I Trust Myself. I Trust My Taper.

A lot of people don’t care for taper.  I’m not a lot of people.  I think the combination of not liking to rest, questioning was your training good enough and having so much free time can get to your head.  For me personally I really enjoy tapering and letting my body relax.  When I tapered for swimming I would constantly remind myself of all the things I did throughout training to get to this point.

During this training cycle I remind myself of the four 20+ miler runs I did.  I also remind myself of the 7 miler I ran directly after the Rock and Roll VA Beach in 80+ degree heat, the 16 miler I ran at goal pace and the pretty consistent miles I put in.  I remind myself daily that I have put in the miles and this is my time to rest and relax.  No amount of training I do right now is going to better prepare me for the race besides…not cramming in miles.  I am cutting my miles by 20% each week and adding a little more speed.

This is my time to rest and recover.  My time to do other things and focus on other things…like blog writing (kidding).  Actually this is my time to focus on other things like hanging out with friends and family and also honing in on my nutrition.  (a post I’ll probably do at another point).  While running is a huge deal of my life, it does not define me.  I want to say when I’m not training I have other things going on in my life.

So my general opinion is that I enjoy taper.  Though I have never fully tapered for a running race I have tapered for plenty of swimming championships.  You must trust your training and trust yourself that you are ready for this race.  I have had both great and poor tapers for swimming.  Some tapers I have swam my best times of the season or my life.  Some tapers I have swam personal worsts and I think the last 2 weeks before any race or meet are the most important.  The delicate balance of being too rested and stiff versus not enough rest and stiff is hard and the threshold is different for everyone.

So yes the last two weeks can truly make or break your race by not listening to your taper.

I trust myself.  I am ready.  I trust my taper and my training.  I trust my body to carry my across the finish line of New York City.  If that is a 3:10 great.  If that is a 4:10 great because I finished.  I truly stand by my comment that finishing a marathon in itself is a great feat and for someone to complain about finishing their first marathon is ridiculous.  The marathon humbles even the best and most prepared runner.

Question for you: Do you like taper? 

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad’s birthday.  Since dad normally assumes the responsibility of taking photos “for the blog” today the blog is dedicated to him.  Incase you didn’t know, I inherited all slightly off humor from him.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Happy Birthday Mr. H.

Happy Birthday H-time.

My dad:  I don't want that specialty crap.  I just want plain vanilla ice cream...I'll be bold and go with a cone.  Put this on the blog, I never eat ice cream...I'm treating myself.
My dad: I don’t want that specialty crap. I just want plain vanilla ice cream…I’ll be bold and go with a cone. Put this on the blog, I never eat ice cream…I’m treating myself.
Dad: This is what you look like when you take photos of your coffee.
Dad: This is what you look like when you take photos of your coffee.
Dad: Proof we finished that god awful hot hilly race.
Dad: Proof we finished that god awful hot hilly race.
Dad: Is this what you young kids do, read about Brittney spears and shave your heads?
Dad: Is this what you young kids do, read about why Kate is single?  Why do you even care?
Wicked 10k (39:28)

Wicked 10k Race Recap

I have been dying to do the Wicked 10k in Virginia Beach for quite some time.  J&A Racing puts on five races a year (all being themed and I love dressing up).  So when the possibility of being able to run the Wicked 10k race rose up, I immediately took it.

The Wicked 10k weekend has several events including the Mini Monster 1k presented by Bon Secours, and now even a flat, fast, one-mile race, the National Bank Monster Mile (The mile happens on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk on Friday Night).

With the Wicked 10k, J&A Racing brings you, Hampton Roads, the largest Halloween Race and Party. During the Anthem Wicked 10k, participates are encouraged to be creative and dress up. That’s why Kris an I chose to be pumpkins for the Wicked 10k. Plus there is live music and post-race party. After the Wicked 10k, you can enjoy the Huge Post Race Party with blue moon beer, live music, and the costume contest.

Then I realized that since the Wicked 10k was a week before the marathon, it would be a perfect last high effort run (or really only high effort run).  Though my run at the Wicked 10k is a solid minute per mile faster than my marathon goal pace…I think the marathon is a little longer…

A local runner, Kris and I decided to dress up as pumpkins for the Wicked 10k.  It would be a lie if I didn’t tell you that Kris has always been one of my running idols since she moved to VA.

krislandi

We warmed up for the Wicket 10k around the Convention center and it honestly went by really quickly.  As much as I love running with Tim, it’s not the same as running with females and gossiping.  We quickly made it back to the start of the Wicked 10k and put our stuff away in the car.  Since it was a 10,000 person 10k the lines for the bathroom were so long.  We quickly went to the porta-potty and hauled butt to the starting line of the Wicked 10k.

