The Taper Game

On Saturday the crew and I worked our way up the coast a bit to visit some family and attended “opening day” for a local yacht club – no not our typical Saturday of basketball, soccer, and sweat.  After a loooooong (especially if you’re 6 & 8) ceremony, they handed out sparkling cider & champagne for a toast.

For 10 minutes, the boys remained tortured holding their glasses of sparkling cider, but unable to drink the liquid goodness.  I turned around and saw this:

IMG_3115Watching every bubble float, smelling the sweet nectar…but ah ah ah – no taste.

Getting to taper for a marathon is kind of like that.  Months of feeling the sweat, tasting the electrolytes, feeling the pound of the pavement over and over and over…and well, you get it…but no real sense of what the 26.2 is going to look like.

You finish your training on tired legs and just wait for your body to get rest, restore and prepare for the 26.2 miles that lies ahead.

The close of my training wasn’t pretty.  

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Why yes, my son did take a nice crotch shot of my icing my groin.  I may have forgotten the ice was there and was doing my “best dramatic post-long run pose”.

Actually none of this training cycle was pretty.  At best, it was improvisational marathon training – at worst, it was a bunch of haphazard long-runs tossed in with a slightly more than average mileage sandwiched between a ridiculously busy winter schedule.  Work,  doctor’s appointments, school events, practices for this, that and the other, orthodontist appointments, soccer games, family priorities and sickness of every sort imaginable kind of dominated the training and I just did what I could, when I could do it.

And it ended with a 20-miler that went down in a ball of fury leaving a trail of self-doubt, regret and frustration about what’s going to happen in 3 weeks.  Grrrr.

Of course, I started out my final (and sadly first) 20-miler all ready to kill it.  I was mentally set to run 4 perfectly timed 5 mile blocks and while I got through 15 of them in spectacular fashion – the fatigue of not enough cutback weeks and sleep deprivation set in and miles 15-20 were about as spectacular as a bad Lifetime movie, which is to say, it was so bad that you could hardly look away.

Taste, but no real picture of what it’s going to look like.  I sure just hope it’s better than the final chapter of the training.

What’s your best taper story?

How do you stay mentally tough after a really bad final workout?

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True Confession Thursday: Whatever It Takes

Last week I had Dr. Scott check out my IT band as it’s been really tight on long runs and I’m scared paranoid petrified cautious about injuries this close to Boston.  Dr. Scott suggested to have someone video tape me running, which is, you know, super easy when you’re on the trails running solo.  Anyway, I finally suckered some random guy walking his dog to video tape me running for 20 seconds.  #whateverittakes  I’m really happy he didn’t run away with my phone.

Yep, Tinkerbell shirt and hat on backwards (it was hot) - "13 year old boy, meets 13 year old girl" fashion.

Yep, Tinkerbell shirt and hat on backwards (it was hot) – “13 year old boy, meets 13 year old girl” fashion.

Later that evening I got home and the boys were naturally asking (aka, read: complaining) about what I was cooking for dinner.  Chicken piccata, risotto and steamed asparagus.  They really have such a tough life.

Chocolate:  Mom, aspawagus is awesome.
Me:  Because it tastes good?
Chocolate:  No
Me:  Because it’s good for you?
Chocolate:  [getting annoyed} No
Me:  Why then?
Chocolate:  Because it’s the only vegetable that makes your pee smell weally bad.  I’m going to eat a WOT of it.

#whateverittakes

It’s also been super foggy here in the mornings in SoCal (I know, we have it really rough) so I’ve been opting to wear my neon shirts on TOP of my jacket – yes jacket and it’s 50 degrees, I’m a SoCal weenie.  Unfortunately this is messing with my running ninja look (the all black I typically sport), but I do have some visibility and I get home from my run in 1 piece instead of bent over the hood of a car.  I know, I might be starting a ridiculous fashion trend.  #whateverittakes

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The other day #runger struck me something fierce and hard and I found myself pounding scrambled eggs, toast, and a spinach salad mid-day.  Unfortunately I had to run 1.5 hours later.  Not my favorite 6.5  miles, but it was the only chance I had to run. #whateverittakes #heytherelunchnicetoseeyouagain

I crashed the Road Runner Sports Girls Night Out by showing up with two wild & crazy guys.  (Desperate times, the only time I could squeeze in a much needed purchase) #whateverittakes

Wild and Crazy guysWait…not those wild & crazy guys….THESE wild & crazy guys

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How have you done whatever it takes this week?

Elusive 20

Friday – 6 miles hill repeats
Saturday – 19 miles running, 2 miles walking
Say What? Strides

It’s now T-4 weeks until Bean Town.  And honestly, I was (am?) feeling woefully unprepared.

In an ideal training world, I would have at least four 18-20 milers under my belt by this point in time.

On Saturday, what did I have?  Oh yeah, that’d be a nice, round…err…ZERO

I set out for my long run this weekend hell bent on finally getting in an 18+ mile run.  I haven’t hit any of them and thanks to mother nature, illness and poor planning, each of my 13+ mile runs have sucked.

And the 15-17 mile runs I’ve had have ended with my legs acting like Vanilla does when we go out to dinner:

Fatigue, party of 2.

