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Ritual behavior

So it began this morning, with a bowl of peanut butter and jelly oatmeal.

The pre-race rituals.

Every runner has them, at least any runner who has raced more than a couple times. And with Fort4Fitness being my ninth half marathon, I have definitely had the time to develop (though not hone) the days leading up to a longer race.

There are no apples -- too much fiber -- but I do eat bananas, as the potassium can help with muscle cramps. Eggs and dairy aren't kind to my stomach so I'll avoid those the night before, if not the day and days before. Wheat bread is switched with white, and I tend to eschew the traditional pasta for potatoes with salt.

Breakfasts veer from protein-based (think aforementioned eggs and tofu scrambles) to oatmeal and ... oatmeal. I randomly justify things like bagels and donuts (apple cinnamon from Tom's? Yes. NOW). There's still coffee, but less of it, and Nuun, but more of it.

Today, I'll also be spotted wearing compression socks or sleeves and will sleep in them as well. Sandals, flip flops and heels are ditched in favor of sneakers or Toms.

It's anyone's guess whether these efforts or changes actually translate to a better race, but I'm in the camp that every little bit helps -- or that it's better to be safe than sorry.

And trust me, I've been sorry a time or two when I didn't stick to the plan. Let's just say apples plus heat did not equal a good race at the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon.