#BostonStrongSI + Taper Begins

The #BostonStrong runs are being held tonight.  After I wrote about the one being organized in NYC, I made the decision to organize one in my hometown:

The FB event page is located here.  We have over 100 people running or walking in support of Boston tonight.  PowerBar is sponsoring us so there will be gels, blasts, recovery bars, and other yummy treats for pre/post run fuel.  Other runners from my hometown have arranged for local news stations to be present, newspaper stories to be written, and water to be provided.  SO, if you are in the NYC / SI area, please come out to Clove Lakes tonight at 6:30pm to show your support.

*As of Sunday evening, there are 112 cities participating in this GLOBAL event. It is truly amazing.

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I am officially tapering!! Still feels weird for me to say that.  I feel like the marathon crept up on me (so much so that I didn’t remember to book a hotel room and now they are all sold out!).  For so long I felt like the marathon was still off in the distance…and then I blinked and, boom.  It’s two weeks away.

After taking two weeks off after the NYC Half marathon because of foot/calf pain, my long run schedule got turned upside down.  I hadn’t done a long run in 5 weeks and wanted to get a few more long(ish) runs in before the taper began.  But time was running out.  So I decided to shorten the recovery time between the long runs.  I ran 16 miles on 4/6 (ICW a 10k race), 20 miles on 4/11, 19 miles on 4/17, and 17 miles on 4/21.  4 16+ miles in 15 days.  Lots of miles in a short amount of time. I have never been so happy to see the taper begin.

The 19 miles on Wednesday morning were hard – physically and emotionally.  The sadness from the previous few days were still heavy on my heart and I just felt defeated.  My legs were heavy.  My body was tired.  I couldn’t move much faster than an 8:00 pace.  The entire 19 miles were a struggle – I had a hard time from the very first mile when my pace was barely breaking 8:20.  I averaged 8:08 for the 19 miles – my splits ranged from 7:52 to 8:30.  Definitely NOT my best run and certainly not how I wanted to end my training cycle for the NJ Marathon.

As is ALWAYS the case, after a not-so-great long run, the doubts creep into my head.  I spent most of the next two days wondering if I had a 3:10 marathon in me.  Whether I had put in the adequate long runs and training.  Whether I was ready.  I was questioning everything about the last 16+ weeks.

I wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything on Thursday evening, including cook, so we ordered Chinese food.  And then something amazing happened.  I got the absolute BEST fortune cookie I could have imagined:

THIS is what I needed.  I still feel like I was given this fortune cookie for a reason.  It was the kick in the butt I needed to remind me to BELIEVE in myself. My initial plan was to do 8-10 miles at marathon goal pace on Sunday.  After I got that cookie, I made the decision to make it a bit longer.

Friday: Biked one hour – steady state

Saturday: Swam 2,000 yds (including 1 mile straight) followed by an 8 mile progression run (7:39 pace).  I wasn’t going to run on Saturday because I knew I had a tough run planned for Sunday, but the fortune cookie’s words replayed in my head.  I decided to get some mileage in so that my legs wouldn’t be completely fresh on Sunday. I wanted to run on tired legs. The last 10k of the marathon will be on tired legs and the only way to be ready when it hits on race day is to practice during training.

Sunday: 1 mile warm-up + 16 miles at Marathon Goal Pace.  I wanted this to be my “dress rehearsal” for the marathon. I practiced my fueling, hydration, and pace.  I had music (on low) and no tv. It allowed me to focus on my body, the pace, and how I felt.  I repeated the fortune cookie to myself over and over again throughout the run.  I think I was still adjusting to the pace for the first few miles.  By mile 3, I found a groove and felt AMAZING.  Literally amazing.  The pace felt easy. My legs, although tired, felt great.  My breathing was completely in control.  I had a sip of water every mile.  I took a 1/2 gel every 4 miles.  I felt strong.

Mile 15 was the toughest.  I was bored, sweaty, and had run out of water.  I repeated the fortune cookie’s words again and kept pushing forward.  Mile 16 started and I pictured myself at mile 25.2  with a 3:03 on the race clock.  7 minutes to get to the finish under 3:10.  Picked it up to a 7:07 pace until 1/2 mile left and then just went all out.  It was down to 6:10 for the last minute or so.  Last mile averaged sub-7.

The gym treadmills shut off after an hour so I had to quickly restart it after 8.3 miles.

16 miles: 1:55:33: 7:13 pace (puts me sub-3:10).

After the run, the words of Chrissie Wellington repeated in my head (her coach used to tell her this):

It’s SO true.  I had a bad run on Wednesday.  It happens.  But it’s still a long run.  I put in 19 miles.  Regardless of how fast or slow they were, the 19 miles will only help me during the marathon.  Wednesday was clearly a stone session.  Sunday was a star session.  But they are BOTH rocks and have made me READY for the NJ Marathon in 13 days.

There have been some amazing Boston Race Recaps.  Check out Pace of Me and Arkansas Runner Mom – they are two of my FAVORITES. Both girls are beautiful friends and set incredible PRs last Monday.

Have you read any race recaps from Boston that you’d like to share? 

Did you race or run long this weekend? 

Are you participating in a #BostonStrong event today? 

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    15 thoughts on “#BostonStrongSI + Taper Begins

    1. Pingback: Celebrating National Fortune Cookie Day | Xpatnation

    2. Love reading your blog and hearing about your training!
      You always inspire me: Thank you!!!

    3. You are so going to rock this mama!! Amazing! I haven’t heard of any Boston Strong races here on Cape so I may be on my own. I ran with a group on Thursday morning for a sunrise run and memorial. It was so good to see so many that I knew were there but hadn’t touched base with yet.
      Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

    4. You are so going to rock that race mama!! I haven’t heard of any #BostonStrong runs here so I’m going to be on my own probably. A group of us ran on Thursday morning for a sunrise run and memorial on the beach. It was a great time to see those who I knew were there and unable to finish.
      Fancy Nancy recently posted..Monday MotivationMy Profile

    5. You’re going to do awesome at the NJ Marathon! I’ll be there, running the Half. I’m looking forward to the Boston Strong run this evening in Staten Island!

    6. I love that quote, thanks for sharing! I had a preview run scheduled of the half marathon course that I’m running in two weeks on Saturday. After Monday, the event became a run for Boston and over 100 people showed up! That’s so great for such a small city (at least, I think it’s great) and the preview run went well until a bunch of us got off course and skipped about two miles of it. Whoops! 11.25 miles wasn’t too bad, I’ll take it!
      catie recently posted..yet another boston postMy Profile

    7. Can’t believe you are 2 weeks out! And I’d say you ended on a high…you’re gonna do it and I’m so excited for you.

      My Tues. speed last week absolutely sucked. I think the weight of Boston just took it all out of me. Amazing how much emotions can carry over to our physical performance, isn’t it?
      misszippy1 recently posted..The Erika Brannock FundMy Profile

    8. I’m so freaking excited for you and the NJ marathon. I love that quote from Chrissie’s coach. So true. So perfect. I’m really excited about the BostonStrongNYC run tonight although I’m sad you won’t be there :-) We have to make a run date for another time after the marathon. Jess’ recap of her Boston experience had me in tears. Amazing.
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..8 milesMy Profile