With just two weeks remaining before the Boston Marathon I have already begun organizing the things that I will need for weekend. I have placed everything in one large box so I am reassured I haven’t missed anything. The most important item that I will need first is the confirmation card required to obtain my official number.
Remember to keep the Adidas bag that it comes in as that is the official bag that you will leave on the buses as you walk from the Athlete’s Village to the starting line. However, I would check with the your charity because it’s far easier to have them transport the bag to the hotel where we’ll meet afterwards. Any shortcut that will reduce the amount of logistical or physical effort is worth pursuing.
I break the marathon weekend into stages to help me organize more effectively (i.e., marathon expo, Athlete’s Village, marathon, post-marathon). I wear loose-fitting and warm clothes to the village to ensure I remain comfortable. Since the weather can be unpredictable I plan for cold, rain and heat. Consequently, a large garbage bag that can serve as a poncho by cutting a hole in the bottom is an absolute requirement. I also bring sunscreen since nothing is more painful than sunburn on the back of my neck or knees during the run. I never wear the shoes I’m running in until I make it to the starting line. Several years ago I witnessed thousands of runners slogging through water several inches deep so they began the marathon with wet shoes. I also pack snacks and fluid that will help maintain my blood sugar during the wait. Keeping warm, relaxed and comfortable are a top priority. We are forced to sit on the ground so even a piece of cardboard will allow you to conserve energy during the wait. Sitting on the cold ground can be a major drain on your energy level.
The walk to the start can be extremely congested so I leave with plenty of time. Reducing stress and anxiety is also a top priority the morning of the marathon. Before entering the corral I put on my racing shoes and double-knot them. It’s important to not tie them too tightly as I know my feet will swell slightly during the marathon. Removing all jewelry is also a good idea for the same reason. The start can be the most problematic and dangerous part of the marathon since the road is so congested and there are so many anxious runners. I position myself near the side of the road to allow a small degree of freedom.
The most effective method of packing is to start with either your head or feet and move up/down your body. I pay close attention to every aspect of each item. For instance, although I wear a relatively new pair of shoes I sill examine the shoe laces. I recall a runner breaking a shoe lace in the starting corral just moments before the start. I remove all tags from the shorts or tights that I’ll be wearing. Regardless of the starting temperature, I always begin the marathon with a hat and gloves. And I make sure that I don’t discard them because there’s a good chance that I’ll need them as I get into Brookline. The wind tends to be strong during the final 5 miles and my resources are naturally depleted.
The final two weeks can be somewhat stressful and anxiety ridden. You can reduce both by properly planning and being as organized as possible. Don’t let time slip away and attempt to accomplish things at the last moment. Your primary goal should be to remain as calm and relaxed as possible…this can be achieved through following a thorough and well-planned checklist!