Tag Archives: taper

Eugene Marathon Training Week #11 and #11.5

Stuff is winding down around here. I haven’t really done a “workout” so-to-speak in nearly two weeks, and my legs are more than ready for a little freedom.

I thought I’d report on both this past week and this current week, seeing as after Eugene, the likelihood of “recapping” my final taper week is close to zero. I’ll more than likely have too many chocolate chips to focus on at that point. Actually, I’m already distracted by chocolate chips. I don’t even buy bags with the intention of baking cookies anymore.

But I digress.

I am rather methodical about my final week taper schedule though, so I figured I’d do a little detailing.

But first, last week…

Week #11

M: 7 miles w/ 6 x 100 meter sprints

T: Rest

W: 5 miles easy + Maximum Sculpt

T: ~2 mile swim

F: 8 mile run, easy + easy lifting

S: 12 mile run, no watch- tried to finish strong

S: Rest

= 32 miles

Nothing exceptionally noteworthy last week. Saturday’s last long run felt good, and it was probably a good thing my Garmin died before I even started the run. I tend to be a bit time-obsessed with that thing on…even if the prescribed run is supposed to be “easy.”

I had the best intentions to go to yoga on Sunday. Like I actually got myself to the gym early and everything. Alas…class was cancelled. Oh well, can’t say I didn’t try. My foam roller and I got cozy instead.

And now for this week…both what’s happened and what’s planned:

Week #12

M: 6 miles easy

T: 1 hour swim

W: 7 miles “dress rehearsal” with 2 miles @ mgp

T (planned): 1 hour swim

F (planned): Rest

S (planned): 3-4 mile shake out

S: Well…you know 🙂

The swimming seemed to be a game-changer for me during my tapering for Chicago, so I’m plugging it in twice this week. Generally, it seems to really flush my legs and wiggle out all that lingering tightness…all good things for marathon prep.

This morning’s “dress rehearsal” went about as well as dress rehearsal runs are supposed to go…not awesome. If we’re being honest, marathon pace felt kinda fast, but I’m choosing to trust the training instead of let one less-than-perfect run freak me out. It’s par for the course during race week, right?

I’m also having race-day attire qualms, and today’s run didn’t help much. Tank top? Short sleeves? Arm warmers? I’m all over the place. In the end, I’m certain I’ll go with whatever feels most comfortable…and it will undoubtedly be less clothing than what most people are wearing. Cold weather runner FOREVER!

And speaking of, not that I’m hawking or anything, but race day temps are *for now* looking pretty stellar. High of 61 for the day, meaning a chilly start, just the way I like it. Low chance of rain and partial cloud cover…I couldn’t really ask for much better than that. Honestly, when it comes to weather for races, I try to ignore the predictions…because no matter what the skies decide, I’m going to be running either way. However, it does add a little comfort that (hopefully) wet clothing won’t be an issue.

I’m having a hard time believing there’s only three days between now and race day. Tomorrow night I’ll be packing everything up, and just 48 hours from now BF and I will begin our drive south.

Ah, it’s all happening soon. And since all this typing about the race is starting to send my tummy butterflies a-flutter, I’m signing off for now.

Happy Wednesday folks!

Eugene Marathon Training Week #9

Good morning!

I am certain I won’t be saying this for more than week…but currently (please quote me on this later) I’m definitely ready to taper.

I feel like I’ve packed in all the training I could up until now, and it just feels like time to slow down, smooth out the cracks, and mentally prepare for race day.

Too bad that will be a three week process. But for now, I’m feeling more relived than anxious to be entering taper-phase. Part of that reason could be last week…it was a big one (for me).

M: REST

T: 10 miles fast-ish

W: 8 miles easy + Maximum Sculpt

T: 11.3 miles

F: 3500 yd swim ~80 min

S: 22.4 miles

S: 6.5 easy miles + 75 min yoga

Total= 58.2 miles

That right there would be the most miles I’ve run in this training bout. Most of it felt good…with the exception of some not-so-favorable conditions on Saturday’s long run.

*Edited to add: After some archive snooping, I discovered this is actually the most miles I have ever run in one week!

The truth is that I should be really grateful for Saturday. All the weather apps (yes I have more than one) promised “steady rain” and 10+ mph winds all day on Saturday. I whimpered a little bit on Friday night, but resolved that rain or no rain…the run was going to happen, and I needed to suck it up.

