The Taper

The Taper

The wait is on.

Counting down the days.

Anxiously thinking, planning, and thinking again.

Barely running – a 3 mile run here, a 4 mile run there.

Nothing too challenging.

No watch to calculate pace.

Checking the weather forecast hourly.

Reviewing race information.

Stalking previous race results.

Talking strategy.

Making a plan.

Carbo-loading.

Checking and re-checking gear.

Waking up thinking about the race.

Falling asleep thinking about the race.

It takes over you like the humidity on a hot summer run.

Anxiety, excitement, nerves, and anticipation.

It’s the taper.

It’s the days leading up to race day that get your heart beating fast,

your mind swerving in every direction,

and your body tense with the thought of finally starting the race you’ve trained for for the past 5 months.

It’s almost race day.

Thoughts during a 16 mile training run:

Thoughts during a 16 mile training run:

Yesterday I had my longest marathon training run since starting training way back in September.  I had a 12-15 mile run scheduled for the day but I ended up over-estimating my figure-8ish loop so it ended up being 16 miles instead.   And I don’t regret that extra mile whatsoever.  I also told myself when I first started running that I would only look at my watch every 3 miles.  This actually was the best idea I had for this long run because I ended up running by feel of the run rather than pace.  And it went by sooooo much faster because I just focused on waiting for every 3rd beep to look at my watch.  Let me share some thoughts I can remember during this run:

mile 1 (9:21) – since I somehow lost my gloves somewhere between leaving my apartment and driving to my starting point, I started my run with freezing cold hands due to the fact that it was about 35 degrees out when I started.  All I kept thinking is “ohmygosh I can’t feel my hands…this is going to a horrible run because my hands are going to go numb”.

mile 2 (8:43) – “ok, try covering your hands with your sleeves……nope that’s not working….I still can’t feel my fingers”

mile 3 (1st time I looked at my watch – 8:30) – “hey, look other runners! At least I’m not the only crazy one out here”…and “hmmm 8:30 mile split….maybe I should slow down…after all, I have like 12 miles to go”

mile 4 (8:15) – “I’m running through the empty fairgrounds parking lot woohoooo!  Oh look they’re having a dog show….that’s cool…I miss Hope and Gwin”

mile 5 (8:23) – “don’t get hit by a car….you’re almost to the trail and then you won’t have any cars to worry about for a very long time”

mile 6 (2nd time looking at my watch – 8:23) – “hey look more runners!…I wonder how long they’ve been running…I wonder what they’re training for!….and hmmm still maintaining a solid pace….I feel great!”

mile 7 (8:30) – “I can’t believe I’m already at mile 7…it feels like its only been like 30 minutes!…this is great!”

mile 8 (8:35) – “ok, time to make some calculations….I’m now just 4 miles from my car, but I need to run out farther so I can get back to my car at 15 miles….so I’ll run to 10 miles then turn around….no, 10.5 miles….no wait, 11 miles then I’ll turn around…no, because then I’ll be at 16 miles….just turn around at 10..that’s an easy number to remember.”

mile 9 (3rd time I looked at my watch – 8:50) – “ok, that was a slower mile…there was a big hill….but on my way back I get to run down that hill…just focus on getting to 10 miles then you can turn around….stay focused”

mile 9.5 – “ok, run faster because those dogs just started running toward you…I hope they go inside when I have to come back past their house…or I’ll just pepperspray them with my pepperspray…but then their owners might track me down and yell at me for pepperspraying their dogs…I don’t want to be mean to the dogs….don’t worry about it now…keep running”

mile 10 (8:26) – “you can turn around now….this is where you tripped on the sidewalk last week….focus on your feet…look at the sidewalk…don’t fall….be in control of your legs”

mile 11 (8:46) – “the fire station alarms are going off…I hope there’s not a bad fire…what if the firetrucks come down this road?…I hope they don’t run me over….you’re almost to an awesome downhill…just get up this gradual hill”

mile 12 (4th time I checked my watch – 8:13) – “THIS IS GREAT!!!!  THE TREES LOOK SO PRETTY….THE VIEW AT THE TOP IS ALWAYS WORTH THE CLIMB…WOW I LOVE RUNNING….THIS IS A GREAT RUN….I LOVE LIIIIIIIFE!!!”

mile 13 (8:34) – “ok, back on the trail….don’t trip on any rocks or roots or all these leaves…pick up your feet….oh, I can actually feel my hands now…they’re not cold now….go figure.”

mile 14 (8:30) – “a guy with a dog….I need to make sure he hears me coming up behind him so he can control his dog…*cough*…ok, he knows I’m here now….”

mile 15 (5th time checking my watch – 8:29) – “wow, this is gonna be a great average pace for this run….I need to avoid going up that hill…the only way to avoid it is to extend the run….oh well, what’s an extra mile at this point….just gotta cross this road….why are there so many cars right now?…my legs are not gonna wanna move when I have to run across the road”

mile 16 (8:34) – “ok, finish strong….conquer these gradual hills…don’t trip on the sidewalk now…I probably look like a crazy person right now….that old couple is probably amused with the music coming from my iPod….almost done…just wait for the beep telling you to stop”

and then my watch beeped and I stopped running….2 hours 17 minutes later…..average pace: 8:34.