When the Wicked 10k went off, I immediately fell into my groove.  I wasn’t sure how my skirt would hold up or if the socks would give me blisters but in proper running technique, I didn’t test any beforehand and just winged it.  If I got massive blisters on my feet from the Wicked 10k, that would have been my fault and I probably would have stopped to take the socks off.

The first mile of the Wicked 10k, I felt I was in a solid groove.  It was pretty crowded and I got boxed in several times but I managed to pass a few females and settle in by myself.  I was weaving a lot during this first mile and with the turns, I managed to take out every turn way to wide.  (5:52)

The second mile of the Wicked 10k went right down where I got hit by the cyclist and onto the boardwalk. (6:10)

Mile three of the Wicked 10k was along the boardwalk and I was all alone.  The closest person in front of me was a female (about a quarter of a mile up).  I wanted to catch her so badly, but couldn’t and never did.  (6:14).

 I hit the 5k of the Wicked 10k at exactly 19:30.

Mile four of the Wicked 10k, I drew on the crowds from other corrals passing the other way.  It kept my mind off running and I was high fiven’, cheering and looking at other people passing the other way.  I wanted to speed up during the Wicked 10k but my legs would not turn over any faster.  This is just a product of not doing speed workouts and focusing on longer runs as well as high mileage.  (6:14)

Mile five of the Wicked 10k was exactly the same way, but there was no one cheering and I was all by myself.  I was passed by some males somewhere along there and I tried to keep up but they powered way by me.  This was the hardest mile mentally but just kept reminding myself…that’s probably how I’ll feel for 10 miles in the marathon.  (6:30)

Mile 6 of the Wicked 10k was motivating because we were heading back to the convention center and it was almost over.  I didn’t feel like I was dying but I certainly wasn’t getting any faster.  I just gave it everything I had and went to the end.  (6:14).

The final .4, you could see the Wicked 10k finish line.  I hate those finishes because they never seem like they are getting any closer and there are people at the .4 telling you that you are almost there…when, in reality, you still have 2-3 more minutes.

In my mind, “almost there” means I have about 5 strides to the finish line…not 2 more minutes going into cardiac arrest.  Then after a few minutes (but not before being outkicked by someone), I crossed the Wicked 10k finish line, begged for some water, coffee mug and medal and headed into the post-race party with Kris.

Thoughts on the Wicked 10k: 

The Wicked 10k was a great confidence booster going into the marathon.  I had made the executive decision throughout training to forgo speed workouts and focus on building high mileage instead.  Since it is my first marathon and my goal is to FINISH (with a secondary goal around 3:10), I took away all speed and just focused on high mileage.

It was great to only be 8 seconds off my 10k PR without any speed and not feeling the greatest.  The weather for the Wicked 10k was beautiful and it was a flat, fast course so I cannot complain about that.  Overall the Wicked 10k was a great race and I had a lot of fun.  I was 4th female overall at the Wicked 10k and Kris got first!  The Wicked 10k also a minute faster then last month’s Zero Prostate Cancer Run (and 40 degrees cooler!)

If you are ever in the VA Beach area, I recommend any race put on by J&A Racing. I always enjoy festive races, especially Halloween, so the Wicked 10k remains one of my favorite.

Questions for you:

 Do you like themed races? Have you run the Wicked 10k? 

What are your plans for Halloween? 

Mine are to whine and complain that I have to wait till Sunday to eat all the candy.

1 Week to Go (NYCM) 54 miles

This week in workouts was a combination of taper and I’m so busy I don’t have time or energy to workout.  There I said it.  It’s been fairly good that my week of taper has coincided with moving, looking at houses, traveling, being at home, being ultra busy and every other excuse I can think of.  As I said before I have absolutely no idea what a good running taper is.  I’ve researched and looked at various articles but it’s my first taper for a running race. (swimming I just followed a coaches plan). If this plan doesn’t work, it doesn’t and I know next time I run a marathon not to do this.  I know a lot of things not to do next time training for a marathon but that is a post all to itself.

Monday: 12.23 miles Charlotte, NC. 
Tuesday: Cross train (elliptical)
Wednesday: 11.12 miles home, fast finish (8:25 overall pace)
Thursday: Off
Friday: 7.22 progressive run
Saturday Wicked 10k (39:28) (total 11 miles)
Sunday 12.75 miles
Total: 54 miles

Thoughts:

As most articles suggested, the second week out is the time to reduce mileage by around 20-25%.  I’ve gone 102 miles-80 miles-54 miles.  So that is falling about into that. (a little more actually). My legs honestly did not feel as good as I was hoping with the cut of mileage.  Hopefully they will continue to feel better.

