Category Archives: Training

Philadelphia Marathon Training Weeks #15 and (most of) #16

It’s race week people! And I’m weirdly calm. I can feel some nerves creeping in a little, but generally I’m just feeling good; rested, ready and excited! I feel like I did (most) everything I could in terms of training and preparing for this race, and so now it’s just time to let it rip on Sunday.

I am still having a really hard time figuring out my goals and/or pace plan. I know where I could be on an incredible day, I know where I could be on an average day, and I know things could just get ugly, but there’s a very wide time range between those outcomes. I’m not going to sandbag myself at all, as I will certainly be racing and running as competitively as I can on Sunday, I just don’t really know what that will mean. I suppose I’m just going to try to run the best I can on that day, give my very best, and stay as mentally strong as I can.

My mantra for Sunday is to be smart in the first half and be brave in the second half (also known as: don’t be an idiot, then don’t be a wimp).

If I were to have ONE main goal, it’s to negative split the race. Out of my five marathons, the two that actually felt good were the ones I negative split. I have drilled this technique into my head over the past few months, and I’ve been running my long runs this way as well. Baring something terrible happening, I am determined to run the second half faster than the first. I’m less concerned about the “holding back” in the first part element of this equation so much as the pushing it after mile 13 element. Digging deep on tired legs is a scary thought, and it’s going to necessitate a great deal of mental focus and strength. I like to think I have these qualities, but the marathon is a merciless beast and has eaten me alive before. I’d be lying if I said the distance doesn’t scare me anymore since I’ve run it five times now. In fact, I’d say it scares me more because I’ve already faced it.

But here’s what I’ve been taught about fear: When things are important to us, there is always going to be an element of fear involved. When it comes to goals that we’ve been focusing on and working toward, this fear (namely the fear of failure) is even more pronounced. But when you want something more than you fear it, when you can channel those scared feelings into feelings of deep determination – you take control over fear, and consequently – you cannot fail.

There are some big goals that I want in regard to the marathon distance, and while it will take more than one race to achieve them, I intend to use Sunday as a step toward getting that much closer.

Here’s how the last two weeks of tapering have been:

Week #15 (aka: the week of the polar bomb)

This is the average amount of clothing I had to lay out before every day I ran last week.

This is the average amount of clothing I had to lay out before every day I ran last week.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 7.5 miles + PM hot yoga

13 degrees outside and the first time I wore tights to run in this year. Thankfully Julia joined in on the fun, or else my bed probably would have won out.

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to/from (5.5 miles)

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ONE DEGREE. Good thing I’ve got a weatherproof crew of badass people to inspire me to get outside. This workout was slow and easy stairs, and it was so special. To be out there in frigid cold, defying all natural instincts to hibernate, with some awesome people was an incredible thing and was one of my more memorable NP workouts.

Thursday: 75 minute yoga class

One of the best classes I’ve ever been to at my new studio. Good stuff!

Friday: November Project workout + run to/from (6 miles)

We ran up and down a gentle hill in the 9 degree weather. I took it easy, smiled a lot and probably shivered more.

Saturday: 12 miles

Last “long run” of the training cycle! It was snowing the whole time and I had a hard time seeing since snowflakes kept sticking to my eyelashes and not melting since it was so cold. It was beautiful, but this run seemed to take forever. My speed was fine, my legs felt fine, it just seemed to drag.

Sunday: 4 miles easy + hot yoga

Hottest hot yoga class I’ve ever been to. It was certainly cleansing and relaxing, but it was a little too hot for my preference.

Total= 35 miles

 

Week #16 (aka: this week, aka: RACE WEEK)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 7 miles with Julia

Wednesday: 6 miles

I ran to November Project, sat out of the workout and took pictures, and still loved it as much as if I’d been participating. Really great to see my people, give some hugs, and get some good lucks before the race.

Thursday: yoga

Easy flow class this morning, it was lovely.

Friday (planned): 4 easy miles, shake out

Saturday (planned): rest

Sunday: yea…

You can add “binge watched Lost” to most days up there, as that’s been my chosen taper distraction technique. It’s really good for keeping me occupied, not so good for keeping my heart rate low.

