Before I begin this post I want to first express my sadness for the people of Oklahoma who were affected by the devastating tornado. People across the world came running to help Boston when we were in need of support last month and I hope the same is done for these individuals who lost their homes, their possessions and in some cases lost loved ones. Every dollar helps and its very quick and easy to contribute to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
Now, down to business
I could not be more excited for the Vermont City Marathon this weekend. Not only will I finally get to execute everything I’ve been training for over the past several months but I will be visiting a great friend and former roommate that I haven’t seen in almost two years. Kate and her husband Dan have generously invited me to stay their family while I am in town and Dan is also running the marathon. I’m very thankful there is another marathoner in the house so I don’t have to feel like the weird guest who is super picky about the weekend diet, wants to be asleep by 9 and plans to set the alarm for an offensive hour on a Sunday…during a holiday weekend. I’m so excited to spend time with my friends that it’s almost distracting me from pre-race anxiety. But not quite.
Regardless of my excitement, I am also fully consumed with the notorious taper crazies. Everything hurts, I’m exhausted, I’m STARVING and I am obsessed with the weather (
so far it looks awesome – fingers crossed) which as of Thursday morning looks nice and cool but possibly wet. This is the 13th time I have been through this so thankfully I recognize the symptoms but they still have an impact on the final weeks before the race. Last Thursday morning I went for a gentle 5 mile run with Chrissy and while telling her a story I had to interrupt myself in panic because I couldn’t catch my breath. We were only running about a 9 minute mile. She offered these reassuring words (I’m brutally paraphrasing): ‘Well, you’re about a week out from your marathon; every run is going to suck. If you’re lucky you’ll maybe have one run that’s okay so you don’t feel like you’re going to blow it on race day’. She’s right. You would think it would be a relief to decrease mileage and effort at the end of the training season but it often causes more anxiety. I thought about Chrissy’s eloquent words of wisdom all week as an excuse for feeling like garbage.
A friend of mine posted this great quote a few years ago when we were preparing for the Chicago Marathon:
“A taper is more of a challenge than you think. You’ll have to trust that the work is done, that the money is in the bank or the hay is in the barn. You’re at peak fitness and you should feel great!”
I asked some friends to contribute a few of their favorite taper advice and several of them repeated, ‘The Hay is in the Barn’. Some others gave warning to the temptation of over training too close to the race. One friend pushed too hard at the track and caused a muscle strain that bothered her most of her marathon. Another friend shared that running a marathon is like picking up your diploma, a celebration after a long period of hard work.
Over the past several months I have done the work, put in the miles, climbed the hills and even did a little speed work (very little speed work). I made smart decisions about training courses and mileage, tested my abilities at races and gave myself all of the tools needed to have a successful race on May 26. Now, I just need to have faith that the hard work will pay off and ‘be there’ on the course this Sunday.
Wish me luck and be sure to check out all the details of a great weekend in a Vermont City Marathon Race Report next week! For updates during marathon weekend ‘like’ Run Like A Girl on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Instagram.