Last Friday night I met up with Alison & Stephanie (Spectrum Nutrition), the two awesome ladies helping me with my sports nutrition since I’m about to be in full Ironman mode.  My assignment for the next 7 days is to write down everything I eat (& when), all my workout details, and finally sleep.  We will meet up again the Monday or Tuesday before my marathon (on the 13th) to evaluate & move forward with our partnership.  There are no words to express the gratitude I feel towards them!  Also, Alison has paired me up with a nationally recognized running coach that I hope to start working with as early as March or April for my Ironman this August.  More on that very soon!!

Alison has already started to give me pieces of very valuable information for race day (can you believe it is only 2 weeks away??).   On marathon morning she likes to eat oatmeal, a banana and a spoon full of peanut butter.  From her experience oatmeal “sticks to her bones” longer, as her dad used to say.  However, she stressed that everyone is different and you should stick with what works for you on race morning.  I plan to experiment with breakfast over the next two weeks to see what is best for my body.  I also bought some new race nutrition based on her advice.  The first is Nuun, which are little tablets that you put into your water to help with hydration.  They taste really good and even make your water mildly carbonated.  Click here to learn more about Nuun. For actual calories I tried out Clif Shot Bloks, which are soft 33 calorie cubes (six in a pack I believe) that are really easy to eat.  Since I have a problem swallowing gels, this is a great solution for me.  Alison said the key to long distance race nutrition is to eat often (Rule of Thumb: 30-60 grams of carbs every 30-40 minutes, which equals 3 Bloks or 1 gel packet) and avoid becoming depleted before it actually happens.  She also avoids having to pee by waking up extra early on race day to drink plenty of water, but stopping about an hour before the race actually starts.  For my own body I’ve had pretty good luck with stopping about 30-40 minutes in advance.  Another thing that has come in super-handy is caffeine.  I don’t touch the stuff on a day-to-day basis, but it really helps out my endurance on long runs.  Something else it speeds up is my digestive system… which hasn’t been well-timed lately if you know what I mean.   😉  Maybe I should be taking in the caffeine earlier, too.

I realize a lot of you probably know about the types of road races out there for all ranges of fitness.  But for those of you who don’t… here is what I can share.  (But please, please get advice from your doctor before you do any activity… especially if you have any sort of injury.)

5k (or 3.1 miles) – This is a great distance for walkers and runners alike.  It is an attainable distance, and one that you can easily train to become faster and faster at.  You don’t need to take in nutrition for this short of a race.  As a matter of a fact, you don’t need to take in any nutrition until you’ve gone well over an hour of moderate to intense exercise.

8K (4.97 miles) – I’ve actually never done this distance but seems like a lot of fun.  Great step-up if you are working towards a 10k!

10k (or 6.2 miles) –  This is also an attainable distance for walkers and runners.  It’s just long enough to be really difficult, so you should follow some sort of training schedule (like Couch to 10K) if you’ve never done this distance before.   I normally don’t drink while doing 6 miles or less, but that is something you should decide for yourself with experience.

15k (or 9.3 miles) – I know of at least one “15k” race that is actually rounded up to 10, but I’m sure the majority are 9.3 miles.  If you’ve never done this distance before, then I would recommend finding a 8-12 week training schedule online to help build up your fitness & endurance.  You will probably need to take in nutrition for this one.

Half Marathon (13.1 miles) – My favorite!!!  I’ve done a handful of these (not always well…) and love the distance.  It’s super challenging and just long enough to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something really important.  If you are blessed with the ability to run this distance, then I hope you take it on one day!  You will be hooked for life.

Marathon (26.2 miles) – Like I said above, I will be doing my very first marathon in just under two weeks!!  AHH!!!  I am more than excited.  Which gets me to the title of today’s blog post – Breaking Boston.  While my realistic goal is to finish in under 4 hours… there is the very likely chance that I could also break Boston.  When you “break Boston” you qualify for the Boston Marathon (in a qualifying race)… which is the only way you can enter.   For my age group & gender, I have to run the Mercedes Marathon in under 3:40 in order to qualify (UPDATED – 8:23 minute miles).  I would say that it’s not likely for me… but still in the realm of possibility.  If I don’t make it this time, then that will definitely be my goal for my next marathon!  Alison actually delivered some very strong words to me regarding this… she looked me square in the eye on Friday night and said that if I was breaking Boston, that I better not stop to put on that bikini at mile 20.   🙂

Speaking of which… I am over halfway to my fundraising goal for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society!  Woohoo!!! 😀  If I raise the full $1,000, then I will run the last 6 miles of Mercedes in my bikini.  I have solid plans in place in case of cold weather, and shouldn’t lose more than 20 seconds in the transition.  How’s that for a first marathon experience? 🙂  Click here to see my giving page.