Here it is, my last week before taper!
I was afraid to call attention to it, but I can't believe I've made it to this point without injuring myself. I had to ramp up my mileage really fast since I had a shorter-than-recommended amount of time to train, and I basically didn't run at all in the month of July. Even so, I've made it to the end of the danger zone in one piece. This week I felt tired and ready to just taper already, but thinking about how strong and not-injured my body is right now really made me happy. Maybe marathon training suits me?
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 6.35 (4x1200 @5k)
Splits: 5:48 (7:54 -- ??), 5:24 (7:13), 5:22 (7:10), 5:30 (7:20).
I don't know what happened with the first one. I do know that these felt twice as hard as my normal 600m repeats. I felt pretty tired from my race over the weekend and the sloppy 12 miler that followed. This was a "just get it over with" track day.
Wednesday - 6.11 easy
Some easy dog-chaperoned miles on not-too-hilly trails.
Thursday - 4 easy
I'm getting pretty bored with my shortest running route. I did notice, for the first time, an unusually tall tree:
Friday - 9.01 easy
Three easy days, three different routes, one dog training buddy. The weather here hasn't been the greatest (super humid and cycling through different types of precipitation (mist, rain) resulting in wet leaves, mud, and a damp ponytail that wouldn't stop slapping me in the face. It was great to get outdoors with Tilly, though.
Saturday - Rest
I furiously carbo-loaded in anticipation of tomorrow's BIG 20-MILER...
Sunday - 20.26
And three hours, 9 minutes later, I can say, "I did it! I did it! I did it!"
It's true that "20" is is a real mental obstacle to conquer. Maybe 20 isn't that much different from the 19- and 18-milers I've done, but it felt great to know I had less than a 10k to go to hit 26.2. Physically, I felt pretty weary, even at the beginning, but mentally, I was completely confident that I could endure whatever discomfort in order to finish all 20 miles.
And oh, what discomfort there was! Around mile 11, I noticed my chest had chafed so badly I was bleeding. I tried to adjust my bra so it wouldn't rub directly on the already-bleeding part, and took my shirt off so my shirt wouldn't rub it, either. It was kind of excruciating but I never stopped running. I was weirdly pleased that I was being challenged like this. I thought nothing could crush my will to finish this run.
My iron will lasted about 6 more miles, until I started kind of whining to myself in my head around mile 17. I was really giving in to it -- "Yes, this is hard, and yes, you could walk, and yes, in fact, maybe you should walk. Because yes, you're right, this is stupid," until my glucose-deprived rational brain finally slapped silly the part of me that was whining. It said, "Do you REALLY want to cry and whine your way to the end of your FIRST-EVER twenty-miler?" So, I stopped whining and got it done.
Nutrition-wise, I was testing out my race-day strategy and I think it went well. I ate a PowerBar gel (1x caffeine) at 45 minutes, followed by a chocolate Honey Stinger gel at 1:30, and another PowerBar gel (2x caffeine) at 2:15. I would have kept eating but those things are expensive and I was nearly done. For the marathon, I will keep up this strategy of eating a gel (alternating PowerBar and Honey Stinger) every 45 minutes all the way to the end of the race, backloading the heavy-caffeine ones based on the advice of the staff at Fleet Feet Carrboro, who taught me that caffeine blocks the brain's receptors for adenosine (a chemical response to inflammation in the muscles), but also has the negative effect of speeding up your heart rate.
Speaking of nutrition...!
The nice people at KIND snacks sent me a big box of bars to help fuel me through taper. I bought one on a whim at the library cafe a while back when I found myself feeling rungry and without a healthy snack at hand. I was glad to find something quick that had only "normal" ingredients.
Since I got my big box o'snacks I've taken taste-testing pretty seriously. I've had one as an emergency breakfast while bike commuting to work (verdict: easy to eat on the bike), at the office in the afternoon, and on the way home from the track. If anyone needs a snack-tester, I'm your girl.
Kind offered to supply two Outside Time readers with a box of Kind bars of their own -- a mix of my two favorites: dark chocolate with sea salt and glazed maple pecan with sea salt.
(Note: I always feel weird about marketing on this blog, so I'll share with you my thought process. In researching the company and trying to decide if I wanted to do this giveaway or not, I happened on some pieces of information that swayed me: first, I am intrigued by founder Daniel Lubetzky's various attempts to use business to encourage constructive cooperation in conflict areas. I tend to think of everyone who works at for-profit organizations as profit margin-maximizing maniacs (sorry! I can't help it), so I'm always pleasantly surprised to discover one who is trying to re-imagine socio-political possibilities via his or her industry. I also very much want to support challengers to the corporate snack food industry that make a point to use only normal, naturally-occurring ingredients. On a more basic level, I distinguish giveaways from regular ads -- it's nice to get free stuff sometimes and I like passing that along to anyone who reads this blog. Eating gets expensive when you're training for something!)
Disclaimer: KIND sent me a box of bars for free and asked me to host this giveaway.