Back in the Saddle

Well, well, well. Look who kicked off Boston Marathon training with a steaming hot cup of Hansons Marathon Method and 5 inches of snow? *points thumbs at chest* THIS GIRL! Week One of Hansons is actually an abbreviated week, a teaser if you will, of all things painful to come. It kicks off mid-week and begins with a Rest Day. I know. Laugh now. Because let me tell you, I’ll be celebrating these goddamn Rest Days like every Wednesday is Christmas for the next 18 weeks. 18 days of Christmas. One Rest Day a week, for 18 weeks. Not so silly now, huh, Poodle? Here’s what went down, Easy Week and all. 

Wednesday: Rest Day. 0 miles. Only it wasn’t a Rest Day. Gah. Already I’m switching shit around. Oh, Colby. The switch was definitely warranted. I pulled the old ‘bend and snap’ because I had a very important date with My Best Gals on Earth in NYC on Sunday and I knew running was going to be a struggle. So instead of resting, I ran 5 miles and did core. Totally worth it. 

Thursday: Back on track! 6 miles, Easy. According to The Bible of Hansons, easy pace is 9:15 to 10:15 minutes per mile. I ran them at 9:15. Boom. 6 miles down, 994 to go. JK. I have no idea how many miles I’ll be running. Quite frankly I prefer not to think about it, lest I black out and konk my head. 

Friday: 6 miles, Easy. Only easy is not easy when you have a decadent 3 hour Holiday Luch with you colleagues, drink bottles of Sancerre then decide it’s wise to run on a damn treadmill because goals. *hiccups* Rough run. But I did it. And at the prescribed pace. 

Saturday: 8 miles, Easy. I woke up super-fly excited. SNOW! And plenty of it! 5 inches of the white stuff! Peace, quiet, tranquility and 8 glorious miles! Have yak trax, will run. Wheeeeeee! 

It was gorgeous for more than half of my run. My sleepy town looked like a straight up Winter Wonderland.

Winter Wonderland!

Then it started to get icy. Then it poured rain. Cold, miserable rain. I got tired. 

But kept running. 8 miles, done.

Colby the Soaked Grinch

Sunday: Rest Day NYC Brunch with my Homegirls! And Bloody Mary’s! And delicious Mediterranean plates of goodness! And chit chat, laughter, silliness and friendship. I couldn’t possibly have ended Week 1 of Training on a higher note. To friendship, health, running and laughter! Cheers! 

Deliciousness at Hundred Acres, New York City.

Week 1 By The Numbers:
Total number of miles: 25 + core 
Number of times I almost fell flat on my face running in snow, slush and ice: 0.
Yak trax RULE! 
Total number of times I felt blessed to have such strong, sassy, smart women in my life: Infinite. 

Patty, Jenn, T-BONE and Me.

Do you switch up your training or do you run by the book? Snowy runs or sweltering runs, which is your jam? 

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Tips for Having Your Best Race Ever

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I ran the NYC Marathon last week with 51,000+ of my nearest and dearest running friends and methinks I had the most fun I have EVER had in a marathon. Thought I’d share my secrets. If you’re looking to PR, these tips are not – I repeat, NOT – for you.  If you are Mr. Hanson, Higdon, Pfitzinger? Please look away.

Can’t exactly market the below as keys to “success,” but if you are looking to have The Best Time Ever During a Race, give them a try.

1. Choose a race that is a 26.2 mile party. NYC, Chicago, Marine Corps, Boston all have awesome crowds and crazy-good energy. I imagine the marathon through wine country in France would qualify. I’m sure there are many, many more. Avoid anything that is only for “serious runners” or has a boring course.

2. Put your name in the lottery sign-up, then promptly forget that you signed up. Make bold statements that you are NEVER running a fall marathon again even though you just threw your name into the lottery for one. Your name never comes up anyway.

3. Genuinely be surprised when you find out in March that you got a bib. Temper your excitement with the realization that you will now need to train through another hot summer and insanely busy September. Tuck that way back in the recesses of your mind and carry on with a fun spring. It all seems pretty far away, anyway.

