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I’ve finished 17 marathons. So with one week and two days left before I go for another one, why am I starting my rituals already?

To be perfectly honest, even with 17 under my belt, I want to be sure I cross the finish line for number 18!

marathonSome rituals are sensible: that nice glass of red wine I treat myself to in the evening becomes a gulp or two in the week prior to and then none two days before the marathon. I drink more water. I eat more bananas. As a vegetarian, if my body is crying out for protein, I’ll sneak in a few of my daughter’s organic chicken nuggets. I try to get more sleep. I wash my hands a lot so I don’t catch a cold the week before the run (which has still happened the last two years!). I keep my training runs/walks short, mostly to stay relaxed.

Some rituals are goofy. I know a week in advance what I will wear. For the third year in a row, my buddy and I will go to the runners’ expo to pick up my race packet the Thursday before the marathon on Sunday and then have lunch. I shave before the race even though I’m at the start line at 4:30 a.m.

But this year I’m trying/might try a few new things. I’m going to eat a little something beforehand so I perhaps don’t struggle as much with cramps. I may walk a bit after 10 miles to pace myself better. (In all other races, I’ve started walking only after I have felt I could no longer run.)

What I know for sure: when I finish, I’ll embrace my family, thank the angels who have looked out for me, wear my finisher’s medal the rest of the day, and feel like I’m on top of the world!