Oct 29

Richmond Week 18: Or, Taper Week 1

The number 17 painted in yellow against a blue and white background

Here I was thinking that this was week 17, and I’ve thought that all week long. But it’s actually been week 18. Counting has never been my strong suit . . .

We’ll start off the recap with something that I’m excited about: as of today, 28 October 2017, I’ve run the year (In layman’s terms, that means I’ve run 2017 miles in 2017). Technically, I have run OVER the year, having hit 2025 this morning! I’ve been trying to run the year for the last three years, but I’ve always come up short due to injuries, sometimes it’s been a little bit short, sometimes not so little. It hasn’t been my primary goal, just something that I thought would be cool (or what passes for cool when you’re a big nerd like I am), but to have hit the mark in late October feels pretty good, particularly because it snuck up on me this time around. I hadn’t been looking at that part of my Strava profile. I will be cutting way back over the next month or two, first to taper and then to recover from the marathon. My coach assigns me a full two weeks of rest after running a marathon, and then I will make my way back slowly. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t rush things after Richmond simply to hit a specific number–injury just isn’t worth it–and now it’s all house money!

This week was a slightly lighter week in training, and thanks to the magical taper, the next two weeks will be even lighter still. I had TWO days off instead of the usual Wednesday only, and most of my runs were a little shorter to boot.

Monday morning was (supposed to be) booked solid with a work commitment from 8:30-11, and then a bunch of other things, so I was up early and running in the dark, which I haven’t done very often this year. I don’t mind running in the dark, actually, especially since I have some sweet reflective gear to wear, but I could have used a bit more sleep. Especially since the work commitment ended up being a lot less hectic than I had anticipated (thank you, rainy day).

Instead of 12x 400, this week, I only had 8x 400. That felt weird; it felt weird in a good way, but weird nevertheless.

The only “normal” workout I had this week was Thursday’s tempo run. I felt good, so I threw in some hills by looping around Duncan Park instead of staying on the Mary Black Rail Trail. It was a bit more challenging, but a little spicy is just how I like it.

After Friday off, my teammate Jenny and I went to Greenville really early on Saturday morning (where “really early” means leaving at 7am) to run an easy 5 miles before cheering for our teammates who were running the Spinx RunFest 10K and 13.1. Our easy 5 mile loop got a bit less easy because we got a little bit lost and because we were trying to make sure that we got to our cheer spot in time so we didn’t miss anyone! We made it and cowbelled up a storm for about an hour until our final teammate came cruising through on her way to a shiny new Personal Best! Then we went to our favorite Biscuit Head for brunch. The weather was a bit dreary and it even drizzled a bit, but that’s actually great race weather–so much better than last year when it was hot and sunny!

Today was my last long run until Richmond. I have one more 12 mile workout this week (the same tempo run as this past Thursday), but this week was 44 total miles, next week will be 34, and then it’s 19 leading up to race day. What that means is that I’ll probably have the proverbial ants in the pants next week as the big day approaches. I’m trying to stay on an even keel, but I’ve been working towards this goal for a very long time and taper madness is real thing.

Now I’m trying to get my house in order, mentally speaking. I know that the biggest challenge I will face on race day is a psychological one. I’ve started to make my packing lists and started to set aside things I want to pack. I’ve been breaking in my dancing shoes. I just bought my Maclin pacing spreadsheet. If you are a marathon runner and you don’t know Greg Maclin’s spreadsheets, check them out. I can’t remember who turned me on to him back in the Big Sur days, but they’re fantastic. You can specify even pace or even effort, positive, neutral, or negative split, and more. It takes the guess work out of pacing and planning, and you can print out wrist bands or pace cards to carry with you during the race.

So yeah, I’m starting to get a little antsy. But hey–2025! Accumulated over 10 months in 4 countries (the US, Cuba, Canada, and the Netherlands), in several cities: Spartanburg, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Havana, Phoenix, Columbia, Hilton Head, Charleston, Asheville, Victoria, Ocean City, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Amsterdam, Williamsport, and Myrtle Beach. Only 10 of these miles were treadmill miles. Some of them were run in the rain. A few in the snow. Many, many of them were run in ridiculous humidity and very warm temperatures. And just today (Sunday), it was cold enough that I wore gloves (with shorts and a tee-shirt, but still–gloves!)

 

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Leo Reynolds]

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