Taper Thoughts

Hello, hello!

I think we have officially survived the remnants of Hurricane Patricia that blew through our area here in lower Alabama. It’s been a very soggy couple of days, but otherwise not too bad.

I had a couple of interviews Monday in Mobile (related to the Runner’s World cover search), so I had to brave the Bay Way in the middle of the storm. Thankfully I made it in one piece and on time, nonetheless. I had a few hours to kill in between interviews so I headed to Carpe Diem (a local coffee shop in Mobile) for some Monday morning coffee.

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I don’t know what it is about local coffee shops, but I just love them. I really enjoy the people watching. I find myself wondering about all of the people sitting around me (what do they do, what their stories are, why they are sitting at a coffee shop at 10:00 am on a Monday, etc.). People are so fascinating. Maybe one of these days I will get up the nerve to strike up a conversation with one of these fascinating creatures.

The first interview was inside at the WKRG (News 5 CBS) studio. Originally, we were planning to meet outside at a park but since the weather was horrible that didn’t work out. The rain had started to let up a little bit around the time that the second interview was scheduled, so we were able to met the crew at Cottage Hill Park, which was their suggestion. This interview was with WPMI (Local 15 NBC) and they wanted to interview Daniel and I together. The meeting location was perfect because that is the park where we first met. The crew had no idea about that though. It definitely made for a good topic of conversation.

Since the rain had let up a little bit at this point, they wanted to get some footage of us running. I threw on a hat and a rain jacket and we ran some circles around the parking lot. I was pretty much drenched by the time I got home, so I probably should’ve just gone on out for a run in the rain, but I decided to stick to the treadmill. I did a very easy 6 mile run.

The grocery situation is pretty bad at our house at the moment, but since we are headed out of town it doesn’t really make too much sense to stock up on groceries. Lenny’s drive through for the win. We recently discovered the series White Collar on Netflix. I know we are a little late to the party on this one (since the series concluded last year), but we are enjoying it so far. We are also really enjoying watching The Voice. Oh, and a brand new episode of The Profit is on tonight after the debate. That is what taper will do to you. You have too much free time on your hands and you start getting hooked on television shows.

Tuesday morning I had a nice little 7 mile run with the middle three “up-tempo.” I ended up with an average of 7:52 for the run and did the middle three at 6:31 pace. My legs felt really good! I am getting so excited about the marathon. I hope they feel good on race day! I have nothing but easy runs in between now and then, so I should be rested and ready to go by the time the race gets here.

Speaking of the race … my office gave me the most thoughtful gift basket ever today. It has a journal, KIND bars, CLIF bars, candy corn (they know me well), a Starbucks gift card (they know me really well) and a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils! If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably heard me rambling about how much I love the movie You’ve Got Mail. I quoted part of it in a previous post that talks about NYC in the fall and buying school supplies. Joe Fox says that he would send Kathleen Kelly “a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils” if he knew her name and address … so they got me a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils! I love it!

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I am so very thankful for my work family. The work situation was a bit of a saga over the past year, but it seems to have all worked out exactly like it was supposed to and things are going really well.

Since this lovely taper (typed with no sarcasm) has given me a little bit of extra time to think, I figured I could post some taper thoughts and some final thoughts before heading to New York. For whatever reason, it is really easy to let self-doubt creep into your brain during the taper weeks. For instance, when I finished up my 14 miles Sunday, I felt like there was no way I could possibly run one step further, which is silly because I had run 20 miles the two Sundays prior to that. In order to combat the taper crazies, I am trying to follow the advice listed in this article.

First up is rest. I’m pretty much knocking this one out of the park. I don’t typically need an excuse to go to bed at 8 pm, but now I can be all like “taper made me do it.”

Second on the list is positive thinking. I’ve got a couple of things (songs, mantras, and strategies) that I am using to help me in this area.

The first song is “Soar” by Meredith Andrews. I love this song so much. It is so powerful. If you have time, you have to check out this video. Otherwise, here is an excerpt from the lyrics:

I’m gonna run and not grow weary
I’m gonna walk and not grow faint
Rise up on wings like eagles
To soar

I know with everything you’re with me
I know you’re working as I wait
Lift me up on wings like eagles
To soar

Creator, Keeper
Life breather
Your name is greater than anything I’ve faced

Sustainer, Savior,
Stronghold breaker
Your name is greater than anything I’ve faced

The second song is “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. This one’s pretty popular, so you’ve probably have heard it, but just in case you haven’t, here in an excerpt from the lyrics:

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

I’ve got a few mantras that I will be repeating to myself as I run as well. The first one isn’t really a mantra I don’t guess, but it is simply “persevere.” The second one might not really be considered to be a mantra either. For me, it used to simply be “overcome,” but now I am using “run to overcome.” This is the hashtag that I chose for the Runner’s World cover search. That whole process has been such a blessing and I feel like so much healing (for myself) has come from sharing my story that now I am making this one my personal mantra.

The last one is really random and doesn’t have all that much to do with running, but more about having confidence in myself. It is the famous quote from the movie The Help. “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” I have no clue why that one is sticking in my brain, I have only seen that movie once (years ago), but for some reason that quote is really fresh right now.

Speaking of confidence, the other strategy that I am using is an exercise in confidence as well. I printed out my training log for the last 4 months and highlighted some of my key workouts. The blue highlights are my workouts and the pink highlights are my long runs (OCD much?). I haven’t ever done this before, but it has been very reassuring to look back over all of the (many, many) miles and remember all of the hard work and successful workouts that have gone into this training cycle.

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Third is to plan a realistic race-day strategy. This article was extremely helpful regarding the actual NYC Marathon course. My coach also sent me a detailed race strategy yesterday, so that I can go ahead and get a jump on preparing myself “mentally” for the challenge at hand. Remember how I told you that Meb said, “Once the gun goes off, racing is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.” Just let that sink in for a minute! Once you start the race, how close you get to racing your best (based on your current fitness) is largely based on making good decisions and staying strong mentally. That is pretty eye-opening.

Basically the general game plan is going to be to use the first 2 miles over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to ease into the pace and then try to settle into a solid, sustainable rhythm. Basically the goal is to stay relaxed and smooth and to use as little energy as possible. There are several bridges along the course and I won’t be trying to keep a set pace over the bridges. I will just let the pace naturally slow a little bit so that I don’t expend unnecessary energy.

He also warned me to try to avoid the classic NYC mistake of picking the pace up unnecessarily after coming off of the Queensboro Bridge. This is where the course is flat and the crowds are loud. I don’t want to get too excited and pick the pace up too much between miles 16 to 20 and then run out of gas around 21 or 22 (that makes for a really long 4 or 5 miles to the finish). I pretty much don’t want to run out of gas period. That seems to be the all-elusive marathon goal though. I will definitely let y’all know how that works out for me.

Good luck to everyone running and racing this weekend!

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2 thoughts on “Taper Thoughts

  1. Hope you have a great race! Regarding your coach’s advice- it’s absolutely correct in my experience. I’ve run it twice and have come off of that bridge blazing fast but paid for it once I got to Central Park. AND- I’m glad your work saga worked itself out. 🙂

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