I’ve made it to taper! 15 weeks have come and gone and I wrapped up peak week number two with no incidents. I am really happy with how this week went. I was able to hit my paces on my final hard interval workout and my monster long run went really well.
The temperatures continued to cool down a bit this week which was such a nice change. Monday morning’s run was so pleasant and it’s great to see my HR z2 easy pace averaging right where it should. Wednesday morning I had my final interval run. It was a big one, but I felt ready. I hit some of the intervals a little too fast, but it was awesome to see how much more natural the actual pace felt compared to how I perceived it to feel. It’s great to feel that progress over 9 weeks of interval training. My speed training now shifts to focusing just on goal marathon pace so I can get used to the feel of the pace.
By the end of the week the temps were warming up a bit. It was forecasted to be near 70 and humid at the start for my final monster long run. This week I decided to start out with an electrolyte mix in my water bottle and then switch to water just in case there were any issues of running out of water. I wanted to finish this run strong and not cramp up and have issues like last week. Not only was this my monster long run, it was also my final really long run of my training cycle. My friend Katie also had a really long run so we agreed to meet early and venture out on our own. Our route took us all the way downtown which was a little sketchy in some spots, but got us downtown around sunrise. It wasn’t supposed to be cloudy, but I was thankful it was so help keep the temperatures down a bit. It did cause us to miss out on the awesome sunrise we were hoping to see.
When we hit the half way point we were in one of our local metro parks. I really wanted to refill my water before heading back. Our training group was out on the trail so there was water available, but the closest refill station from our turnaround point was still about 6.5 miles away. Luckily there was a 5K race starting in the park and the large jug of water was already placed out to fill the cups… so yeah, I totally stole some water from it. I felt a little guilty, but the run was to benefit the humane society and we’ve been spoiling our dog rotten for the past year that we adopted from them so it made me feel a bit less bad about it. Katie was with me for the majority of my run, but I had about an hour I had to do solo at the end.
My coach had actually instructed me to do this run a bit slower so that I didn’t wear my body down too much. We did an okay job of this while running together, but I got a second wind a little over a mile after Katie turned off the trail. Even though it was warm and humid, there was a breeze and the air just felt different. Call me crazy, but when the seasons change I just think there is a feel to the air that changes. I could feel fall in the air despite the heat and humidity and it really had me feeling good. I sped up and at one point had to reign it back in. Don’t get me wrong, I did have moments of “How the hell am I going to do this so much faster on race day,” but overall I felt really good. I had to dig deep for the last two miles of my run, but I was so so so proud when I finished it out. Things will either come together or fall apart on race day, but I finished this run knowing that the past 15 weeks I have been completely committed to putting in the work to get where I need to be on race day.
I had a complete rest day on Sunday which meant no strength class. I slept in until after sunrise(!!!) and then my husband and I took the dogs for their morning walk. I was able to reschedule my strength class spot for Tuesday morning so I won’t miss out on that. We are beginning to taper in class as well, but it’s important to keep up that work.
I’ve totally buried the exciting story of the week here underneath all of my training talk. On Friday I was supposed to go out with my friend Nicole for her birthday. We had planned to go to the movies, but by the time she had gotten through the things she wanted to do for her day it was after 4pm. When she texted me, I told her since I had to get up so early the next morning I really just wanted to have dinner at a normal time and get to bed. Since she’s a runner, she understood. We also had brunch plans on Sunday with another friend so it’s not like I was completely backing out of birthday plans. Five minutes later she texted me. It said, “I think my water just broke.” I was so excited! She didn’t end up having her baby until Saturday morning, so not on her own birthday, but I was so happy to finish up my run and see texts from her about her daughter and pictures. After some breakfast on Sunday morning my husband and I went to visit the happy family at the hospital.
I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time I was holding her. She was making the funniest little faces and is just the tiniest little nugget. During our visit a nurse came in as Nicole and I were talking about running. The nurse asked if I ran too and said that when she caught wind that Nicole was a runner she understood why she pushed for so long. She said most women call it quits after 3 hours, but runners have the stamina to keep on going. It was such a nice way to spend some time on Sunday and I am so excited to go see her again soon. Nicole and her husband were both just glowing and happy and it was so great.
So now I head into taper. To be honest, my first week of taper really isn’t a taper at all. I spend the first part of the week running easy to finish up recovering from Saturday’s run. I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say I am very happy that the cold front is coming through this week and bringing the fall weather. Now my focus stays on staying healthy and injury free, but shifts to practicing goal marathon pace. Next weekend I have back to back goal marathon paced runs and that is scarier to me than this past weekend’s monster long run. However, once I get through that I think I will feel really ready to go.
I hope everyone had a great week of training! It seems like everyone has either hit their peak or is getting close to it and it’s exciting to read about everyone’s gritty training. Keep up the hard work!