4. Don’t train too hard. Not because you don’t want to (well, there is a part of you that doesn’t want to), but because you simply do not have the time. When did life get so busy?

5. Get your long runs in, even if some weeks that is – gulp –your only run of the week (it pains me to admit this, even now). They are key because they remind you that long runs are generally your favorite runs, and what is a marathon but a really long run? You can do this. Slowly, perhaps, but you can do it.

6. Do not – I repeat – do NOT keep a log of your “training.” It will only make you sad. And nervous. Maybe even a little horrified.

7. Step away from the internet. You don’t have time for that anyway (see #4). Do not keep up to date on the newest training plans and how fellow runners are doing with them. It will only scare you. Wish them the best, cheer them from afar and retreat into your bubble. (Do keep up with your Bestie’s training, because that is different and you love her. She is your bubble.)

8. Make sure your Bestie comes in with you for the marathon weekend. This is key. Maybe Tip #1.

9. Make fun plans after the race. It will give you something to focus on other than the race itself. A party hosted by one of your favorite people with an awesome group of friends, old and new, is ideal. All that separates you from it is a long run!

10. Order up great weather. 50’s and mostly sunny works.

11. Mill around athlete’s village and take it all in. It’s the biggest race on planet and a veritable melting pot. It’s awesome. Take mental notes and pictures. you don’t want to forget any of it.

12. Look around the start at your fellow runners, look over the bridge, look at the amazing skyline ahead and immediately decide to take off your Garmin. Put her in your pocket – you don’t need her today. Today is not going to be about PRs, fast miles or negative splits, whether you wear the Garmin or not. So let her go and just focus on the experience.

13. Enjoy every second. Thank every volunteer you can. Slap kids’ hands, laugh at the signs. Tear up at the many “Team Achilles” runners you see. Take in the different neighborhoods you pass through on your 5-borough run. Reminisce and feel a little emotional as you run through your old stomping grounds on First Avenue. Wow, you were young.

14. Catch sight of your Bestie – your biggest cheerleader – a moment before she yells “T-BONE” as you pass her less than ½ a mile from the finish. Her smile and energy makes you feel like you are running on air.

15. Feel exhilarated when you cross the finish. You did it. Not the way you usually do it, but that’s ok.

It’s more than okYou stepped waaaaay out of your comfort zone on this one.

And you are beaming.

What was your Best Race Ever? Was it a PR Race? Or just a great experience? Maybe you have one of each?

Sending out a GPS- Garmin, Polar or Suunto? Help!


Sending out a big, fat SOS, Poodles! Or, GPS as it were.

My Garmin died.
Dead.
Gone-zo.
Sweet Dreams, Garmin Forerunner 410. It’s been real.

The party is over for her.We had a good time, she and I. But she’s gone to that place where she’s always charged and her satellites are always found. 

*Sigh*

I’m running Marine Corps Marathon in 3 stinking weeks and my Garmin shit the bed. There’s a part of me that truly could care less. Much like how I’ve felt about my training as of late. Is it over, yet?!?! Gah. However there is a MUCH BIGGER part of me that ABSOLUTELY CARES WITH EVERY FIBER OF HER EXHAUSTED BEING! I’ve been training with Hansons’ Marathon Method and let’s just say that I’m plum tuckered. I can’t wait to run this marathon. Mostly so I can sit my tired can down and relax for a hot minute. 

I had my “peak week” last week. And after 63 miles, two crying fits and a case of pink eye later, I’m ready to wrap this puppy up. And then of course, My Garmin bit it which was simply the cherry on top of a Shit Sundae. You know how it goes. The hysterical exhausted break down that occurs roughly 4 weeks out? It’s awful. Add Dead Garmin and conjunctivitis and it becomes catastrophic. Onto the real question, Dear Readers. What kind of GPS am I getting? I’m just starting to look around, read blogs and reviews and get my act together. I know I don’t want one that will require a Ph.D in programming from MIT simply to turn on. Let’s keep it kinda simple, semi feature loaded and easy to upload. If it can yell obscenity laced cheers at me, all the better. 

