It's The Final Countdown...
Review of the 2 weeks leading up to the Calgary Marathon
2 Weeks Out
I am 14 days out from the marathon and I'm in a dilemma. Apparently tapering for a race is really important and usually starts 2-3 weeks out from your big day, but here I am getting ready to run a 40 km I was planning on running.
My ankle is really sore today, I didn't eat my usual pre-run rice last night, I set my alarm for 4:30am and I'm crazy tired, and my mind isn't 100% into it.
BUT I haven't ran further than 30 km in a month and that makes me worried, I want to try out my new water bottle and maybe my new compression socks, I've already gotten up and have eaten my normal pre-run breakfast.
Also, I know my mind is telling me I NEED to run because I ate "bad" things last night, I ate more than I would have liked and I'm having some crazy food guilt. We're talking really bad, considering restricting today and had thought of purging last night kinda thing. Maybe it was a binge? I don't know, I don't think so but I also have some of the same feelings. It really was delicious though (vegan breakfast burrito from Planet Organic). Man I wish I didn't feel terrible for eating things I actually really enjoy. I'm working on that.
Anyways. I'll finish my coffee and see how I feel... update will come later.
I hit the wall. I bonked. I sat in my car and googled what was happening because I have never experienced it myself. I thought of 100 reasons to keep going and 101 reasons to stop. I set an unnecessary (and not recommended) goal of 40 km for this morning but stopped at 21 km. Which sounds so dumb. SO dumb. I felt like I was running through mud, I had a gel, jellybeans and water but it still couldn't keep me going.
I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I'm happy with myself for listening to my body, but also a little disappointed in myself for not doing the full 40. I also feel scared and nervous that this will happen on marathon day.
I stopped at Safeway on my way home and had the most humbling and amazing moment. The cashier asked me how my morning was going so far and I said "not the best but I think it will get better," he asked why it wasn't great and I explained that I hadn't ran as far as I would have liked that morning, he asked how far and I said "40 km but I only did 21." He said "HOLY COW!" Laughed, gave me a high five and said he couldn't believe I ran that far, and that I wasn't happy about it. He then explained that himself and his autism group were training for the Half Marathon for Calgary and that he was having a hard time because 21 km is far. He told me I should be proud of myself for being able to do a half marathon. In that moment I completely realized how hard I am on myself and that yeah, I SHOULD be happy for what I've accomplished so far.
I'm really not surprised that I've hit a wall and that my body is feeling really fatigued. I've ran races the last 3 weekends in a row, before that I was hitting 30, 35 and 40 km for my long runs on the weekend. This happens to every runner, it was just my turn. It just really worries me. But this is when I test my MENTAL strength, which is the hardest part of running. I can train my ass of for the physical part, but if the mental side gives out I'm screwed.
I know I don't NEED to do this, but I feel like I should. So I'm resting the rest of the day, baking cinnamon buns, stretching and rolling, eating rice to supper, hydrating and going to bed early. I want to try for that 40 tomorrow. Which, yes, means 62km in 2 days, but I think I can do it. Kailey will be my support and inspiration for the last 19 km, and I will pace her which will be really nice.
My I'm asking myself my favourite question: What would you do if you weren't afraid?? And I'm not sure what I'm more afraid of - running that damn 40 km, or letting myself rest.
I did the thing. I got up at 4, ate my toast, PB2 and a banana (and a cinnamon bun cause they're delicious) and was running at 7. I decided to just do 1 loop before meeting Kailey, and it felt great. I stretched and foam rolled like crazy after my bonk and my legs didn't feel very fatigued at all.
Met kiwi after 15 km, had some water, a gel and some Dino candies then headed back on the trail for a loop. We did really good and I love pacing her sometimes. I think we ended up around 6:23/km average?? It was good anyways. Then we had to add 4km at the end for her to make her 19 goal so we stopped to she could change shoes, then added the last bit. My legs did not want to start moving again after stopping for her to change her shoes but we got it done, so I did 55 km in 2 days.
Total of 109 km in 7 days.
Now I have to taper..... shit....
Apparently! 3 weeks out from your marathon is supposed to be your hardest, with your most kms and longest run. I didn't do that. Well, I kinda did that?? Just in 2 weeks out.
I "peaked" earlier in my training than I should have, but that's because I had a lot of races to do later, and now I'm really scared that I messed up my training....
Also, vegan cinnamon buns are DELICIOUS
I can't tell if I'm more excited or nervous, and tapering is weird. I have spent 5 months running at LEAST 40 km every week and constantly thinking about training, where I'm going to run, how long I'll run (because I made my own plan), how I'll cross train (I was bad at this) and basically planning my life around running. Now I just run small distances, rest and wait.
