thanks Rachelle! Gatorade huh? Not sure I've tried much of that. I don't like being hot but I HATE being cold!!

  7. OK-love the Green vest. I would have to put fashion over function here and even if it's 107 degrees outside, I would still wear the vest-ha! Really though, it looks super on you even in the profile view! And your hair is getting LONG. I didn't notice it in the text.

    Yes, I wear whatever is on top of the pile to run most days. NOTHING really matches or coordinates and I'm SURELY not into sparkle even though you tease me about the bedazzling on my jeans:) I am definitely a little more conscious of my running attire when I go out in public or for races. I still only wear things I find comfortable though-regardless of what brand they are. I just won't race in shorts that ride up my ass or bunch up between my legs just because they are a certain brand or I like them on the rack..Babbling but point being wear what feels good and I have a feeling those compression tights look pretty darn good although I laughed at the squished bagel reference!

    Race pics! I really can't imagine you pulling off 8 pounds lighter. I didn't actually see you then but that is a lot on your frame. You look so amazing now:) Thin but healthy and strong!

    Enjoy the race atmosphere!!! Sounds awesome! Some races I don't do too much of the pre-race stuff but others like the Dick Beardsley HM, I can't imagine missing the pasta feed or hearing the speakers! So awesome!

    I brought a little tiny crockpot to a race once. (one of those little appetizer sized ones) and then put oatmeal and water in there the night before and turned it on. Turned out perfect in the morning. I used to eat bagels and peanut butter and bananas but I think oatmeal sits better with me now. I also only drink one 8 ounce cup of coffee race morning. I don't drink much at all the night before a race which most people would disagree with but I take in A LOT of fluids during.

    I'm not quite as Type A as I used to be. Much more laid back with race prep now but I still like to make sure I have all my ducks in a row. I mentally dress myself as I'm packing and lay everything out neatly the night before a race!

    OK-love how my comment was so much about me-ha! Getting SO excited for YOU though!!!! XO

    1. Love my long Jenn comments!! :) And you gave me the idea to take my rice cooker!!! Yay! I can put quinoa rice blend in there and eat it as oatmeal the morning of with all the toppings. I'm so excited about this that I could kiss you!!! Thanks! I can even pack my grinder to grind my flax seeds on race morning. So set now. Just have to remember the tampons now. :)

      I can't imagine myself 8lbs lighter either. Thanks for your words. Seriously, now I know why people thought I was too skinny then. I feel so healthy now. My butt is bigger but I like it and Waylon likes it so that's what matters. Ha! If I can't have hot boobs, I Might as well have a nice big butt. :) Okay , it isn't big...just fuller. rambling right back here.

      Green vest it is! :)

  8. OMG-that comment was so long. Embarrassingly long. Yes, "quick" rambles do not mean "short" rambles-ha!!

  9. What? No sparkly skirt????

    You are so ready for this. This pre-race prep of settling down with the details is fantastic. You will toe the line feeling solid, fast, and READY. Can't wait to see how it all plays out!

    I have nothing to offer as far as advice as it's been so long since I've run/raced a long distance, but it really looks like you're doing an amazing job pulling it all together in a calm yet excited way. AWESOME!!!!

    1. Ha ha! Nope. No sparkly skirt for me this time. ;)

      I feel ready. :) Thanks. I'm pretty calm. Just trying to kick this cold and stay healthy.

  10. I always eat a dry bagel on race day morning. With coffee. I never use gels when I train - but I use one on 1/2 marathons about mile 7. I like Cliff Shots with Caffeine. See the caffeine theme? I don't have a favorite piece of clothing, but I'm small, so anything tight works for me. I always prepare ahead of time - but for me this could mean a couple of hours before I have to leave! I ALWAYS check the weather and add 15*F.

    1. I love caffeine! :) I'm big on having my coffee in the morning for sure! Good tip on the adding 15*! :)

  11. I usually eat a bagel with just a little PB on it and a banana. Oh, and coffee. Gotta have my coffee! However, I've been eating a lot of oatmeal with PB and a banana the last couple of months and it seems to fill me up a little more.

    I'm still working on the fuel question for myself. I don't usually fuel much, if at all, in training so then I'm a mess on race day. Or, if I do fuel, it is just maybe one gel during a long run. Then I'm suddenly drinking lots of water and gatorade on race day and mixing that with gels -- something I never do in training. Having had GI issues in the past, I'm always torn with how to fuel properly. I'm tempted to eat and drink very little but then I worry that I will bonk when I get to the last 10k. I love Honey Stinger gels, though, and will likely use them more the next few weeks and then use them for my race. Or maybe I will try something more solid like those gummy things??? Clearly, I don't have this one figured out!