So. Whatcha running with, Poodles? Help! 

Vermont City Marathon 2016: Feelin’ the Burn.

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I would like to preface this piece by stating straight on up front that the 2016 Vermont City Marathon and Relay was the hottest race I have ever run. EVER.

How hot?

It was soooooooo hot….

That they cancelled it. 

Yup. Cancelled it. Black flagged. As it was in progress. Done. Finished. Over. Stop, drop and melt.  Or, find a lovely Vermonter to hose you down and pad you with Popsicles whilst you wait for a school bus to drive your desiccated ass back to the finish. The news was trending on Twitter on Sunday. Vermont was trending on Twitter. How the hell often does that happen? That’s how hot it was. It was no joke.

It was the first time in Vermont City Marathon history that the race was halted. I ran the marathon as part of the 2-Person Relay and for those quoted with saying “it wasn’t THAT hot,” to you I say LIAR, LIAR, RUNNING SHORTS ON FIRE!!!  Because they goddamn were. You know it. I know it. We all know it. It was hotter than Hell. So unless you swiftly tucked your horns under your visor or jammed your forked tail into your running shorts, YOU, Overheated Devil Runner, are full of hot baked beans.

Brutal. All I kept thinking about as I watched the course warning move from moderate to HIGH, was that I felt like I was running a half marathon in a Bikram yoga class. Only add direct sun. There was no shade. No breeze. Nothing but heat. And it was radiating up from the lava field  we were running upon. There is a section called the Beltline which was easily the hottest spot in the North East that day. I can’t even explain how I felt. Cooked? Braised? Slow roasted?  All of the above!?!?  That was by mile 4. Within an hour, the warning had moved up to HIGH HEALTH RISK. I saw a runner down around mile 4. And from there until mile 13.1, I saw at least 5 more. It was horrible. The sounds of ambulances were becoming frighteningly common.  No bueno.

burlington free press image

Source: Burlington Free Press.

It was roughly 90 degrees by noon, which is not the only reason why the race was halted. There is something called the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature which I didn’t even know was a thing until I read about it on the Vermont City Marathon website. They did an outstanding job of keeping runners abreast of the heat situation via messaging and posting. Having run the full marathon a few years ago, albeit with a black eye, I can’t tell you enough how much I love this race. I’d run it every year. They do a great job. Besides, I love Burlington. And it’s vibe…and craft beer….and tacos…..and did I say beer?

A photo posted by Colby (@runcolbyrun) on May 28, 2016 at 3:17pm PDT

 

So. Back to the WBGT. The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is a composite temperature determined by measuring ambient air temp, humidity, wind and solar radiation on humans.  It’s used by athletes and even the military, to determine a person’s exposure level to high temperature. On Sunday, the WBGT exceeded 82 at 3 consecutive readings along the course. Because of this, officials were forced to halt the marathon due to the extreme heat. Tough choice? You bet. But I believe it was a smart, responsible one made by the Race Director and folks at Run Vermont. Would I have thrown myself into Lake Champlain if I was this close to finishing and it stopped? You bet.

I would have had such conflicted emotions. That’s a lot of training and sacrifice lost. Such time and effort. But let’s be honest, even in the most perfect training conditions, anything can happen on race day. With regard to the weather, it’s a total crap shoot.  I’m not sure who was going to bust out a personal best in extreme temperatures in light of the complete lack of extreme temperatures in the week’s leading up to the race. At least in this part of the country. Other than an 80 degree shake out run the day before, I hadn’t run seriously in the heat since last summer. Expectations definitely needed to be tempered. Or, completely thrown out the window. Among the runners I chatted with, they certainly had altered their goals. I know I had. It was so unfortunate for them. I would have been devastated if I were running the full. No doubt. But at the end of the day, it was the right thing to do. They called off the race at roughly the 4 hour mark. My heart breaks for all those who didn’t finish. Darlin’ Rae especially. I feel you, Girl. 😦

