You should hate running. Only then you can love it.

Tomorrow, it will be time to put my money where my mouth is. All these months – of training and researching and talking about training and researching – will be tested … tomorrow.

The official preparation has been going on all week:

Wednesday, 2 pm:
Last run before race – 2 miles.

Wednesday, all day:
Started making an even bigger effort than usual to make sure I’m constantly hydrating. Clear pee, ftw!

Thursday, 2 pm:
1-hour massage. My therapist gave extra attention to the nagging IT bands, which continue to be tight but haven’t given me any pain in a while.

Thursday evening:
“Carbo-loading” officially began. Knowing I’ll have Italian pasta tonight, last night I had hibachi noodles and rice with vegetables. Went light on the shrimp sauce. Skipped having a beer with Jeff and Ronnie and Sally, choosing instead to sip on my Camelbak bottle.

Did laundry to make sure I’m ready to pack.

Went to bed about 10:30, fell asleep around 11. Plan was to sleep as long/late as I wanted, since last night’s sleep was even more crucial than tonight’s.

Friday, 5:30 am:
Awake for some unknown reason. Wide awake. Started feeling like, “wow, is it 1 day away already?” The feeling was somewhere between excitement and wondering if I had given myself enough time to prepare (not exercise-wise, but packing and stuff).

Friday, 6 am:
Started gathering my clothes and food for tonight/tomorrow.

Clothes: Under Armour long-sleeved shirt. TrySports short-sleeved tech tee for over. Running skirt with Capri-length tights underneath. Will also bring a pair of old gloves that I won’t be too upset to lose should I get sick of them and decide to toss them aside. Might also bring a red headband/ear warmer thing I usually use for camping.

the boots are for the after-party, i promise!
the boots are for the after-party, i promise!

Food: I’m probably bringing way too much, but on purpose. Better too much than not enough- wanted to pack enough to feed me this afternoon, tonight should I need a midnight snack, and tomorrow morning. On my food list: 2 bananas (which have been called “the magic runner’s food”); 2 kashi granola bars for snacks before or after the race; thomas bagels, will eat 1/2 of one with Jif peanut butter about 3 hours before the race; GU chomps to eat at the start line; 3 Hammer Gels and 1 GU gel for during the run; a protein drink (a brand I haven’t tried yet but it was given to me in my 1/2 marathon goody bag – will drink after the race); Hammer Recoverite, which helps replinish all the nutrients or whatever that I’ll burn off during the race.

no, i will not eat ALL those bagels. only 1/2 of one.
no, i will not eat ALL those bagels. only 1/2 of one.

Friday, 7 am:
Breakfast of Thomas Bagel, egg, and cheese slice. Probably shouldn’t have had the cheese but I made sure it was just a slice. Also had a glass of OJ and coffee. Probably shouldn’t be drinking a ton of coffee today but I love it so much I probably will anyway. Still sipping on the water. Will taper that as the day goes on – don’t want to have to pee 20x tomorrow!

Still to-do before I leave the house:
Get my last runs off my Garmin and onto my computer and Daily Mile (my computer has been getting updated the past couple of days so I have not had access. Yes, I’m still blogging on my iPhone.

Get my Thunder Road playlist in its final form and make sure my Shuffle is charged (again, need my computer for this!). I’ll publish the playlist at some point, for anyone who is curious!

Pack my running hat (in case I can’t find any dye), my race/fuel belt (holds 4 gels and a race number), my knee brace (I wear it even though my IT band has been better), my headphones.

Friday lunchtimeish:
Will head to Uptown (after stopping to look for more hair dye for tomorrow; found green but not red!).

Will go by the expo to pick up my race packet. Will check into my room at Crowne Plaza. Will get an early Italian dinner, around 5 pm. Will relax and fall into a peaceful slumber (fingers crossed!) and will wake Saturday morning around 4:30 or 5.

I’ll eat immediately when I wake up (it’s why I’m waking up so early; give food time to digest). Then I’ll shower. Then put hair dye in. Kevin and I will head out of our warm hotel rooms around 7 to see what there is to see at the start line. Then as long as we are not needed, we will go back the warm hotel until closer to the race start, which is at 7:50 am.

Then I’ll go on a short little run (for the record, a marathon is 26.2 miles. I’ve been asked that a lot in the past few days. It’s about the distance from my house, south of Ballantyne, to Rock Hill.). I’m guessing it will take me around 4 1/2 to 5 hours (hoping for 4.5, but I’ve never done this before so we will just see what happens!)

My goals during the race:
Don’t stop moving no matter what (unless it’s a bathroom break);
Limit bathroom breaks to none or very little;
Run all or most of the time, with very little to no walking;
Have FUN! As long as I’m having fun, I do not car if it takes me all day.

Then I’ll cross the finish line, give sweaty hugs to my parents, Colleen, Jeff, Kevin, Jenn, Chris, Crystal, Ryan, Brandi, John, Ashley, Ronnie and Sally (if Ronnie and Sally can make it.) Hope to see Scott, a new running buddy who is doing the marathon too. Will drink some Recoverite, eat a banana, walk around for a few minutes, then go get lunch. At some point during the day (I don’t care if it’s lunch or dinner) I want to eat at Zink.

After lunch, long nap. Then party all night! Everyone says “yeah right” to this – but I contend, if I can get a nap, I can party. Probably no dancing in the cards, but I can certainly sit at a bar and have drinks with all the people who love me enough to stand out in the cold to watch me do something crazy / experience something really lifechanging.

Again, I will say a big thank you for all of your support in this. This running bug has really taken over in the past few months, and I know it’s been a litte bit all-consuming.

The main thing I’ve learned through this process is that if I can do it, anyone can. I didn’t start running regularly until I was about 25 years old. I started slow, and I had never run longer than 6-7 miles before this year. If I can do it, you can do it. You have to hate running before you can love it (Amy), that is an unfortunate part of the process, but if you can stick with it through the tough parts, you can really amaze yourself with what your body can do.

I feel powerful now. In control of my body. I hate my belly and thighs less partially because there is less to hate, but mostly because I know if I don’t like it, I can change it. If I can do this, I can do anything.