    I don't have any favorite piece of clothing and am a last-minute packer, for sure. :)

    You are going to do awesome and I can't wait to read all about it!!!

  12. DH and I ran the Miami marathon 3 weeks ago and totally forgot to plan what we were eating for breakfast until after dinner the night before! Yikes! Luckily, we hit up a starbucks that happened to have some decent bananas for the morning. I usually pick up a bagel with pb or something. Good luck! You look great now, by the way!

  13. I usually eat jelly toast (or cinnamon-sugar toast) with coffee or diet coke in the morning. I don't like being "full" while running.... that said, I have never hit the wall or felt like I was underfueled. I alternate between candy and caffeinated gus for fuel.... usually two bags of candy and two gus (or sport beans or shot blocks).

    SO excited for your race!! Keep posting about it so those that aren't running (ahem... me) can live vicariously through you ;)

  14. You are looking strong Amanda. Very strong. :)
    Glad you are thinking about things in advance. It should help you out a ton to be planned out for this race. It will free you up to relax and just visualize running with a smile, strong and happy to be back in Napa.
    I'll be praying you have nice cool weather there. You have earned a cool-weather race! The vest looks fantastic on you, so it would be nice to get to keep it on.

    My marathon pre-race fuel is usually oatmeal with a little banana and coffee with sugar. Rest up! Hope you are over your cold :)

  15. Exciting reading about your marathon and all of the final prep!!
    How cool that Joan Benoit S. will be speaking!!
    Why is there a no-headphone policy? Is that common?
    I hope this next week is a great week for you as you enter the final count-down.

  16. Ha, glad it's just not guys that get multiple workouts out of tech gear though I have to admit going a little too long between washings a few times. When the clothes stink too bad for me to put them on, I know they are really bad :-).

    I eat the same thing race morning I do every morning, yogurt, a banana and a cup or four of coffee. The last couple of races, I set my alarm for two hours ahead of my normal wake up time, got up and ate breakfast then went back to bed. I was surprised I was able to fall right back asleep and the extra time meant less trips to the portopotty right before the race start.

    Favorite fuel is Triberry GU.

    Don't have a favorite race outfit but usually tri to pick a top that makes me look less fat :-).

    I pack a bunch of race gear then make a call on race day.

    Good luck!

  17. Hi Amada!

    Re: vests. I discovered I don't like them ..I always get too warm and need to take them off then it is impossible to carry them.

    Instead I have a greenlayer jacket that I can tie around my waist.

    I hope you have a great time at NVM. THat was my very first marathon in 2009! It's a beautiful course....not many spectators though ..hard to get to the silverado trail.

    Lots of food and hot showers at the finish which was nice. (It rained a little bit that year). I think you will have good cool temps judging by the weather pattern we've been having.

    So, I hope you have a great race ! Wish I could be up there to cheer you on with my cowbell!


  18. Like your outfit! Those vests look cool - am going to look into getting one myself. I have a really old one where the zip is broken so I never end up wearing it anymore - good suggestions. Can't quite believe it's going to be so warm there - it's still freezing cold here. I am a great fan of Gu - Espresso Love and Chocolate Outrage all the way for me - but they don't sell Honey Stinger here anyway yet so I haven't had the option. I do like to be prepared beforehand - it helps me get into my zone.

  19. Okay, i love to color coordinate, but that's because I'm OCD and hate unmatching things. It's a flaw that I just can't change. Oh well.

    I'm going to have to figure out fueling for my first marathon. I typically don't right now.

  20. The food thing is a challenge for me, too. I am always 2nd guessing my choices, and the hotel/new city thing really messes me up. I just can't seem to think ahead about this aspect. I tend to go to a Power Bar, but I don't really know if that's what's best for me. I just go to it because it's easy.

    That vest is totally adorable. I love the sleeveless look. You're so cute that anything you choose will rock.

    Best wishes this weekend! We'll be running at the same time!!!!

  21. To get prepared for my best run I am taking Navy Seal Formula manufactured by MGNutritionals. This pre-workout supplement is the best engine for me! I feel strong, full of energy, and ready to achieve whatever goal I have set.