Wednesday, February 12, 2014

11 Days and Counting...

Yes, I know it's been a month since I last posted on this blog, bet you thought I disappeared didn't you?!  Marathon training can take up so much time and energy that in the last hour or two after work is finish and everything is done around the house- all I want to do is sit down and watch mindless t.v.!  But as the tapering begins I am trying to be more active in other areas as I'm running much less than I have been over the past two months!

We are officially 11 days away from the Donna Breast Cancer Marathon on February 23, 2014!  I am at that point in my training where I begin to ‘taper’ for the next week and a half.  I did a second 20 miler this past Sunday evening (I’m still loving the weekend sunset runs! I’m going to miss them when summer returns to Florida in a couple of months and I have to race out before 7am to get in a less humid run!).  It definitely did not go as well as my first 20 miler 2 weeks before but since the first was completed in 2:51:50 (an average pace of 8:35) I guess I can’t be too disappointed!  I was still able to finish this last training run in 2:56:22 for an average pace of 8:49 which certainly beats last year’s single 20 miler at a pace of 8:59 and a total time of 3:00:03!  10 seconds faster per mile- I’ll take it!

As any runner would be I’m of course hoping for a PR…my official finish time last year was 3:49:37 so anywhere between 3:35 and 3:48 would work for me!  That means I’m looking for an average pace of 8:40 to complete the race in 3:47.  

Although my long run times this go round would suggest I’m on track for a PR I’m nervous about the outcome as I think anyone would be!  I remember the way I felt as I crossed the finish line last year- a very heavy chest and I felt very short of breath.   I chalked it up to the fast pace at which I ran for so many miles…well if I’m looking for a PR this year that means running even faster.  I’m hoping that my extra 20 mile run and the overall faster pace I ran prepared my body to kick it up a notch without feeling any worse (or even as bad as I felt at the end of last year’s race!) however the feeling after this week’s 20 miler would suggest differently.  I felt *horrible* this past Sunday when I got home.  I stretched and grabbed a glass of water with my GU Electrolyte tabs and headed straight for the couch.  I felt super nauseous and completely drained; my left knee was also recovering from a weak moment at mile 18.  I sipped on my electrolyte filled water and ate some tortilla chips and after about an hour I felt ready to get up and jump in the shower.   It’s a bit funny to think about as after my first 20 miler two weeks ago I felt great!  I was talking with my husband throughout the run and when I got home I drank a smoothie while stretching by the fire!  Weird!

I’ve been trying to prepare in other ways as well as we hit that last stretch before the race….I’ve been focusing on cutting out as much alcohol and processed foods as I can with only two glasses of wine total this past weekend and a pretty healthy diet since Friday (with the exception of the insane amount of Thomas’ English Muffins banana bread and corn muffin flavor I ate!) to try and clear my system in order for it to run as efficiently as possible (yes, pun intended!).  I also gained a few pounds (ok, more than a few!) over the holidays (darn family visits and yummy treats!) and have been trying to lose a couple of those (slowly) while still remaining fueled for my level of exercise, hoping that a couple of pounds will also help me run just a tad faster in search of that PR. 

From here, it’s tapering down daily to let me body rest and recuperate for the long run ahead.  I have much shorter mid-week runs planned this week and next week I only have two “real” runs planned!  This Sunday’s “long” run will be a total of about 10 miles then it’s short runs Tuesday and Wednesday before rest days Thursday and Friday and a shakeout run of 2 miles Saturday so ensure my muscles don’t get too tight before Sunday’s race!  I’m trying to keep up my healthy and cleaner eating habits these next 11 days as well to ensure my system is clear and free of anything that might hold me back from the goal I’ve been working toward for about 3 months now!

Question of the Day: Do you have any special rituals or meals you do or prepare in the weeks leading up to a race?

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