Sunday, April 18, 2010

What? I was Supposed to Start Tapering a Week Ago?

[Warning: This post contains objectionable language.  I am afraid that I swear like a truck driver when I'm mad. Please don't hold this against me.  I'm still a relatively moral, intelligent and classy woman, mother and school teacher.]

Why did the marathon group have their longest run today? I wondered as I read a Facebook post from the ERC Marathon Team coach.  The previous day my running partner and I had opted for hitting the trails for our short "long" run of 13 miles or 2 hours whichever should come first.  The previous weekend we did 20 so it was time to rest up with a lower mileage long run day.  Other than my spring break slack-fest, I had been following my marathon training plan as only an OCD Type A person would.  I frantically went through my file of marathon training plans from the past and compared them to those that I had carefully crafted for Eugene 2010.  To my horror they all confirmed that I was a week behind schedule.  This meant that rather than having the customary and highly recommended three week taper period, that I would only have two weeks.  How the hell did this happen?  I was furious!  I was worried.  Should I go ahead with the 23 mile run I had scheduled for the following weekend or should I start tapering now?  Increase endurance and confidence or rest the old weary legs?  It was as if my life flashed before my eyes.  I had been carefully training for over 18 weeks and I might risk jeopardizing all that by fucking up my training weeks like a dumb ass.  SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!!!!

As if that weren't bad enough, my IT band hurt like a mofo.  It hurt just to walk.  It felt like 26.2 wasps were stinging me in the same 9 square inches of my leg each time it lifted up off the ground.  I retired all my shoes with heels, my Uggs, and basically anything remotely fashionable to try to salvage the last few muscles in my feet and legs that were still functioning.  Running shoes and Keens were my foot wear of choice.  This lack of cute shoes decreased my cute outfit options which in turn, didn't do much to lift my spirits.  

The night before my scheduled 23 miler, I surfed the web for some reassurance that a two week taper wouldn't be disastrous.  9 out of 10 resources supported three week long tapering.  This wasn't helping... I sought reassurance from my on-line running comrades.  They were all encouraging and supportive.  A running acquaintance of mine who ran Boston last year did so with a two week taper period and did very well.  Should I run 23 miles?  Even if I should, could I with the way my legs were feeling this week?  Steve, my husband, my coach, ultra-runner, man who has been running for flipping 30 plus years, pulled an old dusty running book from the 1980s off a shelf, rifled through and spewed a quote that two weeks are customary lengths for tapering.  He closed the book and with finality turned his attention away from me probably hoping that I would drop the subject and leave him alone.  What?!  This book was nearly older than me!  Gu energy gel hadn't even been invented yet!  Hell, there was one point that marathoners didn't even drink WATER?  For all I know, that could've been when the book was published.  Seriously?  What the hell did they know about distance running back then?  He sighed loudly and reassured me.  "You'll be fine.  Go out there and do it.  If you feel crummy, stop at the 15 mile or 19 mile point when you run near the car for water and food."  He was obviously done with this topic and ready to move on.

It's not in my nature to let something like this go.  I would analyze it, scrutinize it and get to bottom of the problem even though it was too late to do anything about it.  I am a planner, an organizer.  I couldn't let this go.  I needed to know how I FUCKED up so that I can prevent it from EVER happening again for AS LONG as I LIVE.  I  checked my on-line training plan and found that it allowed for a three week taper and that I indeed was a week behind.  Spring break slack fest.  It had to have been the culprit.  I felt that terrible foreboding feeling as  I tore throught the pages of my spiral bound running log (One can never have too many means of recording their running data.) to confirm my theory.  No, that wasn't it.  Upon close inspection I noticed that my log revealed that I had another week left until the marathon!  All my calendars and everyone else must be wrong!  Wait a minute... I have never been good with numbers.  Could it have been my error?  Upon close inspection of the dates, I discovered that after 4/19/10 came 4/14/10 followed by 4/15/10 and on, and on until you essentially have another week! 

Mystery solved.  I couldn't  believe it.  I hope that my marathon dreams don't go out the window because of some pesky date errors in my first ever running log.  What's done is done.  I'd have to make a decision.  I limped around the house, getting my Gu gels, Fig Newtons, water bottles and clothes together, I looked over the "Hands Free 23" that my amazing running partner, Laura had carefully crafted for the two of us.  She had gone out bought Gummi Bears, Lay's potato chips and water and stowed them away at various parts of our course that afternoon so we wouldn't have to carry anything and would have aid at least every four miles.  It really was a fine course, with plenty of bail out options that I could take if necessary.  My mind was ready for the run, my body would follow suit once it got started right?  It was my last long run with Laura who had been training for this thing with me.  Once again I was eternally grateful to have such a fabulous running partner.  In the end, she was the reason I made the 11th hour decision to quit whining and get out there running bright and early the following morning.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, why don't you just make me cry! You're soooo amazing, Leah, and I'm so honored to have shared this great training season with you. It was indeed a good run Saturday and you will ROCK Eugene in two weeks. You're stronger than I've ever seen you mentally and physically, especially since you've been running trails. Cheers to the taper (even if shorter). Relax, eat and sleep well and nail that PR, baby! You'll hear me at the finish cuz I'll be cheering the loudest!