The Wicked 10k on Saturday went extremely well.  I’ll have a recap tomorrow but the weather and course made it for a fast race.  I was only 8 seconds from my PR and with no speed work I should be happy.  Am I happy?  I’m pretty happy but alas a 10k PR would have been nice too, especially since I have reduced my mileage.

My last high effort run yesterday went according to the plan.  The goal was to start off easier (8:30 pace) progress and hold for a few miles at goal marathon pace (7:15) then push the envelope a little more and drop down to 7:00 minute pace. Even with not wearing racing flats, I was able to do this so it was certainly motivating.

When I had bad tapers with swimming, I never felt good and found myself feeling sluggish at the start of the race.  (I swam the 1000m and mile in college).  As much as I tried to swim fast, I just felt like I had no turnover or speed.  Hopefully that isn’t the case here.

Next week I’m cutting my miles again with a few miles spread out at marathon pace.  Nothing left to do but continue to rest and mentally prepare for the race.  As I’ve said throughout this training cycle my primary goal for this marathon is to finish.  Would I love to run a 3:10?  Yes, of course, however with waiting around a cold start for 3 hours as well as running a very overcrowded race it’s very tough to say what will happen.  I know if I cross the finish line as happy as when I start, I will be happy.

Questions for you:

What was your first marathon goal?

What is your most confidence boosting workout? 

Snow Leopards.

Often times bloggers use Fridays as light hearted posts to start the fun of the weekend.  I realize I barely ever post anything about myself except random updates or musings about my travels.  Since most of you didn’t read or follow my blog in college you didn’t get to experience all those glorious moments with me.  I would have to say as many stories as I have post college, I have plenty more during college. In reality I only blogged some of junior and senior year.

Instead of telling you my favorite color is yellow or my favorite two college courses were modern dance and calculus I thought I’d share a humorous story.

In high school I always wanted to be a zoologist.  I loved animals (and still do).  Not pets but wild creatures, my favorite being big cats.  Lions, tigers, snow leopards, black leopards, ocelots…I love them all.  Throughout high school I applied to programs that would allow me to study zoology and I somehow wanted to focus on working with big cats.  I had dreams.  In 10th grade,  I discovered my passion for mathematics and that is how I settled on a double major in math and education.  (Until I changed my mind junior year of college to community health).  As you can see, I clearly fit the “we change our minds and majors” in college.  You should do what makes you happy.

But this story is not about college, math or education. 

It’s about the time I hopped a fence and climbed through bushes to be nose to nose with a snow leopard. It can be considered the most badass thing I’ve ever done.  If you know me then you know I don’t do that sort of thing.

While walking around the zoo junior year, I saw they had one of my favorite animals, a snow leopard.  I was excited because those are rare in southern zoos and to see one up close made me happy.  When we arrived to the exhibit I realized it was nowhere to be seen.  My heart, my dreams, my soul were crushed.  I had driven the 90 minutes north to this zoo to see animals (but mostly the snow leopard). I sat there sulking for a few minutes.

snowleopard1

Then I saw a dad with his young child pointing to the far most corner.  I saw it but it was sleeping against the fence.  Sleeping in the corner.  I respected that; the poor leopard must have been tired.  For some reason (the reason not being alcohol) I wanted a closer look.  I saw there was a bunch of bushes between that chain link fence and the paved pathway.  When I saw that opening I knew I was going to make a risky decision.  I was going to climb through the bushes like Dora the Explorer and get nose to nose with the leopard on the other side of the fence.  The fence was still separating us but I’m almost positive that I would have been escorted out if zoo security saw me.  The person with me was shocked at my boldness but I barrel rolled and climbed through the bushes and found the snow leopard.

snowleopard

After realizing he was awake and was making complete eye contact with me, I decided I had had too much adventure for one day.  I wish I could tell you zoo security came and took me away but no one ever knew.  Until now that I share my deep dark secrets with the internet, but don’t tell my parents….

zoo

I love you Giraffe.  I'm such a natural with animals...
I love you Giraffe. I’m such a natural with animals…

Thus we just continued to walk around the zoo afterwards with a few laughs.  So yes internet friends  be a risk taker but don’t get attacked by zoo animals.  Do be a risk taker in college and choose what makes you happy.  There was still a chain link fence between us so it’s not like I dove into the cage.

The amount this made me lolz was 100%. The grass is always greener on the other side.
The amount this made me lolz was 100%. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Questions for you:  Most risky thing you have ever done? 

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