Well hello Monday! This week you are more than just Monday. You are the beginning of week 14 of my training plan, which means the first real day of the taper. And although in truth I have several reasons NOT to feel marvelous, I’m tossing all of that for now and going to take a moment to be Positive Pig, Little Miss Sunshine, Miss Bright-side, whatever. Because I survived my last long run in one piece, and it’s time to really get ready for this race. So I’m taking this moment today, to have nothing but gratitude and respect for myself and my body for making it to this point. So, thank you, body, you have put the Marvelous in my Monday. Thanks for the Link-up, Katie!
I woke up Saturday morning a little after 5, with nothing but high hopes and no pain while going down the stairs. I knew it was going to be raining, and windy, and I knew that a lot of other things could potentially go wrong too. It’s 22 miles. You have to worry a little about 22 miles, it’s a long way! The temperatures would be in the low 40’s with rain and wind. I wore crops, a tank layered with a light hooded windbreaker pullover, compression socks, Lululemon bangbuster headband that covers my ears, and a Pro-Tec Athletics Knee Patellar Tendon Strap that I purchased last week.
Oh, and still wore my old shoes, because my new ones haven’t even shipped yet! Come on Amazon!
Ironically enough, the only pain I had for the first 3 miles was from the darn support strap on my knee being tight and causing my calf to cramp a little. I thought about taking it off, but felt like it would probably help more than harm, and, by mile 4 I wasn’t feeling it anymore. My knee wasn’t bothering me, although I sort of felt it on the downhills, it just wasn’t hurting. I kept WAITING for it to hurt, which was kind of driving me nuts, but it just never amounted to anything painful. That doesn’t mean this run was great, there were other things getting in my way besides my knee and my brain. The wind, rain, and dark combined were pretty unpleasant. My headlamp must have needed new batteries, because it was SO dark that I was having to look at the ground pretty carefully to avoid tripping. I’ve fallen in the mud while running, and it sucks. Didn’t want that to happen.
The first half was slower than expected because of all this, over a 9 min avg pace. I definitely felt myself holding back out of the worry that my knee would hurt, and it also felt like I was running into the wind. I hadn’t eaten anything before the run out of nerves and just wanting to get it over with, but I had 3 gels with me. The first two were my usual Powerbar Performance Energy Blends and the last was a vanilla Hammer gel because my local running store had been out of my usual. I had the first two at miles 6 and 12. By mile 13 I was feeling faster and better overall. The rain actually picked up but the wind calmed down a little, and I was less worried that my knee would suddenly lash out. At mile 17 I tried to eat my last gel and managed to probably have half, but I haven’t had a typical gel in a long time and the sweetness of it was making me feel sick.
At 18 miles in I tried to pick up the pace as I had planned, but I just couldn’t move as fast as I wanted to. I managed the last 4 miles in 7:56, 8:20, 8:03, 7:57. Not what I’d wanted, but I’ll take it. I ran in mostly steady rain, over half in the dark, and wind and I must give myself a break somewhere. It was a tough run but it was far from my worst.
My knee drama is definitely not over, because the funny thing with tendons is that they can feel okay while running and then hurt pretty badly afterwards. I wouldn’t say it hurt badly (look, a lot of things were hurting after this run!) but I felt it all day after the run, and have been icing it pretty frequently to hopefully calm it down .
The rest of my day was spent resting with my daughter who was sick with a fever. Actually as I’m writing this all 3 of them are sick with colds/fever. I seem to have a habit of getting sick at the beginning of a taper so now would be the time for me to catch this!
To make her day a little bit more special, we decided to make grain free chocolate chip cookies, which were AWESOME (and I wish I’d gotten a better picture of them,) from Danielle Walker’s recipe for “Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookies.” We made some flour substitutions based on what we had, and they still were deee-licious!
And now it’s time for the taper.
I honestly don’t know how my knee is going to hold up, because it can be hard to predict these things. But, based on what I’ve experienced, there usually is some sort of pain that flares up toward the peak of training that the taper seems to take care of. I’m hoping, and feeling positive that this is one of those things.
Realistically, and not even thinking about my knee, I still have doubts about how the race will go. I couldn’t help but worry about how tough the 22 miles felt and how it was so hard to scrounge up the energy to run the last 4 miles close to my goal pace. I also know that between tapering and the excitement/ adrenaline of race day, pace feels different. In my gut I feel like the pressure I’m putting on myself to perform will get me to my goal. There are factors we can’t control, but the mental side of racing can truly make or break performance. I have to believe I’ve trained myself to run my goal time. I guess I’m still just not sure I’ve done that.
How do you deal with self-doubt when tapering or approaching an important race? What was the longest run you’ve done in the rain? What was your worst race weather?