Imagine my euphoria, then, when the 7:00 am alarm went off and not only was there no rain on my window, but there were BLUE SKIES. Nothing will get me out of bed to run quicker than a welcomed fault in weather reporting. This optimism didn’t necessarily carry on through the run, unfortunately.

I’m not really sure if it was the distance, the headwind (they were right about that part), or just the day itself, but I never really fell into a groove during my long run this week. I really dislike when this happens, particularly as it ruins any hope for consistent pacing (my only goal for the run), and I hate having such variance in speed. The second half was infinitely better than the first half (a reprieve from a head wind will do that for you), and my fastest miles turned out to be my final 5 or so. I would upload and post my splits, but I’m a little afraid to look at their lack of symmetry quite yet.

I kind of felt like I hit the wall during this run, which is definitely not awesome during a training run. But. I suppose if I have to take it now or in Eugene, I’d much rather take Saturday.

At one point, I stopped my watch to refill my water bottle (holla for the fountains being back on!), and I forgot to turn it back on for ~.4 miles. Not really a big deal…except that I plum forgot about it until after the run was done, and after I’d completed the Garmin-verified 22.0 mile distance. During a regular run, this wouldn’t have made a difference. But on a 22 mile run, that extra .4 might have been the death of me.

But no matter. I would have liked to finish my longest long run on a more confident note, but you can’t always count on that. I’ve had more than my share of encouraging long runs this training cycle, so those are what I’ll try to focus on.

I spent the rest of Saturday cuddled in a blanket on the couch in the dark. It sounds pathetic, but it was actually rather perfect. And that rain they predicted? It started probably 20 minutes after I walked in the door from my run. I’ll call that a win for the day.

I also slept about 11 hours Saturday night, all of which felt super necessary. Nothing wipes me out quite like a long run, and there is no more delicious sleep than those fueled by miles (and an entire pizza in my stomach 🙂 )

Not too much else from last week is especially note-worthy. Going to yoga yesterday afternoon was one of the best decisions I made all week…and by “going,” I really mean summoning up every morsel of willpower in my being. There is no excuse for why I don’t prioritize going to yoga more, as it never fails to leave me feeling 100% better afterward. It’s just so much easier to choose an hour of sitting on my butt than an hour of downward dog. I can also easily fool myself too into thinking that I’ll just “stretch at home” and it will be just as effective as an expert telling me what to do. Lies.

However, I’m going to try and go at least twice before Eugene. It really is so good for us runners, and when I’m there I can almost hear my pissy muscles thanking me for finally giving them a little TOC.

Other than yoga, there are a few other “running accessories” that I wholeheartedly believe to be effective and helpful, but that’s a post for another day.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Seattle Half-Marathon Race Recap

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about running, it’s that you can never be too certain how it’s going to go. You can feel unstoppable and strong one day, and the next day you can feel like you’re moving through mud on the exact same run.

In other words, running—for the most part— isn’t necessarily predictable…which is why I’ve learned to not put all my eggs in one basket. I actually like this about running, because it takes a bit of the pressure off…and while sometimes this uncertainty leads to disappointment, it also can also lead to some pleasant surprises.

And Sunday was definitely a surprise.

SPOILER! I finished.

I truly did not know what to expect going into this race, other than it would be cold and there would be lots of hills on the course. I didn’t taper, I wasn’t exceptionally hydrated, and my eye wasn’t necessarily “on the prize.” I definitely have a big fancy dream time for a half-marathon, but I knew that this wouldn’t be the race for it. So, I went into it a little blindly…happy to shake off some of the turkey hangover and simply enjoy a run through my city.

As expected, Sunday morning was freezing…but I was actually excited about this. I know I run better in the cold, and with no rain the only thing that I needed to worry about was keeping my blood moving at the start line.

Bundled up and ready to run!

BF dropped me off with no trouble, and after wandering a little bit to see if I could spot anyone I knew…I decided it was futile and plopped myself in what seemed an appropriate group—near the 1:45 pacer. I thought I might be too close to the start line, but when the gun went off I realized that I probably should have put myself a bit further up. The first quarter mile was one big stop-and-go as people shuffled along, and although it was a bit frustrating, I weaved my way out of the masses and kicked it up.