And me? My race was a hot mess. Literally and figuratively. I am happy to say I finished with my all-time slowest half marathon time, chafing in places that will go unnamed and 2 serious heart palpitations that made me stop in my tracks and walk. What. The. F*ck. And I was salted, trained, hydrated and Skratch Lab’d up.  See why I think it was smart to stop it?  That’s scary stuff. Fortunately, I was absolutely fine. I was just overheating and overexerting myself like 1000s of runner’s that day. I am also happy to report that my running partner and I finished in under 4 hours. Right before the Black Flag unfurled. We were lucky. I’m proud of our run. I’m even more proud of the gracious Vermonters who stood out in that heat and cheered, hosed, iced, Popsicled and orange sliced their way into this hot runner’s heart. Thank you! It was a tough choice, but a safe one. One hot run does not a bad race make.  Run Vermont. I know I’ll be back. 🙂

A photo posted by Colby (@runcolbyrun) on May 29, 2016 at 1:24pm PDT

 

Have you ever run a race that was stopped due to weather? How would you have reacted? Hot weather runner or cold weather runner? GO!

It’s Our Super Bowl!

Know what this weekend is, Poodles? And I don’t mean Valentine’s Day. As far as I’m concerned, that nude, chubby little winged dude can take his quiver and keep on flying. IT’S OUR SUPER BOWL. No. I’m not a week late! I mean it’s the SUPER BOWL OF RUNNING! It’s the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials! Which will actually be televised this weekend. LIVE!!! As in, ON STINKING TELEVISION. First time, ever!elaine

Am I the only one who is super fly stoked? I am more super fly stoked than the average running bear because I actually have people to cheer for. I have some fast, badass friends! CAN YOU STAND IT?!?! Clearly. I can’t. I’m freaking sweating. There are 5. FIVE of my fellow Janji Corps Ambassadors who have run Olympic qualifying times. They will be competing this weekend in Los Angeles. Yeah. We’re all friends and junk. No big. goodluck_janjicorps-1

WHO AM I KIDDING? It’s huge! I am a totally Fan Girling here. I am so proud of my Janji Corps Peeps. I’ve been thinking about them all week. The talent. The discipline. The work. The dream. To be that close. Simply put. It blows my mind. I know how I felt about qualifying for Boston. But the Olympics? That’s Other Level stuff right there. That’s not just finding a Unicorn. That’s finding a Unicorn riding a Unicorn. Who’s reading The Meaning of Life. Then the Unicorn hands you the book, tells you to keep it and whispers every winning Powerball number for the next 100 years in your ear. He then tosses a case of Pappy Van Winkle at you and trots off into the sunset. THAT kind of other level. Running is such a gift. And they have been granted a big one. I’m honored to even be associated with them. And Janji. Great people. Great company. Run swiftly, Friends!!!

So how does one get there? For each Olympics there are obviously qualifying standards that athletes need to meet. And they ain’t slow. In the case of the marathon, both men and women have to run a specific qualifying time between August 1, 2013 and January 17, 2016. There is an “A” standard and a “B” standard. From what (little) research I have done, I think the only difference besides speed is that the “A” folks get a hospitality package. Read: They’re arrangements are paid for. VIPs among the VIPs if you will. 179 Men and 216 Women have qualified to race. I KNOW 5! Squeee! You can see who else qualified HERE.

Men

  • Marathon A Standard: 2:15:00
  • Marathon B Standard: 2:19:00
  • ½ Marathon: 1:05:00


Women

  • Marathon A Standard: 2:37:00
  • Marathon B Standard: 2:45:00
  • ½ Marathon: 1:15:00

Just because you qualified for the U.S Olympic Trials sadly doesn’t mean you’ll represent the good ol’ U.S of A in Rio. (Although, they will all be Olympians in my heart <3.) The top 3 Male and Females finishers will comprise Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics. And the purse?

690x600_trials-prize-purse2 rock n roll

Credit: Rock-n-Roll Marathon

When to tune in!
Los Angeles, CA on February 13, 2016.  If you’re in LA get out and watch! If not: 

  • Men Start | 10:06 am
  • Women start | 10:22 am

Live coverage begins at 10:00 am PST/1:00 pm EST on NBC or NBC Sports Live Extra. Get your pom poms ready. It’s live, Poodles! 