After running so much on the weekend and having my calves feel like they were going to EXPLODE, I had no problem taking Monday off. I kept myself busy at home and roasted ALL the veggies and added turmeric to help with inflammation. Tuesday I ran 5 km around the indoor track at the U of C as part of the test I'm helping the kinesiology department with for the marathon. I had thought about running a bit more afterwards, but the rain made my decision for me and I went home to eat more roasted veggies before my 8:00 strength training session with Amanda at The Athlete Factory, where she really kicked my butt and it was awesome. This session was my last one that was included in my gift card I received for winning my age group in the Spring Trio 15 km, now she creates a strength and agility training plan for me to use at home/at the gym until my financial situation is better and I can afford to go more than once a month.
Trying to figure out a tapering plan is already difficult before adding in all my nerves, anxieties, excitement and lack of experience. I didn't know what to do for how much to run but luckily, I have Corrine in my life. I am extremely honored and thankful to have Corrine in my life and she really is one of the biggest members on my support and motivation team. She's a wealth of knowledge and has ran SO much, she really knows her shit and I look up to her in so may ways, both in life and in running.
I told her I was worried about how much to taper and she created a plan for me - after calling me crazy for running 34 km on Sunday after hitting the wall on Saturday.
I ended up doing 11 km today, it's so nice out and I was feeling great, so I did my usual route by my house. Even the hill didn't destroy me today. Does this mean I'm failing at tapering? Maybe.
I'm worried I haven't trained enough and I'm going to bonk. I know it's my first marathon, I shouldn't set any expectations and I should just be happy to get to the start and the finish without any injuries but I am my own worst enemy. BQ is far from my mind, but I would LOVE to finish in under 4 hours. I've already started thinking about my next marathon too (2017 Okanagan Marathon in October), which I know I shouldn't do.
So I'm setting an intention for the next 10 days: take it one kilometer at time, one day at a time and listen to my body!
5 EFFING DAYS
I WILL COMPLETE MY FIRST MARATHON IN 5 DAYS
Tapering is going well! I think? I mean, I'm my own worst enemy and have ran more than I need to or should but it just makes me freak out a little less. It's like test anxiety, you can study for hours and hours and although you can feel confident, you'll still always worry that you haven't studied enough, you missed a whole section, you don't remember that one damn table or chart and you almost always think you could have studied more. This is me.
I'm kicking myself for not cross-training more and for my lack of strength training and speed work (something to remember for my next marathon) and of course I could have run more or trained harder, but my saving grace is that my head and my heart are fully trained and I'm confident about that. SO much of running is mental, especially long distances like a half or full marathon, and the further you have to run or the more you have to train, the harder you have to train your MIND to be in it with your body.
On Saturday I went for a run along the river. The weather was perfect, I was having a great morning, I was excited for the weekend and I just felt REALLY GOOD. It was the perfect day. I was going to do a 16 km but I was loving my run so much I decided to run 21 km, I just didn't want to turn around after 8 and head back. It was one of those runs where you don't care about your pace, your splits or even how you look. I think these runs are so important but they can't be forced and they remind me why I do this - I LOVE running. Yes I want to get better and BQ and learn to run some incredible speeds but these are the most humbling and heartfelt runs and I think they mean more than the time on that finish clock.
I would love to run a sub-4 on Sunday, hell I would LOVE to run a sub 3:50 but I'm putting no pressure on it. I am running because of everything running has done for me physically and ESPECIALLY mentally. Running and marathon training seriously has changed my life.
I recently heard one of my favorite runners talk on her podcast about being nervous and how science says that the parts of our brains that are being activated and the chemicals that are released in our bodies are the same when we're nervous as they are when we are excited and the only difference is your perception of it and how you handle it. I 100% believe this. So I'm actively choosing to remember that any nerves that come up is actually just my excitement because I AM EXCITED!
My family is going to km 32/33 to watch me, which gives me so much joy. I know that will get me though the first 3/4 of the race and then will give me the boost I need to make it to the finish line 9 km later. It works out really well because my grandma lives 2 blocks away, I told them to keep an eye out at around 9:45. Lauren is going to see me race by in the SW section of the race, my mom is going to be at the finish line and because Kailey is running in the half-marathon, she'll be there too! I can't express how much it means to me to have the people who are most important to me come to cheer. They know how hard I've worked, the sacrifices I have made and they have supported me through all of it, and it means SO DAMN MUCH to me.
I'm so excited.