Fatigue and crabbiness, party of 2.

SUPER encouraging.  SUPER.

This weekend’s goal was 20-22.  I only got 19 in because my IT band was pissed off and led to general misery.  Minus the pain – I felt great.  Wait, what?!?!

Honestly, minus the pain I felt I could have easily gone another 3-4 miles.

Huzzah?  Who’s legs are these?

I’ve got one week left to get another longer run in and I’m waiting to see how my IT band is to decide what to do.  Honestly, my whole goal for Boston has been to go healthy.  I don’t want to come this far to blow up now.  The name of the game this training schedule has been improvisational training, so why quit now?

Where’s your fatigue wall these days?
Lately it’s been around the 11 mile mark and I just have to push through.  For some reason 5-6 has been ugly too.

What races is next on your list?  Tell me about your training and goals!  I need some final motivation!

You Know…

You’re in peak marathon training when…

You complain that you “only ran 17 miles”.  Since the average American DRIVING commute is 16 miles and they complain about it regularly, be sure to keep your friends and not continually complain about missing the last 2-3 miles in your run.  On the other hand, when your significant other complains of being tired, you should most heartily throw the “really, well I ran XX miles today” card.  (I never said this was a blog about relational advice).

Your calendar is not seen as hours, but in blocks of “how many miles can I run”

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You coordinate your wardrobe to hide your compression socks.  While JT tried to bring sexy back, I don’t think he meant neon knee high socks.  Bummer

You can’t get your skinny jeans over your calves. #runnerproblems

You get your non-skinny jeans over your calves, but you cannot get them over your hips.

If you get non-skinny jeans over your calves and your hips, they will not stay zipped.   Congrats, you’ve embraced your inner Beyonce and took marathon training to a bootylicious level.

You find this next to your bed for 3am runger strikes.  Because most people keep a glass of water next to their bed…but not I.  I find myself with a box of crackers for those wee morning insatiable carb cravings.

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TJ’s cracker love

You show up to a dinner party wearing your compression socks.  I so wish I were kidding.  After a heat ravaged 17-miler I showed up to a dinner party, chugged water and put my feet up on the hosts couch.  #classypants

IMG_2581Your family starts counting down the days until the race.  No, it’s not that they’re that excited, they’re mostly just antsy to go out to dinner and not have you make your dinner selection based on how long your run is the next day.  They are also bracing themselves for the 2-3 weeks of taper tantrums they know are coming – days filled with doubt, frustration, and running withdrawals.

How do you know you’re in peak training?

Best Laid Plans

A few 5 milers
Some Spins on the Bike
Frozen Solid Strides

I’m still hanging in Chi-town.  And let’s just say nothing is exactly going as planned.

A fun-filled healthy week.

Flu – party of two.  Pneumonia – party of one.

IMG_3800Goodbye high mileage runs.  Hello handful of 5 mile runs in the wicked cold (a slight nod to  Boston there…).

In addition, my sister and I tried to go out for her belated 30th birthday dinner.  My niece selected my jewelry…don’t you love it?

IMG_2741World’s best She She necklace.  Sadly, the world’s worst Mexican food.  Luckily the meal ended with a candid conversations with the owner and we left hungry, bill free, and wielding free tequila.  Still not sure how it happened, but it sure was fun.

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Dirty 30 be darned…we shall not feast, but we shall celebrate!

There were a lot of disrupted plans.  In fact, this week I’ve spent a significant amount of time trying to decide if I should continue forging ahead with full marathon plans in 5 weeks.  I’m nowhere near ready…mentally, physically, or enduranceally (my new word!).  Those mental conversations with myself have left me frustrated, flustered and flummoxed.

So instead, I’ve looked at the last week’s events and trying to remember that sometimes, it’s not the end of the world when things don’t go according to plan.  My race schedule will work itself out, I won’t totally bomb Boston if I don’t get a marathon in before then, and sometimes life gives you limes and you get free tequila.

What best laid plans have been disrupted for you lately?
What’s your favorite naughty beverage?

A Not So Sweaty Christmas

In my brilliant planning I didn’t realize that peak week training would hit right at Christmas.

#fail

Despite the busyness , I still had grand plans to squeeze in my 22 miler last weekend.

Then this happened.

KleenexAnd then this happened.

Thank you $2 corkage fee and heavy French meal for destroying my 22 miler

Thank you $2 corkage fee and heavy French meal for destroying my 22 miler

And eventually I eeked out 7.5 very slow miles…which probably did nothing for conditioning and simply served to clear my sinuses temporarily.  Then I didn’t run for 5 days.

Instead, I spent my time flying across the country to see my family in the frozen tundra Chicago.

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Some of you ate nice breakfasts at home for Christmas morning. We managed tacos on the plane for brunch. How LA chic.

And while there was a little of this

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And definitely some of this

IMG_2713There was very little use for any of this in my stocking…

IMG_2702So as the fevers and coughs seem to be dissipating and my body is acclimating to the frigid air…perhaps I’ll dust off the old running shoes and get back on marathon track.

How was your holiday?
Did you get coal in your stocking?