What’s the closest you have run to an Olympic Qualifying time? Have you known anyone who has qualified? Or, ever meet an Olympian? 🙂

Baystate Marathon. The Recap. Part II.

Thank God Colby updated the world on our epic day at the Baystate Marathon in a timely manner. Had you waited for me, you might think we were still running it 2 1/2 weeks later.

It was a GREAT DAY. This is actually somewhat of an understatement. We were together this past weekend and talked about how it was such a wonderful day – from (oh, so early) start to finish.

First, the Baystate Marathon itself is terrific. I had never run a small marathon before. The race organizers and Expo volunteers could not have been nicer or more helpful. It definitely set the tone for the whole event. (PS – Baystate has continued to impress even after the event finished – we got an e-mail a few days after the race stating that because the race organizers were unhappy with the finish on our medals chipping, they are mailing every finisher a new medal sometime next month. Talk about customer service).

We got up bright and early on Sunday morning and were out the door by 5:30 AM. Had our first massive laugh of the day when we pulled into a Dunkin Donuts in a sketchy neighborhood on our way to the race. Colby and I first raised an eyebrow when we saw that there were “No Loitering” signs at each table that limited even paying customers to 20 minutes. Then, when she asked to use the bathroom, she needed to be buzzed in. Needless to say, once she was released from the custody of the bathroom, we decided to take our orders to go.

We parked – on the street – about 2 blocks from the start. I can’t even do that for local 5K’s. Or my local J Crew, for that matter. Awesome. Plenty of time to mill around and use one of the 8 zillion clean porta potties sprinkled around the area. Bag check took approximately 4 seconds, and there was a warm place to wait inside for the start.

Oh, did I mention it was cold? It was cold. Perfect running weather. Not perfect hanging around waiting to run weather. We were grateful for the warm place to wait.

We headed to the start around 20 minutes before start time but decided not to enter the almost empty corral because there would not be enough body heat there to keep us warm. I kid you not. Had Colby and I taken our places in the corral at that point, we probably could have toed the start line. Instead, we stood next to a building to break the wind and thought warm thoughts. I in particular had a really hard time staying warm, and Bestie that she is, Colby blew hot air into my back as I shivered waiting for the start. Friends don’t let friends freeze to death.

After a beautifully sung national anthem and a chaos free start, we were off. You may recall that I was nervous about this race because I didn’t have time to train properly. Another understatement. Most of my weeks had mileage in the 30-35 mile range. I had only one week where I topped 40. And some lower than 30. Yikes. By the time I got to “taper,” I didn’t know what to do because if I cut my mileage as per the normal guidelines, I would be below zero.

Well, next time I sign up for a marathon, I’m going to train by sitting on my couch and eating donuts, because I felt great in this race from start to finish.

The larger lesson, of course, is that you just never know how you will feel on race day. You can train perfectly and come down with a bug or an ache. The weather may be horrible, or you might get stuck in a bottleneck at the start that rattles you. You might even have a severe allergic reaction to something the night before the race that throws you off your game (Naaah. That never happens.)

I apparently trained “enough,” I guess, given that I had a solid base of training behind me from the two other marathons I ran in the past year, and the race conditions were perfect. Cold, only a little windy, and not too crowded. And the course, as advertised, is flat and fast.

The course was well marked, well supplied with water stations and had some really pretty sections along the Merrimack River. Spectators were strong in a few areas and spotty in most others, but that didn’t bother me at all. Nor did the fact that part of the course was a loop that you run twice. It was a huge loop and only partially overlapped. I definitely did not feel like I was running in circles.

There was not one part of this race where my stomach bothered me or I felt like I was going to hit a wall. I enjoyed myself every moment of this 26.2 mile run. What a gift.

I happily trucked along for the whole damn race.

I happily trucked along for the whole race. I look a little like I may have been speedwalking here – I swear, I wasn’t.