Generally, I’m really happy with how things are feeling this week. I feel like I’ve balanced resting and continuing to move really well, and my body is feeling more and more ready every day. My legs, somehow, have felt great on every run this week – let’s hope that’s a sign of good things to come on Sunday! I’m trying a new technique of not doing the shake out the day before the race, and I’m excited for it. I always feel like my legs feel best after full rest days – so let’s hope this holds some truth. My guess is that we’ll be walking around Philly enough to get blood moving and to calm any nerves.

This is it! I’m really excited. Thank you all for your encouragement through this training cycle – it’s been a good one!

Here is tracking information, and my bib number is 2276.

Gah! Okay, time to buckle it in until Sunday. Booyah!

 

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Philadelphia Marathon Training Weeks #8 and #9

Training! It’s been happening. Let’s recap before I forget all of it.

Hard to believe I’ve been marathon training for 9 weeks now. It feels like I’ve done nothing…but I suppose that’s not true. These next few weeks are going to include some hard workouts and high mileage before I taper down for three weeks. In a lot of ways I feel like I haven’t been doing the tough work I need/want to be doing, but when I look back I suppose things haven’t been too lackluster. There’s been progress, and I need to remember that.

Week #8 (9/22 – 9/28)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 8 miles, or at least…this is what I think I did? Not a lot of recording happened this week

Wednesday: November Project workout (clovers) + run to and from, ~6.5 miles total

Advantage of shorty shorts: even the most height-deprived of us get to have the illusion of long legs

Advantage of shorty shorts: even the most height-deprived of us get to have the illusion of long legs

So. Hard. This is a workout that is always hard, but since the first time I did it…it’s become a little easier every time. Not today. Following my half-marathon the Sunday before, my legs were not happy during these 35 minutes of stair running.

Thursday: 9 miles

Friday: November Project workout + happy hour run, ~7 miles total

We played capture the flag for NP and it was SO fun. After work, some members reconvened for a little jogging followed by beers. Again, so fun.

Saturday: 6.5 miles, so slow

Sunday: 20 miles

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A friend is running the Denver Rock ‘n Roll full marathon in a few weeks and wanted to log her 20 mile run along the course. Julia and I joined her, and I’m still in shock at just how much better long runs are with friends. They go by so much faster, they’re so much less boring, and in a lot of ways I think they’re easier. This was a great run – my energy was high, my legs felt good, and it was followed by a great brunch.

Total= 57 miles, highest yet!

Week #9 (9/29 – 10/5)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 9 miles + Core Power yoga class

Would you look at that…something new and exciting! After months of hating my gym and not lifting or really cross-training, it was time to do something that would help my running. Julia and I decided to try out a few yoga studios via newbie deals/Groupons and choose one we liked to stick with. This month is Core Power, and I’m digging it so far. A great combo of stretching, strength, and sweat, with just the right amount of “om” factored in.

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to/from, 6 miles total

High fives and hugs, natch

High fives and hugs, natch

Thursday: 9 miles w/ 5 mile tempo + 5 x 100 meter strides + Core Power yoga

I had very good intentions about doing 800s on this day, but when the track was pitch black my desire to be in the people-filled park changed my workout plan to a tempo run. Which, ultimately, is fine – as marathon training necessitates longer hard effort workouts rather than short intervals anyway, IMO. Anyway, I ran two laps of Wash Park (2.5 miles each) at a 7:30-7:40 pace, stopping twice briefly (once halfway through for a breather and once for a bathroom break…). Regardless, I was happy with the splits (avg. 7:35), although I wish this had felt a little easier. Finished off with some striders, which are always my favorite. More Core Power that night, more yoga love.

Friday: November Project workout + running pre and post, 7 miles total

Such a fun circuit, Friday NP workouts are the best!

Saturday: 14 miles w/ 8 miles at GMP

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I don’t really know what my goal marathon pace is yet, but as of late I’ve just been using my old goal pace for Eugene which was 7:50-8:00. That was my benchmark for when my speed was really clicking, so while it might be a little ambitious (/delusional) to use it as my default, I still find comfort in it. Anyway, I was in Portland for the weekend and didn’t want to spend 3 hours running super long, so I decided on a shorter long run with fast miles in the middle. Here’s what happened:

3 mile warm up, 8:09, 7:56, 7:43, 7:36, 7:41, 7:43, 7:28, 7:50, 3 mile cool down

Guess what? Running at sea level is the best. I ran almost solely on effort since I used a borrowed Garmin and couldn’t figure out how to change the display screen, which meant my paces didn’t show up until the end of each mile. Really pleased with this run; I felt controlled and it was just fun to run fast.