I LOVE LONG RUNS ❤

Highest Weekly Mileage of 2015!

Highest Weekly Mileage of 2015!

Due to the fact that last week I ran my highest total weekly mileage of 2015, I decided it deserved a blog post! It was an especially special week because this past Wednesday was National Running Day!  I think I celebrated all week though and my mileage showed it!  😀

weekly goalsMy Believe journal (which is, by the way, the best running journal you could ever invest in), held me accountable for my weekly goals.  I was able to run more than 40 miles.  I went hiking this weekend.  And my dad and I tried dehydrated food for the first time to prepare for our hiking trip.

So here’s how the week went:

Monday – 3 miles fast.  My dad and I had to race a thunderstorm – this is a common occurrence for us in the summer.  We were almost 1.5 miles away from home when we heard a (way too close) boom of thunder.

Tuesday – double day!  3 miles with my friend John who was just coming off his 2 weeks of recovery.  Then just a mere 4 hours later I ran another 6.3 miles with my Dad and our ultrarunning friend and it felt easy!  I was very excited that my first double of 2015 seemed easy!

Wednesday – (AKA NATIONAL RUNNING DAY! – make sure you read my blog post about this wonderful day worth celebrating!)….I ran a mile with my mom, another 2 miles with my dad, and then 4 more miles by myself (total of 7 miles).  I decided to change the pace after mile 5 so I picked it up and my 6th mile ended up being a 7:26….it seemed like an appropriate way to celebrate National Running Day!

Thursday – this was my night run of the week which I also blogged about (check it out here!)  My dad and I ran 4 miles with our headlights on and lightning bugs lighting up the trail.

Friday – another double!  I ran 3 miles in the morning with my dog, Gwin.  And then ran another 5.4 miles with my dad later in the day.  I was feeling a little tired but I knew that I would give myself an easy Saturday to adequately recover.

Saturday – I hiked 4 miles in the morning with my mom, dad, and 2 dogs at a state park in DE with loaded backpacks (mine weighed in at 18 lbs) so that my dad and I can get used to wearing a big pack for our hiking trip in July.  Then in the afternoon I ran an easy (and slow) 3 miles.  I was feeling tired.

Sunday – LONG RUN DAY!!!!  (my all time favorite day for training runs as described in yet another previous blog post)…somewhat last minute long run plans with Angela (aka TheRoadLessRun)…we ran 11 miles and averaged 7:52 pace.  Mile 7 was the fastest (at a 7:41 mile split) due to getting a tad bit carried away with our conversation topic.  We’ve decided this is a common issue because whenever we start ranting about something the pace picks up…oops.  Long runs with friends are always so much more enjoyable and more effective for training purposes than if you do them alone – so next time you do a long run, find a buddy!

Total miles = 45.4.  It was a GREAT week of training spent with numerous different runners of all speeds, styles, and goals. But that’s what makes running amazing – no matter how fast or slow, long or short, runners who train together understand each other, and everyone can make one another the best possible runners they can be!

total mileage

For the Love of Long Runs:

For the Love of Long Runs:

Long Runs:

They build strength in your muscles to outlast pain.

They build strength in your heart to endure long durations of stress.

They make you feel stronger than you’ve ever had before.

But they’ll give you more than just physical strength.

They give you a mental boost.

Going on long runs with friends give you over an hour of uninterrupted time together.

No cell phones, just miles.  And miles.

So you start talking.

Sometimes talks transform to rants.

(And your pace may get unintentionally faster)

Sometimes rants transform to your life concerns and worries.

But in those miles you have someone to talk to,

someone to confide in.

Someone that will tell you what you need to hear.

And before you know it, the long run is over.

Your legs feel tired.

You’re ready to chug some Gatorade.

But you’re happy.

You’re stronger.

And you’re grateful for a running buddy.

And that’s what makes you come back for another long run.

Another 10, 11 or 12 miles.

It doesn’t seem so long when you know that the miles that lie ahead of you are full of life, talking, and friendship.