Somewhere around mile 20, I realized that I would likely PR this race. And once I hit mile 24, I let myself really think about it. By the time I saw the finish line, I was already celebrating in my head. And PR, I did!!! 3:42:11, beating my prior PR by over 5 minutes.

That look you get when you finish with a PR! You seriously would have thought we won the damn thing.

That look you get when you finish with a PR! You seriously would have thought we won the damn thing.

After being wrapped in mylar and medaled, I walked back to the finish because I knew Colby would be coming in any minute and I wanted to be there for The Moment. Because I knew in my bones that she would also PR. And BQ. And it would be A Moment.

A Colby approached the finish, the announcer called out, “And coming toward the finish, with a well-deserved smile on her face…” and I knew it had to be her. As you already know, she BQ’d. I thought, “Announcer Dude – you don’t even know. You don’t even know.”

It took me a few minutes to get to her because she was hugging her new Bestie – some random chick she met at the finish line (WTF?) – but when I finally peeled her away from her new buddy, we both started bawling. Loud enough that a race volunteer came over to check on us. And when she heard why we were crying, she started bawling too. We were messes, all of us. Colby, me, her new Bestie and our favorite race volunteer. A freaking spectacle.

Not sure what else can be said – this was the first marathon we ever ran together, we each had the race of our lives, and we got to spend the rest of the day basking in the glow – together.

Well earned.

Well earned.

It doesn’t get any better. It just doesn’t.

Baystate Marathon Pre-Cap

T-3 to Baystate and Colby and I are each in a our own state of chaos. Not about the race – just really crazy stuff going on for both of us. We are planning on buying some white flags and waving them. Wildly.

Thought I’d write one last post before this blog turns into “It’s a Bender AND a Nap (and a massage and a happy hour and a pedicure and whatever other forms of relaxation we find…”

Because we are TUCKERED.

Just gotta have enough gas in the tank to get through 26.2 and it’s officially rest time.

I don’t have a theme for this post, just some more ramblings before I start making a packing list…

I feel guilty because I have been so crabby about this race. I actually do care about races’ feelings, apparently. Such a loser.

So today on my run, I thought about how lucky I am to be running Baystate. I am healthy enough to run a marathon. It’s something I take for granted far too much. At the same time that Colby and I are running Baystate, there is a Breast Cancer walk in my town and I know several survivors and current patients who will be walking to raise funds and awareness. I am pretty damn lucky to be running a marathon for the heck of it on Sunday and I cannot let myself forget this. So my training was lame. Waaah, waah. I have a weekend away with my Bestie and get to see her kick butt in a race and see my family and enjoy the endorphin high of a marathon AND watch the Patriots while in Patriot Nation. I have NO complaints. None.

I like the vibe of the race already. As many of you know, Colby and I are matched with buddies through I Run 4 Michael.   I usually send the race director an e-mail ahead of time asking if I can have an extra medal or shirt for my buddy. I have always had a nice response to my requests, but I have never before received a reply from the actual director 20 minutes after my request telling me that it would be no problem and to come see him personally at the Expo. This is the smallest marathon I have run and I’m really liking the friendly and personal feel of it.

My 3 week old pair of shoes – On Cloudracers – got a hole in them last week (?!) so Road Runner Sports, with its amazing customer service, replaced them – overnight – but this means that I will be running in shoes on Sunday that have only been worn for around 26 miles so far. Not exactly broken in, but what can I do. It’s par for the course for this one, I tell you. I’m like a broken down barnacle barge. FYI, if anyone is looking into these shoes, Road Runner Sports said that this has not happened to other customers, and probably was a freak thing and not a problem with the make or model.

I’m sure everyone has been dying to know which new songs I ended up adding to my playlist after my request for suggestions. Sorry to leave you all in pained suspense. I added “Living Loving Maid” and “Land of 1000 Dances” because I have watched my 14 year old son play these in gigs recently (“killing” them, if I do say so). I added “Riptide” and “Want to Want Me” because my 12 year old daughter lays on her bed and listens to them just like I would have done if they came out in 1981. And I added “Sugar” by Maroon 5 because it’s my 10 year old’s current favorite karaoke song and I therefore have heard it so much it is already playing in my head all the time anyway. I figure that even if none of them puts a spring in my step, they will at least put a smile on my face since they remind me of my 3 stooges. I also plan to steal add some of the songs from Jessica @ Fit Talker’s spotify list – thank you, thank you, thank you!  What a great list!

