I felt great getting in one more week of high mileage. Many people take a 3-week taper, but after trying that for my first few marathons decided that wasn’t for me. I usually do better with a 2-week taper, but am going even shorter this time- most likely 10 days. When training for the 2012 Marathon Olympic Trials, I caught a bad case of the flu less than two months before the race, and missed an entire week of any exercise. A coach recommended I compensate by shortening my taper, since I already had a long rest period, and I did. It seemed to work, and since I had a stretch a few weeks ago with very little running while traveling, I’m going with the same approach.
I also had 2 races this week to report on. And they were good ones- I feel like I’ve finally gotten my MoJo back! After lackluster races where I didn’t really feel like I was racing, I finally broke through and remembered how to push myself again. Reminding myself that racing is hard, running fast does not feel good, and racing should be on a different plane than training.
Sunday 10/22: 8 miles. Was still feeling sick when I woke up in the morning, but finally seemed to shake it so headed out for a tester run in the evening. Felt good to be outside so made it an hour.
Monday 10/23: 24 mile day. Make up for my missed long run over the weekend when I was sick. 2:30 total w/ 6 x long hill loops around the hour mark, followed by 5 x gravel road miles at marathon pace.
34 minutes with the double stroller later in the morning.
Tuesday 10/24: 1:33 total, mix w/ triple/single stroller.
Wednesday 10/25: hodgepodge 14 miles. 30 minutes throughout the morning with the double stroller. 6 miles later in the afternoon on the treadmill from 7:30 to 6:40 pace. 4 miles total in the evening running to and from my daughter’s soccer game.
Thursday 10/26: 20 mile day. 2 hours in the early morning including a workout- 30 minutes, 45 minute fartlek on the soccer field complex, 30 minutes, 15 minutes of strides on the football field. Went home to eat breakfast and get the kids ready, easy mile with the triple to/from PreK.
Thursday afternoon loaded up the triple running stroller into the car- first time doing this, had to take all the wheels off but managed to make it fit! It actually folds up rather compactly- it’s just so wide it has to fit the length of the car, can’t fit in the trunk. Drove an hour to Raleigh for a Halloween costume run. The plan was for my kids to do the fun run, and then run the 5K with them in the stroller just to get some extra miles in. My two oldest had a great time in the 50m dash- they’ve been practicing the last few weeks by running up the driveway, so running on the flat track was fun for them!
The 5K. I’ll start off by saying this was a low-key event. 54 Registrants, no clock timer or certified course. Definitely a fun run feel. I was wearing my easy run/walking/playground run running shoes, and even forgot to wear my watch. But for some reason as I made my way to the starting line, people parted like it was Moses going through the Red Sea, and I found myself up front. Maybe they were intimidated and didn’t want to get run over with the triple wide? For some reason this kicked in my competitive drive, and I decided I needed to win. At the starting whistle I took off. Unfortunately this was a very hilly course, making pushing the kids+stroller who outweigh me up the hills even more of a challenge. I was near the front after the first few minutes, and after the lead guy quickly pulled away, played back and forth with the lead woman for the rest of the race. She’d pass me chugging up the hills, I’d fly past on the downhills/straights. She passed me on the final uphill, cresting less than 50 meters from the finish. I sprinted like I never have before, and edged her out at the finish line, finishing as first female, 2nd overall.
I have no idea what my time was but know that my effort was HARD. Hard enough that I felt slightly sick later. Hard enough that I was exhausted and went to bed early that night. Hard enough that I was so satisfied with my effort, I felt like I’d pushed myself to the limit. I was hauling. And weirdly I have no idea why, since it was a non-race race. But it gave me the confidence I’ve been looking for by knowing I could push myself like that, and that I could win while pushing the triple!
Friday 10/26: 60 miles easy in the early morning, Weymouth Woods trails. After the race the evening before, I couldn’t bear the thought of running with the stroller today, so got up super early to run before my husband left for work. Took it really easy since I had another race the next day.
Saturday 10/27: 18 miles total- 4 miles w/u, 10 mile race, 4 miles w/d.
Drove back up to Raleigh to run the American Tobacco Trail 10 Miler, which this year was also the RRCA Southeast 10 Mile Championships. My goal for this race was to see if I could feel comfortable running marathon pace. But I also wanted to continue working on my competitiveness, and thought this would be a good venue since it was a championship race.
The trail is a hard packed, smooth surface trail. Ideal for running. Shalane Flanagan trains on it when she comes back to visit her alma mater in Chapel Hill. It was beautiful weather race morning, in the mid-fifties.
Since I had zero expectations for this race, I also had zero nerves. The women start 10 minutes before the men which is really nice- less congestion, and keeps it easy to see your competitors.
At the start I quickly settled into 6th place. A lead pack of 3 went out, followed by 2 others. I just ran my own race- I didn’t want to get caught up into going out too fast or competing too early on. Went through the first mile in 6:00, maintained an even pace, and started picking them off. At the third mile I moved into the lead. I hadn’t set out to win this race, but once I took the lead, decided that I was going to. I saw a jogger out on the trail who had the slogan “You can. You will.” on the back of his shirt, and that became my motto for the rest of the race.
At the 5 mile turn around I saw two girls working together, only about 10 seconds back. I knew I needed to pull away and break them off. I ran the rest of the race like they were hot on my heels, even though I could tell by people’s cheers they were falling back and weren’t going to catch me. I raced it like I was racing, telling myself each mile I needed to gain ground. It worked, and I ended up finishing a minute ahead of second place, in 61:01.
I was very happy with the result. I ran a very even race, faster pace than I expected (and faster than my previous two 10 milers that I was much more rested/prepared for), and most importantly, pushed myself.