Sunday: ~5.5 miles of marathon “pacing”

I was so happy to get to watch my best friend Anna run her first marathon this weekend! Portland was my first marathon too, so being on the course from the other side brought back all kinds of happy memories. Anyway, we got to see her a handful of times in the first off, and then we plopped ourselves at mile 20 or so. Spectating is seriously so fun, especially when people have their names on their bibs like they do for PDX. Being at mile 20 was great too – because I always feel like that’s when I need a crowd booster.

SPOILER: she finished, like a boss.

SPOILER: she finished, like a boss.

Anyway, I hopped in with Anna (per her request) from miles 20-24, at which point she wanted to finish alone. In order to get back to the finish line to see her finish, I didn’t really have a choice but to run along the course until right around mile 26, where I scooted off. Want to feel like an asshole? Run past a bunch of marathoners when they’re on mile 24-26 on fresh legs that have only run a few miles. Seeing Anna finish was worth it though – she killed it, and there’s nothing like watching someone complete their first 26.2.

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Total = 50.5 miles

I was happy with training this past week, and I’m hoping to continue to see some fitness improvements over the next month before I have to taper! Here’s to the weeks ahead…

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #7

Another week, come and gone.

We’re closing the summer-fall gap more and more everyday, and I have a feeling the leaves will be long gone before we know it. Trying to soak up all the yellow and red beauty while we can! Please check out Adam’s view on a Saturday climb of Pyramid Peak:

I can't make this up.

I can’t make this up.

So, still loving Colorado, more or less.

Training this last week was good. I opted for more intensity vs. high mileage, and it worked out well. I had a half marathon on Sunday that I certainly didn’t taper for, but I did schedule my training around it. The race went well, and it was a needed confidence booster. Here’s more of the details of my week:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6 x 800 (7 miles total)

Very pleased with this workout, especially given my apprehension going into it. I ran on a track (one million times better than on the roads or treadmill), but it was completely dark when I started, and I was the lone runner. It was at a high school so I felt reasonably safe, but the lack of daylight and company definitely added to the mental aspect of this workout. I was aiming for 3:25-3:30 per 800, and I was super happy with the results:

3:23, 3:21, 3:19, 3:22, 3:21, 3:20

Fastest 800s to date! I felt tired by the end for sure, but they all felt do-able. I told myself to run by feel and only check my pace on the 200s of each lap, which worked well. I did a slow 400 between each interval (and a few moments of stand-still heavy breathing). Definitely a repeat workout this cycle, probably two more times with added intervals. Oh, and around my fifth 800 the high school men’s XC team showed up to do their workout, so I did have some camaraderie :).

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to and from (~5 miles total)

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Thursday: 8 easy miles

A fantastic run, all around. Fall temperatures, easy breathing, happy legs. A+.

Friday: ~2 mile swim

Fine cross-training, I’ll partake in you. I really REALLY wanted to go to November Project this morning, but figured given the race on Sunday I ought to give my legs a breather.

…but then FOMO got to me too much, and I went to the evening “Run to Happy Hour” outing with NP friends. 3.5 easy miles followed by beer with some awesome people=worth it.

2-for-1 beers, yep.

2-for-1 beers, yep.

Saturday: 5 slow-as-mud miles

Sunday: 13.1 miles + 1 mile

I finished the Equinox Half Marathon in 1:41:31, and like I said…I was pretty darn happy. After a 1:49 and a 1:46 earlier this summer, I feel like I’m getting back to where I was before in terms of speed, and it feels good. I’ll post splits and such when I get my race report up.

I also ran in my stepmom for the last mile of her race, in which she had a HUGE PR of 1:58…11 minutes faster than her previous best! Insane, I’ve never heard of anyone taking that much time off a HM. Needless to say, it was very fun to run her in.

PR city!

PR city!