I loved the first few miles through downtown. These were streets I see everyday, and it was great to see them in a new context—as a race course. There was also a monster downhill right off the bat too, which I used to put some time in the bank.

Let’s play a game called…find the downhill mile.

I questioned my speed very early on. Since I didn’t have a defined goal or plan for this race, I kind of decided that negative splitting wasn’t a necessity, and I would just do what I could. The times on my watch were definitely surprising me, but what surprised me more was just how good I felt.

Once we entered the tunnel, I lost satellite reception as expected, which threw off the distance calculations on my Garmin. And now is when we play a new game called “Find the tunnel faulty paces!”

I still felt great, and I loved the course. We had travelled from downtown over to the west side of Lake Washington, and it was lovely. There was a lot of fog, but the conditions were ideal for running and I generally just felt happy.

I crossed the halfway marker at a little over 50 minutes, and it was at this point where I started to get sparkly thoughts about potential finish times. However, I kept myself reeled in, because I knew there was still a fair amount of climbing to do and—as we all know—a fast start can mean scary things for the finish.

The hills picked up a bit, but other than one soul-crushing climb around mile 8, there was nothing too unmanageable. I started to realize during this race that I’m becoming much more confident and comfortable on hills. I’ve developed a climbing strategy/pace that makes hills a lot less daunting, and I’ve actually found myself kind of…gulp…liking them.

My speeds from miles 8-10 were a bit slower. I think it was in part due to the climbing, and it was also at this point that the fatigue of not tapering started to creep in. I could definitely feel the nearly-30 miles I’d already run that week, and I cursed myself a bit for not executing a more conservative race. However, this part of the race was also a beautiful, winding path through the park…so I think I may have been a bit distracted by the scenery.

But we only had a 5k to go, and I knew there would be a bit of a downhill finish. Time to kick into gear. My legs were barking a bit…not because of the distance, but because of the hills/speed. My goal was to grind it out the best I could without leaving much out on the course…because at this point, there wasn’t much to lose. Also, I realized that half marathons are about 1000x better than full marathons in this regard.

Around mile 11.5, I thought it could be possible to finish with a 1:40:xx on the clock…and all of a sudden, the girl without a set time goal became fixated on that number. There was something so even, clean, and benchmark-worthy about that time…and I wanted it to be mine.

So I ran. My legs were heavy and my stomach was getting a little angry, but my pace somehow didn’t falter  I had already decided that I’d condemned myself to a positive-split no matter what, so all I was trying to do at this point was get to the stadium (where the finish line was).

I saw Erika (for the SECOND time during the race!) around mile 13, and she definitely gave me a boost. I straightened up my form, smiled, and booked it.

Photo courtesy of Erika, filter courtesy of Instagram. Thanks Erika 🙂

All at once, we were coming into the stadium, and I can’t tell you how good running on astro-turf felt after pounding pavement for 13 miles. I saw BF right before I crossed the finish line, and despite feeling a little nauseated…I was pumped. My watch showed a 1:40:50 finish, a time that going into the race—I didn’t think was possible.

Distance is off from the tunnel fiasco.

We visited the post-race recovery area for a bit, and despite my best efforts to spot some friends, there were just too many people. We were able to check results right away which was quite convenient, and I confirmed that my finish time was in fact just what I was hoping.

Here are the official stats:

7:42/mile average. And wouldn’t you know it…somehow I did pull off a negative split. 5 seconds still counts…

I’m still a little disillusioned from this race, though quite pleased with it too. I have a big, undisclosed-until-now dream of running a sub 1:40 half marathon, and frankly…I didn’t think this would be possible until maybe next year. I went into this race not even considering that goal because the course was so notoriously difficult.

But the results have changed my mindset a bit. In all honesty, I expected to finish this race around 1:44, maybe 1:43 if I was lucky. And I would have been totally happy with those. But this race (as well as last week’s 5k) have shown me that I need to stop selling myself short.

I have a lot of will and determination, but I don’t necessarily have a lot of confidence. I tend to not believe things are possible until they actually happen, and while I think it’s good to be realistic…I also think that it would serve me well to have a little more trust in myself.

