Let the Taper Begin

As I commented on Facebook today – I ran 35 miles in 48 hours this weekend. I am ready for taper. This morning I ran 20 miles and finished just about 48 hours to the minute from when I started my 10 mile run on Friday. My run this morning went well. As usual, the first mile took sometime to get into the rhythm of the run. It was a beautiful day. The sun beat down. I had my iPod on. I was runnin’. (when Tom Petty came on singing Runnin’ Down A Dream I thought the lyrics were perfect for today!) The day started out on the cooler side with the temperature in the low 30’s. By the time I finished it was closer to 45 degrees. Great for a long run.

As I ran, I was quite pleased with my pace and heart rate. I wanted to target 12:00 to 12:30 pace for my easy run, but also let my heart rate guide me. There were several stretches in the first 11 miles when I would be running 11:30 pace or better. My average heart rate for the entire run was 137, right in zone two. Considering I had run 15 miles between Friday afternoon and yesterday morning, my legs felt strong. Well at least for the first 14 miles. The last six miles were a push. Partly from monotony and partly from fatigue. Long runs like this are good to train my body for the race, but my mind knows better. This will be my seventh marathon and the race has a different vibe that a training run just can not provide. The crowd is not there to cheer (and hold up creative signs – click link to see), other runners are not sharing your pain and excitement, and there is not a finisher’s medal waiting for me at the finish. I did however like my self talk through the last six miles. Rather than convince myself to walk more, I said “push through, the fatigue is not that bad, you can run faster and get this over.” And I did.

Now I begin my taper for the race. I enter into this period with the satisfaction that I have put in the miles. The next two weeks I will still be running, just a bit shorter distances. My focus will also be on proper sleep, nutrition, hydration, stress relief (that will be a fun challenge…) and taking it easier on my cross training activities. All of the variables I am responsible for, I have done and continue to work on. The rest is out of my control. (Step one to stress relief, relinquish control of that I can not control…) I am excited. I am anxious. I am nervous. But I look forward to the experience almost as much as Christmas.  Enjoying each day that leads up to it and the day itself is what I continue to remind myself. Believe and Enjoy – for time passes so quickly.

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