The last three weeks of training have flown by! I can’t believe I’m tapering this week! After an awesome 10 mile run, and then all the excitement and inspiration the Boston Marathon provided me with today, I am PUMPED for my 7th half marathon this weekend.
(Source) Seriously, how can this not inspire and make you proud to be an American and a runner?
Last week’s training was awesome! I felt like everything was clicking and I was peaking at just the right time. I had a KILLER run Tuesday which accidentally turned into an unintended speed workout. It being the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, I decided to dedicate my run to those who did not survive, those who did and all those who would be running the race on April 21 (today). Even though I completely fell apart on mile 3, I did not quit and cranked out my fastest mile in almost two years!
After such an epic run on Tuesday, I was hoping Thursday’s 5 mile run would be just as great. It wasn’t by any means, but I still logged 5 miles, about 1 min/mile slower than Tuesday. I wasn’t going to let that discourage me and affect my final long run on Saturday.
I went to Indiana over Easter weekend to visit family, so my final long run would be done in my hometown. Fort Wayne did not have much in the way of bike paths/towpath/multipurpose trails while growing up there. But in the past 7 years since I’ve lived here, they’ve really stepped up their game and built an amazing series of multi-purpose trails that connect all over the city. After asking a girl I met in college who I knew was a runner for advice on the best place to run 5 miles out and back, she immediately recommended the towpath trail. Luckily it was within 10 minute drive from my dad’s house. I scoped out the trail online prior to leaving for Indiana and mapped out in my head where I would have to park and how far out on the trail I’d have to run out before turning around. The only thing that made me nervous was that there was not a bathroom or water fountain between the two points I was running. The lack of bathroom didn’t concern me as much as not having a water stop on the path. I only carry one hand held bottle with me that carries about 12 oz. of water. I would just have to conserve my water to stretch out over the entire 10 miles.
I got up Saturday morning at 6am, before the sun was up. I left my dads house and it was slowly starting to get light. As I took off at a few minutes before 7 am, it was COLD! I anticipated that 40 degrees to start so I just packed a tshirt and capris. Although it was 40 degrees at 7am, the real feel temperature was 30. Yeah, a light long-sleeve tee would have been nice, especially since I had a chilly headwind out the first 5 miles. I started on the trail that winds through the hospital campus and then crosses over a busy road (well actually highway) and then goes down behind medical buildings and assisted living homes and on the other side is a nature preserve. I was able to watch the sun rise after my watch beeped for mile 1–10:42. Eeep! Way too fast for this long run. I had to tell myself to slow down.
After I crossed another busy road (thankful for stop lights and pedestrian crossing), I ran along a short boardwalk over the North Eagle Marsh and saw this beautiful sight! I had to stop and take a picture (sometimes in life things are so amazing you have to capture it so you can remember it later :)).
The trail was so nice! I everything was marked well, especially every time I had to cross a road! There wasn’t a ton to look at since it went through marsh land, but it was peacefully and I felt AWESOME! I passed a group of ladies running a little past mile 4. I was quite surprised I didn’t come across more runners that early since I’m so used to it here in NEO, but my guess was that part of the towpath wasn’t as busy with runners early like other trails may be. After I hit the 5 mile turnaround point (which is about where I thought it would be), I stopped to stretch briefly and took a small suck on my Gu pouch. Even though it was my preferred flavor (peanut butter) I had a hard time choking it down. Luckily I had put a few Starburst jelly beans in my Spi Belt to use as fuel so I could use those a few miles later. Around mile 7, my knees were starting to ache but I was focused to keep going and keep my walk breaks to a minimum. I’ve learned the more I walk, the more my knees hurt when I go to run again. My pace was about where I wanted it to be between 11-11:30. I had one really slow mile, but I couldn’t get mad at myself because I felt AMAZING while running. The last two miles were the toughest, but I kept the positive thoughts going in my head and out loud to push me through. After completing 10 miles 5 minutes before 9:00 a.m., I was on cloud nine! The runner’s high I got from my final long run was unlike any I’ve gotten before while training for a big race.
The past three weeks, I have made some changes to my lifestyle that have made some significant difference to my training. (Keep a look out for a separate blog post about that ;-))
I have such a good feeling about Sunday and can’t wait to run in the Glass City!
Week 11 by the numbers:
Monday: 60 minute bootcamp
Tuesday: 5 mile run (inside–stupid snow and cold)
Wednesday: 60 minute bootcamp
Thursday: 5 mile run (outside)
Friday: rest/neighborhood walk
Saturday: 10 mile long run/2 dog walks
The week leading up to the race is always challenging for me. I want to remain active and stick to routine, but I know my body needs to rest, recover and prepare for Sunday. Its also the time where you’re short taper runs begin to mess with your head and crazy weird pains spring up everywhere. I just need to remind myself I’ve done everything I can to prepare myself for this race, trust my training and don’t freak out.
Do you get anxious during the week leading up to a big race during taper time? How do you deal with it?