Well folks…we’ve hit taper. And for once, i’m SO glad.
For some reason, this marathon training cycle has been a beast. August humidity and warmer temps combined with stress and whatnot just made my long runs way more difficult that usual.
Saturday’s 20 miler was basically my last attempt at redeeming my subpar training (and the disaster the prior 20 was) and giving me any shot at confidence going into Adirondack.
But let me back up… the week headed to that 20 miler was spectacular. We were up in Bar Harbor/Acadia for a few days and while i’d brought running clothes, I also was kind of planning to not use them. Leave it to the hubs to be the one to drag me to the gym one morning. Where I begrudgingly got on a treadmill and then knocked out some sprintervals. It was the next morning, when he returned from walking Gus and told me that he’d seen someone running on the sandbar out to Bar Island and “you should go join them” that i got that gleam in my eye, chugged the rest of my coffee and went. And OMG amazing! Sure, its like a 1/2 mile long so I ran it six times…but I could have run it all day. So pretty being along the sea.
I had stopped post run to text the hubs that I was going to beach comb for a few minutes when I saw another runner grinning coming back from his, so I chatted for a minute and found out, had I been brave enough to run the trail on the island (wrong shoes plus i’m SUCH a trail novice) i’d have been rewarded with deer crossing the trail. COOL. 🙂
But instead…I stepped over to the beach where i’d found oodles of sea glass. And the first thing I find? A unicorn!
That run was exactly what I needed. A chance to clear my head and find my happy on a run. I was still kind of unsure about the 20 miler ahead. But feeling less freaked out about it. (the sea…it heals)
So when Saturday morning hit and I planned my route and headed out into the cool pre-fall air for my run, my head was in the right place. I just hoped my legs were.
Mile 1, right on pace. Mile 2, oops…maybe wanna slow down a little. Mile 3, same as mile 2. Huh…well…okay why not. Because i’m not banking time for later, but hey, if my body wants to go sub-10 right now I supposed I shouldn’t complain. LOL I just am not going to look at my watch.
Around mile 6, I encountered a car wash fundraiser for a girls soccer team. They offered to wash my sneakers. Ha!
Around mile 7 I sailed up and over the steepest hill on my route and stopped for a photo along the river (if there isn’t a runfie, did it actually happen?).
By mile 9, the legs started to go wonky (ummm what is this weird thing in my thigh? Better stretch it) and the brain was getting bored. I had my headphones with me, but i didn’t want to use them yet. I plan to carry them at adirondack and use them maybe around mile 15 when that long flat stretch comes after the hills and I might need them. But this was too early. So I started singing in my head…. Quiet your mind by Zac Brown. This…. right song, right time.
Because the next few miles went okay. I hit a groove and kept chugging along. Any time my brain went wonky, back to the song.
At mile 14 when I came up to another hill I really didn’t want to do I stopped. I told my self “they only way back is through”, took a deep breath and went. Not only did I beat that hill, but I nailed the harder one after it no problem. YAY
Mile 15 I was dying for more water and just trying to get to the convenience store when a car stopped in traffic called out the window “You’re doing awesome!” and gave me a thumbs up. I laughed and thanked him. And was glad for the boost.
At mile 17 I realized I hadn’t walked yet. MAJOR improvement from the last one. But I knew when I took my next gel I would. Just to give the legs a break. And suddenly, coming from the radio of a house I ran by was “Aint No Mountain High Enough” OMG YES! Right song…right time. Because there isn’t a mountain high enough that I can’t get over. And we all know Adirondack is chock full of them. This might just have to go on my race day playlist. 🙂
I finished my run. I walked that 1/4 mile when I had my gel. And I walked another 1/4 mile at mile 19 when I tripped over a bump on the sidewalk and realized I might kinda not wanna fall.
And when I was done I collapsed in the lawn next to my puppy, who had come out to play ball and spectate my last two miles. Thanks Gus…
I am feeling WAY better now. I have set my race day goal to 4:44. A course PR and one that, if I ran like I just did, i’ll have no problem reaching.
So bring on the taper…I want some extra rest days, some extra carbs and some extra time with the world’s cutest dog. While I plan just the right songs for 11 days from now.