Week 15. The hay is in the barn. All that remains is patience, and I have to tell you, I don’t have much of it. I haven’t had a full-on taper tantrum, but I can feel myself freaking out a bit more than I normally would. IT band sore after a run? Oh no, an ITBS flare-up! Eat something spicy 15 days out? I’m going to trash my gut before the race! 10-day forecast shows overnight low of 35*? I’m going to be a popsicle at the start line!
That’s enough of that.
Monday I wound up taking totally off. I had arrived back to my mom’s house in Cleveland after our trip to New York pretty late Sunday night, and given I had a deadline at work, wanted to get started pretty early. Nothing wrong with a little extra rest during the taper.
On Tuesday, we had an easy 6 in the morning – during which I hammered up Forbes hill (a little to NF’s dismay, I think, since it occurred to him halfway through the run that he had not really eaten dinner the night before – whoops). That evening, I made it to Pilates, where she told is to go get the pump bars to add a little stabilization for some standing squats. Oh, okay. Just some stabilization.
Then she had us use them for extra resistance during sidelying series near the end of class and as my hips and glutes were screaming for mercy, I knew I was right not to trust her. 😉
Wednesday I made it to spin for the first time in WEEKS. I got stuck on a squeaky bike, but it was a good class – a good amount of sprinting, plus a ton of hills.
It was tempo time on Thursday, or first “real” tempo run in a while (since my last one was progressive given I had been fighting a head cold), and “only” 6 miles (1-4-1 tempo). I was actually pretty psyched for this. I decided to ignore my watch as much as possible, and just went by feel and caught my splits. 7:18. Okay, I’ll slow down probably. 7:17. Guess I”m feeling pretty good! But seriously, I’ll ease off the gas. 7:17. This is getting ridiculous – okay let’s check my lap pace on this last one since it’s all uphill until the last maybe two-tenths of a mile. 7:15.
I almost did a fist pump and happy dance as I slowed into the cooldown, and I got my breath back quickly, having to force myself to really ease off during the last mile, since I was still clocking around 8:30s for a bit (it was a little downhill). I came up tot he apartment, where NF had been stretching for a couple minutes, and we shared our tempo successes, feeling really, really good. It was quite honestly my only good tempo of the training cycle, despite stellar race times, so it was a boost I really needed.
On Friday we shook it out with an easy 4-miler that included running up part of Shady. That night we had our (very belated) house warming party, and pretty much our last food splurge until the race. Mmm, alcohol. Mmm, chips and salsa. Mmm, cookies. Mmm, buffalo chicken dip and buffalo cheese fries (I made the latter).
We recuperated on Saturday, detoxing with green smoothies for breakfast. We also both got haircuts so we can be stealth on race day (kidding – sort of). I was just kind of over having long hair, and it turns out this isn’t so bad (so far) for dealing with while running, especially now that it’s getting to be headband/hat weather anyway.
Sunday morning we had a double run date with our pals and former Ragnar teammates, Tim and Alys. They live in an apartment building that has part of the Steel Valley trail right behind it – right along the river. Serious jealousy. I used the cold weather as an opportunity to test run my charity singlet. Have I mentioned how I’m running MCM for ZEROCancer, raising money for prostate cancer research?
It was maybe in the high 30s that morning, but really sunny and pretty out. We stayed at a reasonably relaxed pace, though Alys likes to push it a bit, and my competitive edge gets the best of me and I follow her. But we stayed chatting almost the whole time, so the pace was still very doable. We stopped a couple times for things like potty breaks, but otherwise just kept on at a good clip for our 8 mile “long” run (only in quotes because 8 feels like a blip at this point in training).
We warmed up at their apartment with pumpkin spice coffee, pancakes, fried cinnamon apples, and apple chicken sausage. And pumpkin biscotti from Trader Joe’s – which is dangerous to know of it’s existence.
Now we’re in the final week. We have a short track workout tomorrow morning – just 2×1600, confidence-boosting, rust-shaking workout. Otherwise it’s all patience and biding our time and stretching and foam rolling and carbo-loading and SLEEPING until race day.
I’ll hopefully update once more before we head to D.C. I still have a race plan to concoct!