Other than the existential lessons learned during this race, I have to say that this course was absolutely fantastic. Other than the crowding at the beginning of the race, this was perhaps the most enjoyable course I’ve ever run on, and I was really impressed with the Seattle Marathon organization overall.

My best guy.

This race  fired me up. It was encouraging and fun…and while I’m still a little hesitant to hope for anything more, I’m realizing that there’s no harm in trying.

Try I will, and I’m feeling pretty excited for pushing those limits back even further.

Did you run the Seattle Marathon/Half-Marathon? How did it go? How did you like the course?

Thanksgiving Week in Photos

Happy post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas season, Cyber Monday to you!

I hope you all enjoy peeking at your coworkers’ computer screens today to see how hard they’re working at scoring all the deals. I love trying to see what people are shopping for. So much more interesting than a screen of spreadsheets and Outlook.

Anyway, if you’ve taken a break from your sale-searching and stumbled upon my little blog, welcome. Here is a little review of my Thanksgiving break. It was lovely, and I was able to take a needed breather and escape from the cold, rain, and everyday life.

Let’s just start with the forecast I was looking at going into my California vacation…

Good stuff. How could anything go wrong with such a promise of sunshine?

Every other year, my family holds our family reunion over the Thanksgiving weekend. It works out well because normally everyone has time off, and luckily a good deal of my family lives in Southern California.I was born there as well, so it doubles as a vacation back to my home town.

Not to mention that my siblings and I adore pretending that we’re OC-locals who hang out with the Cohens and stroll down the board walk whensoever we may please.

With that said, here’s some photo journalism of my trip:

Sister Corey and me on Turkey day.

The whole family reunion crew. Yes, those are orange fleeces and yes, I have four others in different colors. The good news is there wasn’t a deer in sight.

My Grammy and myself.

Chilli cook-off on Friday night. Because, you know, after the Thanksgiving feast you should continue with the binging momentum and eat masses of chilli.

Cousins are the best.

The “We finished this bottle of tequila in half an hour” picture. I helped a lot.

Other than the above events, my week was essentially filled with family time, a lot of food, and—randomly—a good amount of running. I didn’t have  any set plans on how far/when I would run while in California, but I ended up running nearly 11 miles (sub 8/mile average!) on Thanksgiving and then 8 miles on Friday. Awesome taper strategy, I know.

I got back early on Saturday morning and proceeded to do nothing for the rest of the day except for a quick trip to the Seattle Marathon expo.

Neon neon, everywhere.

It was fine…really nothing too special. I grabbed a few samples, withheld from registering for 44 different races, and headed straight back to my couch. My uber-rest day Saturday was an attempt to undo all of the ill-fated half marathon manoeuvres I’d made that week (too much running, too much tequila, too little sleep). So along with some carbs and Gossip Girl, here’s what my day looked like.

Raging.

But now that I’ve figured out that laziness is actually one of the best things in the world, I loved every minute of it.

I went to bed that night really really unsure of how the Seattle half would go. I was fairly certain it was going to go either really well or really horribly, so my “goals” weren’t exactly concrete. But, that’s a post for tomorrow…:)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are getting as psyched as I am for Christmas!

PS: I literally got a side stitch from eating so much/too fast at Thanksgiving. That’s a new level of gluttony if you ask me, has this ever happened to anyone???

What would you do?

What a difference a week can make.

Last Saturday, I spent the morning running 1/4 mile, failing, and then crying about it while simultaneously trying to swim. Not a pretty picture.

Fast forward to yesterday. After having not one but two spin classes cancelled on me, and after plodding up and down on the stair-stepper for a while…I decided to see how my ankle would hold up on a run.

I was nervous, I had ridiculously low expectations, and I had to mentally prepare myself for the fact that it may be a huge fail.

So after my morning gym session, I went home, changed shoes, grabbed a handful of Cheerios, and drove down to my beloved Alki beach trail. Cautiously and hesitantly—off I went.

The way my “running” has been going for the past two weeks has been like this—a few steps of normalcy, a twinge of pain on both sides of my ankle, followed by my ankle swelling so much I have no range of motion.

But yesterday? Oh, dear sweet yesterday…I was able to run. I’m not saying it was without pain, and I’m not saying it was flawless, but it happened and I finished with a stupid smile on my face and heightened hope for the possibility of the Chicago Marathon actually happening. I finished with a total of 6 miles, and while my ankle definitely felt it—a session of ice and an anti-inflammatories afterwards, I was good to go.

