TAPER WEEKS #1 & 2
As you may have noticed, I didn't end up posting a blog last week, as I had a major computer meltdown which led to an emotional breakdown...which fed into this massive cold I contracted last week. It was TAPER MADNESS!! I decided to wrap up the last 3 weeks (2 in the past and as I look down into this week) in this one blog before race day. So...here we go!
MY 20-MILE HIGH:
Taper week #1 started on a high...yeah, I was still on cloud nine after my 20-mile run. I was so relieved it was over, so happy it went well and ecstatic to not have any more long runs. I was definitely running on fumes but didn't care. There is this comfort knowing that just 11 weeks ago, running 6 miles was horrifying! Granted, my life is built around fitness, but that doesn't mean that the marathon training process is any easier. It's an accomplishment to just get to this point regardless of your own fitness levels. The race is less than 3 weeks away, I know I can't let up, but I can rest a little easier. That pressure, for now is off.
Why bother wondering about race day and what's going to happen? How will I do those last 6 miles? Will adrenaline push me? Having done this 2 times before, I know that I will get through those miles, it's not worth stressing about it the day after an amazing accomplishment. I have learned this year to take in each moment as its own, even though they lead up to October 7th.
I've always put too much on me in the past about personal records, pace and just feeling like I HAVE to run the race a certain way or I will disappoint everyone, mainly myself. I took these last 24 hours and basked in the glory of the official finish of my hard training weeks and looked forward to 3 weeks of race prep.
BACK TO WORK:
It didn't take long to get back to work during Week #1. I still knew I had a race in a few weeks :) I knew it was too soon for another run, so I took to the outdoors and did some core work, upper-body work and low-impact leg work. I figured I would make the most of the Chicago summer weather, or what was left of it. I was eaten alive by mosquitoes the size of dragons, but I loved doing another park bench workout!
I spent more time strength training, core work, tempo runs and REST. As I mentioned above, I did contract a nasty cold about Tuesday of Taper Week #2 and I just didn't know what to do. I felt tired, weak and couldn't get up to run no matter what. I used whatever energy I had working out my upper body and core. I rested as much as I mentally would allow myself to, which wasn't as much as I wanted to.
I was nervous that I hadn't run since the previous Thursday when I did that 2-mile tempo run, I started to question stuff. Even as a trainer, the fear of missing runs translating into losing strength, speed and endurance is still there. It's so stupid, but that fear just exists and hypocritically, I would have schooled my clients if they came to me with that same fear! Fact is, like any other exam, if you worked hard during the process, you will retain and excel at the end. On the flip side, you can't cram for a PR in 3 weeks, especially those three weeks before the race when you need to rest your mind and legs for race day.
I finally felt a bit better on Friday, ran my planned 4 miles...coughing, snotty and achy. I put a TON of pressure on this run and on myself, I just needed to know that I could still do this and do it well. Right or wrong, it doesn't matter...madness during taper transcends all logic.
Diet wise, I started taper with still carbs and protein as I still needed to replenish what I expended during the 20 miles. Week #2, I pulled back on the carbs by 30% and increased my protein as I wasn't burning through those calories and wasn't in need of glycogen storage for any long runs. I wanted to drop that water weight to start fresh during race week, so I can happily gain those 5 lbs. of water needed for race day!
RACE WEEK:Here we go! Today, Monday...as I reflect on my last 2 weeks of madness, I think about how it comes down to these final 6 days. One final short run tomorrow, one final long run on Sunday. I still have a slight cold, but I think it's finally on its last few rounds. My nutrition is in place, my workouts are in place...but more than anything, my mind is in a good place.
I'm nervous, don't get me wrong, but it's the excitement that controls my nerves. All the scenarios I keep running through in my head makes for the most dysfunctional motion picture in my head. I feel a different emotion every hour, but I earned that right. I earned the right to feel all the feels.
I always love race week because when you run for my charity, there is just so much to do leading up to race day. It's a reminder of why I am running this race to begin with aside from my own fitness goals. The Chicago Diabetes Project, Cellmates on the Run team comes together and celebrates our own victory of getting to race day, raising the absurd amounts of money we did and just gathering that comradery and support we love each other for on race day. This week we have our Research Update Event on Thursday, the pasta dinner on Friday, pre-race festivities on Sunday and of course the post-race celebration. Although we don't train together all season, we love the time we get to spend this week as we all gear up for that starting line.
These last 2 weeks have been beyond emotional, and this week will be no different. Tomorrow, I may run the last 3 miles I will ever run for the Chicago Marathon. Sunday, it may be the last time I stand in those corrals in front of Grant Park. Everything I set my sights on in April 2016, when I signed up for my first marathon, and continued to execute through September 2018, is coming to a close. Running one marathon is a colossal goal, running three in a row is a pilgrimage to find the deepest parts of yourself and face them one at a time.
So, as I lace up my Brooks on Sunday, tie my signature red bandana, adjust my sports bra and tighten my shorts...the last three years will be staring me in the face. All the grit, tears, pain, sweat and love that I poured into myself since the start of my weightloss/fitness journey in 2014, will be streaming down my face when I cross that finish line. If that's not achieving a personal record, I don't know what is.
Love you all,
For those of you that are new to RB FIT and my blog, I am running the Chicago Marathon 2018 for the same charity as in previous years, The Chicago Diabetes Project - Cellmates on the Run Foundation! Click on the link below for more information, race updates and donations! Every dollar counts, help us find a cure! UPDATE: I have reached my goal, so HUGE THANK YOU to you guys! But, please keep the donations coming as we need all the help we can get to find a cure! Thank you again to everyone who has donated!