First, I'll say holy moly. How weird are numbers? Depending on what the context is, a number can seem so different. $3? Not much. 3 cars? A lot. 3 kms? Either a little or a lot depending on the person. 3 days can seem like an eternity or can go by in a flash depending on what you are counting down to. Today, 3 days seems like a long time and an incredibly short amount of time. I'm to the point where I just want to run the damn thing! There isn't much I can do now to change the outcome of the marathon besides stick to routine, rest and relax. I almost wish the race was on Saturday rather than Sunday so I do can do it sooner.
I'm ready. Let's do this thing!
Yesterday we had classic Calgary weather - snow in May. The day before it was 27 degrees and beautiful, so it dropped about 29 degrees in 24 hours. Needless to say, I did NOT run outside and went to the gym instead. I hate treadmills. I repeat, I HATE TREADMILLS. I get SO bored and it always seems so much more difficult than outside. Yesterday was an exception and I can confidently say that I kicked that treadmills ASS. My usual "hard run" speed that I used to use for intervals was 8mph, but yesterday it was my medium speed and I comfortably bumped my speed to 9mph for speed work. I was sweating like a pig and was fairly confident that my legs wouldn't be able to keep up, but they did! Another great run to get me ready for Sunday.
So this morning I wrote "3" on my hand. I started counting down the number of days until the marathon on day 58. I thought it would help remind me what I was working towards. I'll be honest and say it was also a reminder for food and would help me make decisions on food - this good and bad. It stopped me from eating many treats that came into work or people offered me, it reminded me to fuel my body, insisted that rice is my friend the night before a race and unfortunately it also had the effect of convincing me to restrict based on how I wanted to look on race day. A huge part of recovery is learning to forgive yourself and love yourself for who you are though, and that is what I'm striving to do.
The forecast for Sunday is Sunny and 23 with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. 23 is pretty damn warm and you better believe if I get really hot when I'm running that I am going to take of my shirt and run in just a sports bra. Hell yes this gives me massive amounts of anxiety and will bring up a ton of insecurities but I'm not running for how I look, I'm running because I love running. After running that far and for that long I wont give a damn how I look, so I have no shame in rockin' the sports bra squad.
I mean, I'm saying that now while I'm dressed and covered in a blanket.
3 day to-do list:
- REST - My sleep hasn't been that great the last couple days. The quality is great but the quantity is slacking. Early bed nights!
- Carbs? I don't really know how early to really "up my carbs" but I already eat a ton of fruits and veggies and this week I've added in bread but I'll increase it more for tomorrow and Saturday
- Stretch and foam roll - I did it last night, I'll do it tonight and Friday
- WTF am I going to wear??
- Try to keep myself busy in the evenings and ESPECIALLY on Saturday because I'll be losing my damn mind. What should I do? Who will entertain me??
- Pack stuff to take to my parents on Saturday
- Drink ALL THE WATER
- Shave my legs??
6 km'd yesterday - 5:26/km pace, 6 km shake up this morning - 5:18/km pace. Quick and dirty. I think my legs are ready to run!!
Can I run 42.2 now?
YOU BET YOUR ASS I CAN
Plan for tomorrow:
- up at 3:56 AM (yes, that's what my alarm it set for)
- What's the #1 rule?? DONT MESS WITH YOUR RACE ROUTINE
- 2 pieces of toast, pb2, banana eaten by 4:45
- occupy myself until Kiwi comes over
- heading to the grounds around 6:00ish
- Find U of C tent to get hooked up with my Garmin and Lumo sensor (I'm a test subject)
- 7:00 GUN - awkward trot/walk
- 7:02 actually start running!!
I have 0 expectations for this race besides crossing that finish line. I have hopes but I'm not putting any pressure on it. I'm so excited to see my family and friends along the route! No one ever comes to watch!! I'm going to be somewhere between the 3:45 and 4:00 pace bunnies (for any non-runners, yes they have bunny ears) and I run about 50 min per 10 km.
I'm really excited to get to km 32/33 at the turn around spot on 32nd street. Dad and Grandma are going to be there and ALEX IS FLYING IN! This is going to be great. I think there's signs involved too?? Mom and Kiwi will be at the finish line!
Thank you family and friends for being so damn supportive. I appreciate it more than words could ever express and I love you all so much!
Corrine - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for everything you do and being my biggest supporter and motivator. And thank you again for my present, I can't wait to open it tomorrow and tell you how it went!
Update on To-Do list:
- Decide what to wear - I'll be in a white tank top and BRIGHT green shorts if anyones looking
- Drinking all the water
- Haven't lost my mind just getting really damn excited
- I have stretched and will foam roll tonight
- Carb game going strong - sushi rice for supper :)
- Resting like a pro - bed at 7:00pm
- Didn't shave my legs but DID dye my hair - if I go slow, I'm going to blame it on the aerodynamics from not shaving. Good thing I'm single.