So encouraging…and you better believe I rode out my 6-mile-runner’s-high all day long.

So what now? Admittedly, I still am not 100% sure what to do about Chicago. My doctor gave me the go-ahead to try, and as he said, “The worst thing that can happen is that you won’t finish.” He said that doing the race would more than likely not make my ankle any worse—which I took with a grain of salt, but it was encouraging.

It’s really hard to figure out what to do from this point in terms of taper/testing my running/deciding if I should do the race. I want to continue to rest my ankle as much as I can, of course, but I also need to be sure that going to Chicago is going to be worth it. I certainly don’t want to DNF—but I would also like to know that if it happens, it would be around mile 18 as opposed to mile 7, you know?

So I need some advice…in terms of balancing taper and testing my ability to run…what would you do? My plan is to make the final call next Sunday, so I think I’ll go with my originally scheduled 12 easy miles on Saturday. If I feel like I can do that (and could keep going) I *think* I’ll go for it. 

Ahh this is such a weird/different approach to tapering. I am someone who operates with the mindset of, “You never know until you try,” but I also don’t want to fly all the way to Chicago to run less than half of the race.

We’ll see…but in the meantime, I would love any input you have on the matter!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

Thankfulness and Marathon Goals!

Good afternoon!

I hope you all have had pleasant weeks and are ready for the weekend. This week has seen a lot of ups and downs for me—mostly ups, but there were some dark spots in there, and I’m happy to say I think I’ve managed to scuttle away from them. (But don’t let the Taper Beast hear that, one whiff of calmness and he barges back in full force.) So I’m still treading lightly, paying attention to my actions and reactions, but I’m hoping I’ve exited the Crazy Land of Taper-dom and can continue merrily on my way through Nerve City and Psyched Up Forest. Both of these places, though still filled with a good deal of angst and stomach butterflies, are much more do-able than Crazy Land.

I am nervous, there is no doubt about it. I have to very deliberately and consciously get myself to focus on anything other than race day. My thoughts are consumed by race strategy, fueling, avoiding chafing, and making it through without my knee exploding. My knee is much better than when bursitis struck before, and I am confident that I can race on it, however 26.2 miles is a long way for healthy body parts, so needless to say, I’m wary for my persnickety bursa sack. Lots of stretching, icing, and Aleve-ing before then.

In other news, I SUCK at dress rehearsal runs. Apparently all my pacing abilities (limited to begin with) go completely AWOL when I’m tapering, and the whole “GO SLOW” mantra that everyone preaches so vehemently actually registers as “Go ahead and run 30 seconds faster than your GMP.” Yesterday’s 4 mile run would have looked superb in an official race, let’s just say.

Whoops. Maybe I should get a Garmin after all.

For those of you who don’t know, a dress rehearsal run is exactly like a stage dress rehearsal…you gear up in everything you’ll wear on race day to ensure nothing rubs wrong or fits weird, but mainly I think its psychological benefits are the greatest. This run got me pumped big time, and it felt good to be running in my race day attire. Also, it just felt good to be running.

BUT. The good news about this way-too-fast-taper-fail run was that it showed just how many energy reserves I’m garnering. This whole “resting” thing is actually, physiologically benefiting big time, and despite my better efforts to just rid myself of all this lovely rest yesterday, I’m hoping that this is a good sign for how I’ll feel on race day.

The weather report looks superb for Sunday so far, and now commences the time to start carb-filling and hydrating like a serious person.

Moving on, today is Friday, meaning that Friday Favorites is typically the name of the game. As I’ve done a few times, I’m going to switch Friday Favorites to recollecting some of the things I’m thankful for. This week has been filled with a lot of excitement and charged energy, and although some of it can get overwhelming, ultimately I am unbelievably grateful for it all. Many thanks to Ali for reminding us all weekly to give thanks.

And now…GRATITUDE!

I am thankful for boxes of cookies.

Time between opening package and stuffing face with cookie: .7 seconds.

Last week, my beloved friend Katie—who moved to Missoula last year and I miss TERRIBLY—sent me this glorious package of her chocolate cookies for my birthday. Now, unless you have tried these cookies, you cannot fully begin to appreciate a)how big of a deal it was to receive them and b)how kind it really was for her to send them.