You all undoubtedly have also been on the edge of your seats waiting to hear how I will fuel for this bad boy.  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner goes to Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie Energy Gel. Tried before a run the other day when I already had a rough stomach and it felt great. Phew.

It’s definitely time for taper to end because I have been cleaning like a fiend and throwing so many things out that I’m afraid I might toss one of my kids by accident.

Weather forecast looks good for Sunday. Cold – low of 26, high of 48, and partly cloudy. We are thrilled. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t change!

I think that is all I got. Well, I got plenty more, but I’ve got miles to go before I sleep (figuratively) and have to make my list!

Does everyone get monkey mind like this in the days leading up to race day?  I feel like my brain is an LP playing at 78 rpm…

…and if you are too young to get this reference, please do not tell me.

Taper Thoughts

Well, it is officially Taper Time in Marathon and Sprint Land, and here are a few thoughts that have been buzzing around my head:

1. This is the weirdest freaking taper for both of us. For Colby, there is no taper. She doesn’t have time to get the taper crazies because she is too busy running “Hanson style.” All day, every day. On a treadmill, for Pete’s sake. For me, it doesn’t feel any different from earlier weeks. Other than a handful of long runs, the past 16 weeks weren’t sufficiently different from a taper for me to feel like I earned this. I think we both feel a bit robbed. (and I’m feeling a bit scared.)

2. Overnight, the forecast for Baystate (yes, I’m checking) went from cool temps and rain to a high of 59 and sunny. Thank God the rain went bye-bye. It better stay that way. After my hypothermic experiences at the 2014 PMC and 2015 Boston Marathon, I have started to feel like a bit of a jinx. Let me repeat, Mother Nature: Cold = Good! Rain = Bad! Sun= Meh! Clouds please! But more importantly, can we please keep the weather for this race to something that won’t leave me with blue lips? Philly weather was perfect (40’s and cloudy), but I’d like to skip the serious allergic reaction part, as well. So I’m ordering up cloudy, 40’s, hold the nuts. Am I asking too much? Let me know.

3. I may not be prepared for the race itself, but I’ve got plenty of plans for afterward. We are going to have a full-on Masshole celebration! Wahlburgers! Laughing in a Boston accent! Lil & Mike! Watching the Patriots Game! I’ll bring some Patriots gear for you to wear, too, Colby. Yes, we need to suit up even if only watching on TV.

4. Anyone have any tune suggestions? This is a double loop in a not-so-scenic area with varying crowd support. I’m thinking a few new songs might not be a bad idea.

5. Has anyone run a good marathon on crappy training? Please feel free to share your success story. Oh, and by “good” I don’t mean “win.” More like finish with dignity intact and not in a medical tent.

6. Even a lame taper motivates me to clean. What is it about the taper that brings out my inner OCD? And good god, my house is a mess. I am overwhelmed.

7. I still need to figure out what kind of fuel I think I can stomach (literally) during the race. Ugh. I need to get on it. Honey Stinger chews are the front runner but they are so bulky to carry. Any suggestions?

8. This will be my third marathon in an 11-month period and I am just plain tuckered. I know there are plenty of people who run multiple marathons every year but I don’t think I was intended to be one of them. I think I could actually run 3 marathons each year, no problem, as long as I didn’t have to train. It’s the lead up that kills me. Either I train hard and am exhausted, or train poorly and am mentally exhausted from beating myself up about not training well. Either way, it’s exhausting.

9. I know I’m officially sick of training for races, because it has been a sheer joy to go out for a run this past week and not worry about how fast or long it was when I am finished.

10. Colby is going to kick ass at this race and I am so glad I will be there to see it!!

Who else is tapering? What’s buzzing around in your mind? And GOOD LUCK to everyone racing Chicago and anywhere else this weekend!