Down to the wire, I'm following my inner kid

Summer on the Run is a 12-week blog and video series that follows former Olympic swimmer and avid runner Summer Sanders on her journey to train for Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 24.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she will share training tips, and a little inspiration, as she gears up for the main event. Use hashtag #GoRun on Twitter to follow Summer and be part of the ongoing conversation.



There's no need to turn back the clock. Live for what you've planned today because it'll never be the same again.

That's how I approach big events in my life. They are all worthy in their own right, especially the "firsts." Whether I'm thinking about my first swim race, running race or my son Spider's upcoming first 5K, they are moments to hold onto and cherish.

The emotions you're going through right now are the ones I crave when I do my cannonball into the pool. It's all about that feeling of being a kid again. Remember how the nervousness set in before your first day of school or first date? It's that same gut reaction that takes over now before a race and reminds you how it feels to be alive!

When you challenge your mind and body, you're bound to have intense feelings, ranging from sadness to delight. You've been building up to this for months, and you may start feeling strange now that the race is almost here, the path almost over. This is what we live for. These are the moments we will remember and ones we'll tell our kids and grandkids about.

Don't let anything get in your way. You've already done enough to get your body in shape to line up at the start. You have no more long runs, no more super-intense workouts. So forget the scheduling, early mornings and superpowers you thought you needed to get through those toughest weeks -- you're over that hump. It's time to be you.

I always say my kids teach me a ton. These days, I'm learning from Spider, who gets into everything he does, whether it is a game in the morning, party in the afternoon or TV show at night. Each thing is better than the one before it. I'm going to follow him on this one and find the joy in all the little things our family does together this week. I've taken so much of my own time to fit in my runs and get ready to race, so here's my chance to enjoy how far we've come together.

The hardest thing now is to concentrate on what you and I need over the next two weeks. Here are a few ways you can distract yourself and get your body ready to race in the final days:

• Add salt to your meals so you have electrolytes your body can use. Simply sprinkle table salt on your lunches and dinners, as long as you don't have a problem tolerating sodium. The salt will help your body absorb the water it needs to perform.

• Be sure to get up from your desk, computer or bed to stretch throughout the day, and even at night (if you wake up with a cramp in your side, stand up and do a stretch to fix it). Keep your legs loose by going for a walk at lunch. On that note, make sure you eat breakfast and lunch each day this week. Get the fuel that will prepare your body for greatness.

• Carry your water bottle with you wherever you go this week and next. Don't just bring it to the gym. You should have a source of water at work, in the car and out with friends. Drink as much water as you normally would, and shoot for more -- extra bathroom breaks are another opportunity to stand up, move around and give your body a break.

Summer is ready for whatever comes her way over the next 10 days. She knows now is not the time to worry about the weather (snow, you can't stop me now!) or missing a long run earlier in her training (forget that flu!). As Summer looks ahead toward race day, come along with her on this fantastic journey. Your goal this week: Be sure to get multiple nights of good sleep while you're still home.

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