These cookies ARE THE BEST. Katie has some crazy secret recipe that she has worked and reworked and the result are the most chewy, buttery, chocolatey, and I-don’t-care-how-bad-these-are-for-me cookies EVER. I lose all sense of fullness, health, and really general sense of reality when these cookies are around, and they have made up the majority of my diet since they arrived. KT, you are the best.

I am thankful for huge great danes.

WARNING: Creepy female dog photographer, stalking puppies all over West Seattle.

I am kind of afraid of great danes, but I kind of love them too. They are as large as a small pony, and it seems like they have been everywhere recently. BF, who is a big dog fanatic, is obsessed (and may have recently bought a book called Giant George which is about a 245 pound great dane who needs his own size queen bed), and recently I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. I’m not sure about owning one, but I really enjoy seeing great danes taking their owners on walks all over the place.

I am thankful for the ability to go and visit my family.

I really, really love whenever I get to go see my family. We laugh a lot, we play games, we eat, we watch Jeopardy, and we love each other. It’s a great treat to be able to go home, and I’m very thankful that I have the means and the time to be able to jet off to Colorado every so often. My next trip will be for baby boy’s graduation (sorry Scott, you will never shed that nickname), and I can’t wait. If anyone was every ready for college, it’s my brother, and not only can I not wait for him to experience college, but he’ll be going to Seattle U…a mere 10 minutes from me!! Get ready Scott, you probably won’t make any real friends.

“Sorry guys, my sister is taking me somewhere again and I can’t go to the party.”

That’s totally how it’s gonna happen.

I am thankful for people who will touch feet.

I know you are SO GLAD you have now seen my feet. Can you guess which toenail is actually completely black?

That sounded weird. And truth be told, I actually don’t have the foot paranoia that so many claim to have. But, that doesn’t mean I would ever give a stranger—or even someone I know—a pedicure. And I especially would never give myself a pedicure. I’m scared of my own feet, and I go to all the lengths I can to avoid people looking at my feet. Not only do I naturally have Fred Flintstone-width feet and awkwardly shaped pinkie toes, but the damage done to my toenails from running is somewhat horrifying. As I’ve said before, two of my toenails are close to falling off, and just about every other toe has either a blister or a callous. It’s sexy.

Moving on. I never get pedicures, literally ever, except for right before big races. For some reason back when I ran my first half, I decided to randomly get a pedicure during the week before. Since then, I’ve gotten my toes done before every big race—and it’s a tradition I am mighty pleased with. This marathon taper time was no different, and I got to spend an hour getting clipped, rubbed, painted, and all that fun girlie toe stuff. The woman, despite not saying ONE word to me the entire time, did a fantastic job, and she handled my mangled foots without a blink. Oh, and she had to use TWO extra coats on my black toenails. Literally doubled the amount of color on each. But a job well done, and I am thankful for her.

Wow that was a lot of talk about feet.

I am thankful for Nuun, Aleve, my foam roller, and Yoga On Demand.

All of these things are helping to soothe, both mentally and physically, my angst about the race on Sunday. Sure, I know I’ve done the training and I know there really isn’t anything more I can do to get ready. But the fact that I can count on each of these things to help me feel better prepared, rested, hydrated, etc. is keeping my nerves at bay.


I am thankful for the weather report for race day.

cmoooonnnnnnn Sunday!

I realize I just 100% jinxed the crap out of the happy-sunny forecast, but let’s hope for the best still. As you could probably guess, the weather in Seattle is not exactly dependable…and so everyone, not just runners, treat the forecast like a toddler. They watch it like a hawk, they talk about it with anyone and everyone, and they can be equally irritated and giddy over it within an hour time frame. So, needless to say, I’ve been in full-fledged weather-stalking mode, and as of right now it’s looking pretty ideal. I actually have yet to run a long race in sunny weather (isn’t that nuts?) so I’m hoping for a first this time around.

I am thankful for free cake.

complimentary white chocolate mousse cake + candle=happy birthday girl!

I am thankful that no matter what happens on Sunday, there will be a Lakers vs. Nuggets game and pizza afterwards.

I’m sorry….no matter what you think about the Lakers or basketball, this is adorable.

