Friday, April 12, 2013

Superstitions? Only if they help!

I don't consider myself a superstitious guy but there are a couple things that always seem to work in my favor (or against me, as the case may be) come race day.

1. If my wife is there, I tend to do poorly. In 2011 during the National Half Marathon my wife showed up and I stepped in a pothole in Mile 2, falling and dislocating my shoulder. I was able to get it popped back in but had a disappointing race. Even worse, my wife and two friends were at the finish line but didn't see me as I passed by! At the Steamboat Marathon later that year, she was there again and I bonked horribly.

2. If I injure a finger before the race, I do well. There's somewhat less precedent for this; it's only happened in one race before now. At the 2010 Thunder Road Half Marathon, I sliced open my thumb cooking dinner the day before. I set a 9-minute PR in the half!

I bring this up because today, just three days before Boston, I injured not one but two fingers. The first came during my run this morning: Me, Sam, and Claire were doing an easy 4-miler, running in the street because of a very narrow sidewalk. But as a car approached in the darkness, we decided to hop back onto the sidewalk using a driveway. The morning was muggy, and my glasses had fogged up, so I missed the driveway, and tripped over the curb just before the driveway. I managed to slow my fall, but somehow I still caught the tip of my left middle finger on the pavement, drawing blood. Here's what it looked like after the run:


It's not quite as bad as it looks -- my fingernail was damaged years ago in a vegetable slicer incident, but it still smarts quite a bit.

Then later this morning as I was putting my running gear in the wash, I crushed my right pinky finger between the washer and dryer. That actually hurt more than the other finger, though there are no visible signs of injury.

Needless to say, I don't think either of these injuries will have any effect on a marathon in Boston three days from now, but if superstitions have any value, these two both fall in my favor: My wife won't be there, and I injured a digit before the race.

Otherwise, things are going well. I managed to restrain my urges and ate a respectable number of calories yesterday, so I think my race weight should be fine. This morning I threw in a marathon-pace mile (before the finger incident) and felt okay. I was a little out of breath, but we ran the mile at a 7:35 pace, and given that it included a hill bigger than Boston's infamous Heartbreak Hill, I think we actually ran it a little faster than I'd be running an equivalent section in Boston.

All that's left to do now is pack, continue to eat well and avoid caffeine, and catch tomorrow's flight to Boston!

Details of this morning's run are below.

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