Total=42.5 miles

I was happy to get in two solid efforts last week, and I’ll be adding a little mileage this upcoming week. Alternating between mileage and intensity seems to be working for now, so I’m kind of basing my training around that configuration. You can look for my next marathon training bestseller due out next spring :).

Welcome to fall!

 

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #6

Hello and happy Tuesday! I have a chance to recap my training last week closer to the beginning rather than the end of this week, so that’s progress. Let’s do it!

Week 6 was a tale of two very different modes; the beginning was slow, tired, and generally just blah. The end turned a corner though, and the last three days were A+ training. I was originally planning on following a very formulaic, pre-planned schedule for this cycle, but so far that hasn’t really worked out — and that’s totally okay. I’m mostly just letting things ebb and flow according to how I feel, and last week was a perfect example of how such a method is so helpful sometimes. I’m starting to realize that extra rest is sometimes more beneficial than a hard, fast workout — and in a lot of ways they’re both a means to the same end.

Here’s the nitty gritty:

M: Rest

T: 8 miles + lifting

Would you look at that, I finally got back to the weights. Adam and I forced ourselves to the overcrowded, post-work gym and followed a tough, major muscle group routine. And guess what happens when you don’t do more than push-ups and planks for 2 months then lift a whole lot? You’re sore for the entire week after. It was our intent to lift again on Thursday, but there would have been no point…we were hurting too badly. But it’s a start! I love lifting with Adam because he gets me to do lifts I ordinarily don’t do on my own.

W: November Project workout + run to/from (~6 miles)

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Imagine my horror when upon getting to NP, we were instructed to kick things off with “100 100s,” which is 100 push-ups and 100 leg-throw downs (read: ab destroyers) spread out over a few sets. After my night of muscle-shaking weight training, I was not psyched. But, I got it done, and I enjoyed the rest of the workout a lot (running interspersed with lunges, mountain climbers, and burpees (wait, I hated those…)). GO TO NOVEMBER PROJECT.

T: Rest, unplanned, but necessary

F: November Project workout + run to (8.75 miles total)

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Hills! This was an awesome workout, and it gave me a bit of a confidence boost. Essentially, for 35 minutes, we ran up and down a ~0.3 mile hill. I finished with about 4.5 miles total, which I was uber pleased about since my uphill running definitely leaves something to be desired. I ran the entire time with an ultrarunner, and I feel like the distraction/company helped me push the pace.

Also, you can’t really tell in the above photo, but I was wearing an ear-warmer, and most people showed up in down coats and leggings. Yep, 34 degrees on September 12. Colorado is weird.

S: Mt. Bierstadt! 7 miles roundtrip, 2,850 feet elevation gain

photo 2

I summited my 10th 14er of the summer with Julia, and it was fan-flipping-tastic. The weather was gorgeous, the trees were teetering perfectly between green and yellow, and we kicked some major mountain butt. 3.5 hours roundtrip, not including a lovely stop on the summit. I’m pretty sure half the people of Denver were on the mountain with us, but it didn’t really matter. So fun.

Twins, unplanned. Also, let's talk about Julia's legs for a second?! #fordays

Twins, unplanned! Also, let’s talk about Julia’s legs for a second. #fordays

S: 14 miles

A solid long run following last week’s disaster. 8:25-ish average, felt great the whole time, and got to see some new parts of Denver.

Total= 36.75 miles (running)

A nice little step back week, including a solid ending. I’m starting to feel a little more spring in my step than I have been, and I’m happy to remember what that’s like.

We finished off the week sweating it out at the Broncos game, and I mean that both very literally and very figuratively. But, they pulled through in the end, much unlike our NFC friends to the north who let Phil Rivers get away with an upset. I’m not naming names, but…LOL.

We are covered in sweat and without voices from yelling but also happy!

We are covered in sweat and without voices from yelling but also happy!

Have a stellar week!

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #5

Hurrah! An opportunity to recap training!

You guys, this week has been insane. So much work. SO MUCH. But, it’s the kind of busy that I’ll always prefer over boredom, so I’ll take it. But seriously, I’ve been ready for Friday since approximately Tuesday at noon.

My favorite little lazy snuggle buddy. I would like to watch movies and sleep next to this nugget for three straight days please.