I might completely blow up on Sunday, or I might exceed all my expectations. I really don’t know, a lot can happen over 26.2 miles, and sometimes no matter how much prep work you put in, things don’t pan out right. I’m prepared for this (and in case I do blow up and cry for weeks afterward, remind me that I said this ahead of time). However, I am thankful for pre-planning. Specifically food pre-planning—and one thing is for sure that PR or no PR, there will be ample pizza and beer consumption on Sunday night, as well as a viewing of the Lakers winning Game 4 of the playoffs versus the Nuggets, after which I laugh in BF’s face a friendly basketball game between two teams that BF and I happen to heavily separately favor.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to run a marathon.

I talk a lot about time goals and PR goals and BQing a lot, but when all is said and done—more than anything all I want to do is run. I am so grateful to have the ability to run, and to run 26.2 miles, no matter how fast or slow it might be. After experiencing an injury scare earlier in this training season and reading all about so many bloggers out there that are currently sidelined by injury, my perspective has become a lot more appreciative and humbled.

If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would be running my second marathon on Sunday, I would never have believed you. We all know how that story actually ends, and in two days all the hours and weeks of preparation will come to a 3:xx:xx hour finale. There are some very definite times that I have associated with “I would love to get (this),” “I would be alright getting (this),” and “I guess I’ll be able to live with (this).” However, when all is said and done, Sunday is just another day I get to run…and that, despite any PR or not, is something I am very thankful for.

 

And finally, I am thankful for my readers, my family, and my friends who have and continue to support me through the whole training process:

You all inspire me every day, and you all have provided me with so much strength, encouragement, and guidance in both running and life. The people I surround myself with, including those in the blog world, are so much of the reason I am able to continue running, writing, and believing in myself, and I could not be more thankful for everyone of you.

 

Alright, now that I’ve gotten sappy, let’s end on a bit more of a practical note, shall we?

I have been incredibly allusive and non-disclosing about my time goals for this race. And why? Well, I get scared to say them out loud—because if they don’t happen, well that makes it all the more disappointing knowing that other people know I didn’t live up to my expectations. But, I realized that it’s not fair to share every ounce of my training and race information with you without giving you the dirty time details.

So, if you care to know…here’s my plan for Sunday. There are two pacers I have my eye on. 3:40 and 3:35. If all goes well, I am going to stick near the 3:40 pacer for the first half. If I’m up for it and feeling alright, I’m planning on chasing down the 3:35 pacer after mile 13. We’ll see what happens…perhaps something entirely different…but for now that is my race plan.

I promise I’ll stop typing now…and if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading, and have yourself a glorious weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side of 26.2 miles!!

Tacoma, BRING IT.


 

 

Beware: Taper-Tantrum Diva Ahead

You guys, I really thought I had everything under control…really, I did.

Although I’m not usually a big fan of taper-time (especially the final week), I was feeling pretty good about it. I was happy with my training, I felt ready, and I knew that all that stood between me and a 3:xx:xx finish time (not that’s not cryptic AT ALL) was a week of resting, hydrating, and eating. I had an easy walk/run 5k Girls on the Run practice on Monday, a not-too-fast, not-too-slow 6 miles on Tuesday, and I was feeling calm and collected.

Enter: the terrifying taper gremlins.

Yesterday was not a pretty sight people, and despite my better efforts—the Taper Beast crept up behind me, and pulled the proverbial rug from under my feet—dragging all my rhyme and reason along with it.

I don’t have much reason to begin with, so you can imagine what happens when all sense of logic and rationality is dispelled in one foul swoop.

And just like that, I entered a dark, deep, supremely uncomfortable state of undying restlessness. Every little thing was bothering me, and every single person in my line of sight would have readily run as far as they could in the opposite direction had they been able to hear the unwarranted and over-the-top hate thoughts going in my head. And then I would have been jealous of the fact that they were running and I was not, and then they would be in some real danger.

Essentially, I was/am feeling very overwhelmed…not necessarily by the race (at least not consciously…I’m sure my subconscious is a shit-storm of hallucinations right now), but more so by the things crowding around me. Yesterday I had an incredibly claustrophobic feeling of everything closing in on me, and all I wanted to do was to throw away every piece of technology I own, give away all my money to some war-torn country, and run away to a place void of human contact. I wanted to be completely free of accountability, free of material possessions, and free of the giant knot of thoughts that was pounding against the walls of my brain.

