This week was rough. Really rough. The first week of taper is usually hard for me because I am mentally ready to cut back, yet it never quite feels like much of a cut-back. I knew this time would be no different since I had 2 serious workouts and a longish run on tap. But what was even worse than being tired and still working hard in the taper was being unable to get my workouts in because my legs were trashed. Yes, this week I was still really feeling the effects of overdoing it last Friday and then running 20 miles on Sunday.
So the name of the game now through race day is simply to maintain fitness, recover strong and rest.
Monday is my rest day. I did arm weights and foam rolled like crazy.
Tuesday I was scheduled for 75 minutes with strength intervals (2 x 3 miles @ 7:25 pace). I knew that was not going to happen with as beat up as my legs were. I planned to go out and just run it easy. But once I started running, everything hurt. Each leg felt like it weighed about 100 pounds. My hamstrings hurt, the muscles in front of my shins (tibialis anterior) hurt, my inner thighs were screaming, and I physically couldn’t lengthen out my strides. It took 3 miles before my legs loosened up a little and I was able to pick up the pace a teeny bit. I decided to run my Wednesday workout instead. 46 minutes / 5 miles / 9:18 pace. Tuesday evening, I was running around at my sons’ cross country meet cheering them on and taking photos. My legs were screaming.
So I decided to rest on Wednesday morning, then run a little easy with my girls at Girls on the Run. I did, and my legs were still not happy. D@mn.
Thursday morning I felt okay. I was scheduled to run 95 minutes with 10 miles at goal marathon pace. Again, I knew race pace wasn’t going to happen, but I was really hoping to put the time in. Fortunately, my legs felt better. They didn’t feel good, but much better than Tuesday and Wednesday. It took a few miles to warm up and I actually felt better toward the end of the run, even though my legs were tired. 96 minutes / 10.6 miles / 9:10 pace. The best news was that my legs felt good when I finished. And as the day went along, I was feeling okay. Again, not great, but as though I may be on the upswing.
Friday was a scheduled rest day. I debated making up the 75 minute run I missed earlier in the week, but pretty quickly realized that would be really dumb at this point. Rest it is. I had lunch with my coach, which I really needed. We decided the hay is in the barn – just get to the start line feeling good. We discussed adjusting my ambitious goals, but agreed it was too early. We’ll reassess as the race gets close and we know more about the state of my legs and the weather.
Saturday I was scheduled for 30 minutes easy. I was also lucky enough to get fit in for a sports massage. I ran first knowing that running post-massage would be dumb. 32 minutes / 3.6 miles / 9:10 pace. I then went and got my massage. Holy macaroni I forgot how much that hurts! The massage therapist said my legs were pretty much tight all over, so she worked my legs over pretty hard everywhere – not just the piriformis. My legs definitely felt looser when she finished. She said I should expect to be sore until early next week (actually she said I’d feel like I’d been hit by a truck), then hopefully things will start feeling snappier. If not, she’d fit me in one more time next week before my race.
Sunday I was scheduled for 2 hours and 25 minutes. I decided to play this by ear since I know it is not ideal running a long or hard workout post sports massage. My goal was to get in at least 12 miles – more if I felt good. Unfortunately, despite drinking a ton of water on Saturday, I woke up with a terrible headache. The good news is that my legs did not hurt at all. I took off and it was already warm out (70 degrees). I decided not to worry about pace and just put some miles in. By mile 8,it was almost 80 degrees and I felt like I had already run 15 miles. My legs were jello, I had a headache, and was a little dizzy. Great. I ran home, refilled my water and Gatorade. My husband agreed to run the last few miles with me, so we ran down the trail. 2 hours, 3 minutes / 13.5 miles / 9:11 pace.
Total: 5 hours, 9 minutes / 33.6 miles
I had been scheduled to run 6 hours and 30 minutes, so it is hard to write out these numbers. I KNOW it was the right thing to do though. Recovery, recovery, recover.
Wish me luck on that please as I am feeling a wee bit (okay, completely) terrified about this upcoming race and my ability to get to the start line 100% healthy and ready to race.