Tomorrow I will run my first marathon. The last two days have been an emotional and psychological roller coaster.

Thursday was a normal day. I didn’t feel any angst or excitement about the race. I have trained and I’m as ready as I am going to be…why worry?

Friday, I planned to go to the convention center and pick up my race packet. I noticed that I was feeling more anxious when I got up and I had begun my typical pre-performance routine… I had the shits! Nothing unusual about that except I’m two days out from the event. Normally, I have to deal with that the day-of or day before the event πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™‚οΈ.

After entering the convention center and picking up my bib, I was overcome with a sense of overwhelming ignorance. I wasn’t feeling anything negative , nor was I second-guessing my preparation or decision to take on this challenge. As I walked into the expo and observed the racers, vendors, and officials I felt like a newborn being dropped into a new world. There are customs, a language, long-standing relationships, and all types of gear being pushed and showcased. Most of it new to me.

Instead of putting my head down and rushing to the exit, I took it all in, then slowly walked around and stopped at each of the vendors.

I bought what I think is a practical race belt. I’ll find out tomorrow. It’s like a big stretchy sock with a few pockets that hold items close to my waist so they don’t bounce as I run. I like the concept. I’ll put energy gels and extra electrolyte mix in the pockets.

I looked for a suitable set of racing sunglasses. My head is what I call – “man-sized” – as a result, I am unable to purchase hats off the shelf and eyewear tends to squeeze my head and give me headaches when I wear them for longer than an hour. With high hopes, stopped at each sunglass booth (none of which were representatives of the major racing vendors). None of them were suitable. Knowing that the bike and run segments of the Ironman will take at least 12 hrs, I have some must-haves in sunglasses –

  • lightweight
  • wide (so that I don’t get a headache)
  • non-slip (I’m like a human sprinkler, lots and lots of sweating)
  • usable in “aero position”, with no big plastic bar across the top of the frame that might impair my vision.
  • UV protection

I took the opportunity to try “the” hot training shoes made by Hoka One One. The cushion is amazing, but the shoes are too narrow for my feet. The sales folks let me know that they do come in wider sizes, but they didn’t bring them to the expo. Too bad…money saved!

Finally, I stopped by my local running store’s booth, Wild Pear Running. The first thing Ben asked me about was my “post-run” plan. 

Huh? WTF is that?

He said, most people change shoes after the race so their feet can begin recovering. 

Damn, I hadn’t even thought that far ahead… I’ve entered a new world indeed.

I tried on a few super cushy sandals at the booth, but none fit properly.  Money saved again!

I’ve got a relatively new pair at home that I don’t wear because they are heavier than I prefer. The soles are thick and I already own them. They will be my “recovery sandals”. 

As I exited the expo hall, I felt relieved. I realized that I have all that I need to run the race. All the extra stuff is just “extra”. There may be a benefit in some of it, but mostly it’s a way to be told that I’ll be a better runner if I purchase more shit. 

I’ll stick with training the fundamentals.