Sound crazy? You bet. Sound like a taper effect? Oh yes. I’m glad that this time I was at least able to recognize that these out-of-the-ordinary, nomad-like thoughts were more than likely the result of nerves, anticipation, and a general overflow of energy. However, the fact that this was a taper-tantrum and not  a stream-of-consciousness epiphany in which I decide to sell all my possessions to children in need did not help me feel any less constrained.

I felt completely out of my skin, as if everything and everyone was closing in around me until I would disappear into the abyss. Unfortunately, the only thing that sounded freeing was running—without a watch, without an iPod, and without an agenda. However, I still had a few morsels of reason left over, despite the Taper Beast’s best efforts, and I knew running wasn’t a good option in the long run. (Pun intended, and by long run I actually mean “in the 3 days you have until running 26.2 miles with a very pointed goal in mind”). So, I did the next best thing.

I went swimming, where silence is unavoidable, but all forms of intrusive technology and people are completely avoidable. Little by little, stroke by stroke, my brain began to crack just enough to leak the poison that had overtaken my better self. Sure, I still had the desire to “accidentally” breast-stroke kick the guy next to me who’s version of sharing a lane means that I got the far left 6 inches while he got the middle, but I refrained.

And by the end, I felt better. Sure, the Beast was still there, but instead of allowing it to drag me all over the place without my consent or compliance, it was more as if I was carrying it piggy-back style. It had transformed from my ruler to my infant—I still had to haul it around with me and tend to its every need, but I was the one that was in control.

After leaving the pool, very gingerly and carefully—wary of the swarms of bad feelings coming back—I readily put on some encouraging, soothing, inspiring music and plotted my marathon playlist. That, with the addition of huge fistfuls of trail mix, calmed the diva yesterday, and so far this morning she has stayed calm. She is fed, she is currently being caffeinated, she is wearing a fuzzy jacket, and today she gets to be taken out for a dress rehearsal run, clad in marathon apparel. Sure, she might have spent a good hour last night Googling every last taper plan available via the internet, in some desperate attempt to tweak her already prescribed and effective schedule, but you know…baby steps.

The good news is once I can control the diva/Beast that gets to hang around these next few days, I manage to think about all the things I would prefer to occupy my mind space—like going to the running store for Body Glide and Energy Gels, updating my iTunes with 8:10 minute mile jams, and planning every last carbohydrate I’ll consume until Saturday night.

Ultimately, I know all these things will get done—and I know that despite all the stress and anxiety, it’s all in the name of kicking the crap out of the race on Sunday. Because if there’s one thing I know will tame my Beast—it’s letting her compete. She’s a ruthless little diva, and there’s nothing she loves more than chasing down strangers and leaving them in her dust.

So, lucky for everyone out there right now, the tantrums are at bay. I’m focusing on doing one task at a time, very carefully, and trying not the check the course map and weather report more than 5 times every half hour.

Also, reading NYT Bestseller Certified Porn Fifty Shades of Grey and listening to “The World’s Greatest” by R. Kelly are both excellent distraction mechanisms.

Yes yes, I know R.Kelly isn’t exactly a dinner-appropriate conversation piece anymore. But that song was one of the Summer Olympics songs many years ago, and I’ll be damned if I can’t listen to it and pretend like I’m prepping to represent the U.S. in front of the whole world to see. A small marathon in Tacoma, WA is essentially the same thing all you haters—DON’T DISAGREE WITH THE DIVA.

I am sure that my eager competitive self will overpower the crazy within a day or so, and I can promise that come race time I will care only about the 26.2 miles of running ahead of me. Writing this has actually helped quite a bit, and presuming there are still a few of you left reading that haven’t run for their lives away from the cyber space occupied by a Crazy Lady, I appreciate your attention to my freaking out. Knowing that there are people out there who get it helps tremendously, and any thoughts you have regarding easing taper anxiety and crazy anti-materialism and anti-society thoughts would be more than welcomed.

So tell me: What is the craziest taper-experience/freak out you’ve had? How did you tame the Beast? Do you think it’s even possible to try and have a “happy taper?” And perhaps most importantly, what do you feed your diva?