The Weekly Mile: Week 24 (7 in 7 & Happy Taper!)
Monday, September 24, 2012
The first week of the taper has already passed and I have officially completed SEVEN half marathons in 7 weeks (and then some). On Saturday I finished my last "long run" of 14 miles before the marathon, the longest distance left to run before 26.2 is 8 miles this weekend. I've got this in the bag!
It's amazing that I can look at 8 miles now and think - "Eh, no big deal". What a change has come over me - the person who saw exercise as equivalent to having teeth pulled only a couple of years ago when I weighed over 300 pounds.
I will admit, even though I'm supposed to be tapering right now, this week's runs weren't easy. This week felt more like a step back than a serious cut in mileage - 14 miles is still over a half marathon distance and I've been TIRED lately. I think my body is just beaten down as far as I can beat it and I'm actually really grateful for this taper - I need it for my spirit as much as to repair my aching muscles. I haven't officially settled into any kind of taper madness yet. Running less actually feels more like a reward at this point than a stress and I'm looking very forward to a more relaxed week of shorter runs.
What I have developed though is a mad case of the butterflies every time I actually think about what is going to go down in only two short weeks. I have started my pre-race prep having received my official "runner's ticket" in the mail via the marathon brochure. I've been assembling my team of supporters, making maps, deciding where I'm going to need to see people, planning out my break/fuel stations, and determining just what I'm going to wear on race day. This last piece is the most stressful at this point. I don't know what the weather is going to bring, so I have both hot and cold wear picked out. But I want to be visible in the crowd, and a recent shopping trip only managed to yield me a number of pieces that are annoying the crap out of me on runs - shirts that ride up, pants that bunch at the knees - and the combinations that I like the most seem to maim me every time I wear them (I have more scars from this weekend). Plus, I'm a girl, and while I should not be giving two hoots about looking cute while running 26.2 miles, there are going to be 50,000 runners there and double that in spectators. I WANNA LOOK CUTE!
I've also been trying to estimate my times through certain mileage check-points for my family so they can keep track of me during the run, and am finding that this too is a difficult task given my most recent actual running times. I can no longer run a 12 min mile. Anything slower than 11:30 feels like I'm walking when I first start running, and I'm finding that most of my mileage is being run between a 10:45-11:45 mile. Even when I'm nearing the end of a long run and am exhausted, my times are closer to 11:45, even though my marathon goal is a solid 12 min mile throughout. I'm nervous about starting too fast. And I know there is NO way that I'm not going to slow WAY down at the end. My goal is simply to finish, and any chance at a negative split, or a steady mile pace through the whole event is pretty much a pipe dream for me. So trying to figure out when I'm going to cross certain mileage markers is really tough! My estimate for the 15K marker was confirmed this weekend on my long run at a solid 1h48min. But then my Half Marathon guess of 2h36min I beat by an entire 3 minutes this weekend - finishing 13.1 miles in 2:33! Add nerves and crowd energy to that and I might just shave another 3 minutes off. Who knows? I know that it will all shake out differently on the day, regardless of my plan, so my cheer team are just going to have to be at their check points early to make sure they don't miss me!
I'm going to try to keep to my calorie limits this week so as not to bulk up too much before the big day. My weight has come down again, and I'd like to keep it that way. It does make running so much easier (even though it's only about 3-4 pounds). And I've really only got 2 more weeks of eating at this level anyway before I'm going to try to cut back totally again and lose some more pounds.
But for now I am still focusing on my incredible achievements to this point. Running SEVEN Half Marathons in 7 weeks is unbelievable to me. I've done it. And even though I'm tired and need some good rest before the big day, I'm still feeling confident and excited and ready to do this thing that I've been training so hard for. Only one more blog until the official race report. My how 25 weeks has FLOWN by!
Next week I'll outline my full race plan in prep for October 7th. And if you're so inclined, I do believe that you can follow me in the race online at the Bank of America Marathon website. More details to follow. Until then...the taper continues!
Week 24 Schedule (Completed):
Mon - Rest
Tue - Rest
Wed - 8 miles
Thu - 5 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - 14 miles
Sun - Rest
Total Weekly Miles: 27
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 3654
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: 184
Week 25 Schedule:
Mon - 4 miles
Tue - 6 miles
Wed - Massage Therapy & Swim
Thu - Rest
Fri - 3 miles
Sat - 8 miles
Sun - Rest