My favorite little lazy snuggle buddy. I would like to watch movies and sleep next to this nugget for three straight days please.

This week has also marked the first time this training cycle I’m feeling like I was hit by a bus. My whole body is sore, I can’t get enough sleep, and I’ve got a tickling throat and a relentless headache to boot. FUN! But, I’ve readjusted and made this a very-needed step back week. I’m not counting mileage, just resting more and focusing on recovery rather than build up.

But we’re not talking about this week, we’re talking about last week…the one that kicked me in the pants. I already recapped last Monday in the Week 4 recap, so let’s start with Tuesday. It’s not lost on me though that beginning the week with a half-marathon didn’t exactly launch me into a “rested” state for the remainder of the week.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to/from (6.5 miles total)

Thursday: 9 miles + 18 holes of golf. Does that count as exercise? It felt like it, considering my appetite afterward and whining during.

Friday: November Project workout + run to/from (6 miles total)

Saturday: 7 miles easy

Sunday: 18 miles, mixed up between spectating some sweet 70.3 racing action.

Total for Tuesday-Sunday: 46.5

My long run felt like death last week, which always sucks. It was almost entirely self-inflicted, after running 4 days in a row prior. But, it was also wicked hot (we all know how I feel about that), exposed, and just long. Since I wanted to watch my friend Dan race his 70.3 that day, I organized the long run around the race location and fit miles between opportunities to see him. Great idea, except that, as the brilliant Julia pointed out, this meant that the time on my feet was actually much longer than the long run itself. I somehow managed to average around 8:30s for this run, which does give me some confidence that when conditions are better, my speeds will be somewhat decent.

How cute are Dan and Julia? I tag along with them in all their coupley-cuteness. Is that weird? Hopefully not.

How cute are Dan and Julia? I tag along with them in all their coupley-cuteness. Is that weird? Hopefully not.

Honestly, I was hoping to be gearing up a little bit more at this point in terms of key workouts and speed increases. But, sometimes stepping back for a week is all part of the gearing-up equation, and I’m hoping that by next week I’ll have a little more fight in my legs. I better, since I have a half-marathon next Sunday that I’m hoping to run fairly well at.

This post is so little, I’m sorry. At one point or another I’ll get a race recap up, but today is not that day.

Adios amigos!

Playing Catch-Up: Fall Marathon Training, etc.

And suddenly it was almost September. Where has my blogging gone? There’s a handful of different posts I’ve been wanting to/meaning to write, but whenever there’s time available to write them, I’d rather be sleeping instead. Most hours of my days have been super full all summer – which is great – but again, I’m left with too much to say and no blog posts to show for it.

Life is hard, wah wah wah.

But hopefully there’s still a few of you out there that read, so I’m going to try and get down a few updates before I’ve lapped myself too much.

I’m training for a marathon, woo!

Training for Philadelphia officially started 3 weeks ago, and I’ve got 12 more weeks to get myself in fighting shape. My plan this time around is to get uncomfortable; actually do the workouts that I’m always scared to do instead of mindlessly clicking off junk miles. I’ve got a longgg way to go before my body and mind are in the spot I want them to be on November 23, but luckily I’ve got both time and decreasing temperatures on my side. In the meantime, I’m really happy with the base I’ve got, and provided I stay smart and stay hungry (figuratively of course..I’m always hungry literally), I think I have a decent shot at making good progress over the next three months.

The “plan” I’ve developed for myself is basically made up, with a little help from the Advanced Marathon Training schedule, which is what I used for Eugene. While I’d like to be the kind of person who can follow a by-the-book plan, it’s more important to me to keep certain things (like November Project) as a part of my routine. My schedule is focused on a key workout per week (unless it’s an off week), a long run, and overall mileage. I’d really like to peak around 60 miles per week, maybe a little higher, this time around— which I’m guessing shouldn’t be too hard since I’ve been around ~45 all summer. But generally I’m just listening to my legs and trying to ignore my head when it yells negative and discouraging thoughts at me. Admittedly the goals I have for this race are high, and it’s going to take a lot of umph to get there. I’m counting on fall weather, friends, and faith in myself to make it happen.

And because I need to write this down somewhere or it’s never getting in my spreadsheet (ha), here’s how training has gone so far:

Week 1

M: 8 miles w/ 5×100 meter strides

T: Rest

W: November Project workout + run to and from (~7 miles total)

T: 9 miles w/ 5 miles @7:30

F: Quandry Peak climb!

S: 5 trail miles

S: 14 heavenly miles @ 8:05 average <- best long run pace in a long time

Total: 43 miles

14er number 9 of the summer!

14er number 9 of the summer!

Week 2

M: 5 trail miles

T: 8 miles

W: Rest

T: 9 miles total, 3 in the morning, 5k race (22:00), 3 miles warm up/cool down

F: 7 trail miles (Smith Rock!)

S: 16 trail miles of perfection

S: ~3 miles

Total: 48 miles

Smith Rock is running heaven.

Smith Rock is running heaven.

Week 3

M: 7.5 miles

T: Rest

W: November Project workout + run to and from (6.5 miles total)

T: 8 miles total, 3 mile tempo @ 7:15 + 5 hill repeats

F: November Project workout + run to and from (9 miles total)

S: 6 miles

S: 14 miles

Total: 51 miles

Generally, I’m feeling pretty good. Despite my lack of strength training of any kind and not much cross training (oops…), I’m pleased with how things are going so far. Mileage wise, my legs are very comfortable here, which gives me confidence for gaining some momentum before too long. Once the weather stops being so perfect I suppose I’ll get back in the pool/gym, but for now I’m trying to integrate as much at-home strengthening gimmicks as I can…which isn’t much, but it’s something. Luckily, my twice weekly November Project attendance has done remarkable things to the strength (and size…) of my booty, which is where a lot of my running problems have stemmed from. The camaraderie also does remarkable things for my soul, but we’ll talk about NP another day. Overall, I have no doubt that keeping it in my schedule is not only helpful, but necessary.

Let’s see… what else? I ran a 5k for the first time in a year and a half (which you can see up there). I’ll recap probably in my next post, which needs to be followed by a post about the setting in which I ran said 5k: Bend, Oregon. I went to Bird Camp! Specifically, running summer camp for Oiselle runners that was all kinds of fun.

River soak post 16 trail miles. Bliss!

River soak post 16 trail miles. Bliss!

Oh, also, I’m running a half marathon this upcoming Monday, so I suppose I’ll need to work that in somewhere too. So you see, lots to talk about over here, and I’ll do my best to get it up. In the meantime, I’m really going to try and commit to weekly training recaps since they help me actually log the sweating that I do.

 

Thanks for sticking with me friends, happy fall race training to you!

 

Boston Marathon Training Week #9

Quick little training update post while I have a few minutes!

This was technically my first taper week. Some people go with only two weeks of taper for the marathon, but I’ve always had success with three. Don’t mess with a good thing…especially when it comes to preparing for the all-mighty 26.2.

This time around, especially, I’m hyper-conscious about resting up for the big day. The theme of these three taper weeks is restoration, and I plan on using every trick in the book to arrive in Boston feeling sparkly and fresh. And I mean every trick…but that’s a topic for another post.

Here’s how week #9 looked:

Monday: 6.5 miles

Pre-first day on the new job miles = necessary

Tuesday: 50 min. stair stepper + lifting

I had intentions to go to spin, but apparently I picked the day when the most popular class was going on. I arrived ten minutes early and there wasn’t an empty bike seat in sight. But, I took the opportunity to lift some weights instead which ultimately may have been smarter.

Wednesday: 8 miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 2 mile swim

The pool was too warm but I felt great otherwise. Magical swimming, I’ll tell ya.

Saturday: 6 miles + lifting

BF and I ran to our gym and back and it was rough. I had to stop twice on the way there (yes, that’s twice in only three miles) and generally running after lifting is tough stuff.

Sunday: 16 miles

Bliss. Total and complete long-run perfection. After the train wreck runs I’ve been having lately, I really needed this one. I rode the high on this for a few days.

Total= 36.5 miles

That’s all the time I’ve got! I’ve wavering back and forth between uncontrollable excitement and paralyzing fear about the race. Sound like taper-time? I think so too.

TEN days left!!!