The time has come. I’m officially in taper for Grandma’s Marathon. It’s been an interesting ride the last few weeks, that’s for sure. Between taking some recovery time off after the 20-Mile Drop and then recovering from being sick for two weeks, I haven’t had a solid week of training in a while. Lucky for me, all that changed last week. I was back at it, feeling great and strong, and topped it off with an amazing weekend of running and racing.
Tuesday — 7 miles
I was fairly sore from the Cleveland Half Marathon last weekend, and I could still feel some residual soreness during my first 7-miler last week. I kept the pace nice and easy. By the end of the run, I was still sore but nothing too substantial.
Wednesday — 9.71 miles
My workout on Wednesday was tough. It was a stamina run and meant to be tough, so the goal of the workout was most definitely achieved. It wasn’t unmanageable, just tough like it was supposed to be. I also noticed my legs were sore again. I decided it was time to switch out my shoes. As I mentioned on Friday, I haven’t been great about tracking my mileage lately, but I could definitely feel it was time for a change.
Thursday — strength work
In addition to lack of shoe mileage, I noted last Friday that I haven’t been good about strength work since I’ve been sick. Thursday was the day to change that. I needed to get back at it, and get back at it I did! I considered just doing “half” my workout so I wouldn’t be too sore for my remaining runs but then I thought, naaaaah. Go big or go home, right?
Friday — 7.01 miles
Friday was fun. Thankfully I wasn’t too sore from Thursday (phew!). I had a 7-mile run on deck. I try to run with my husband whenever possible. It’s rare but sometimes it does happen. On Friday, my husband ran two miles with me and it was so much fun! When he was finished, I picked up the pup for three miles. I finished up two on my own. I originally planned on taking the dog with me for five miles, but given the humidity and the warm air, I knew she wouldn’t make it.
Saturday — 18 miles
Saturday was the Run of Death, I swear. It was finally sunny and warm (yay!) – just how I like it! Unfortunately I started my run just a tad too late and it got hot super fast. In terms of fueling, it was a total disaster. I didn’t do a great job of fueling the few days leading up to my long run, and once it gets hot out I tend to stop taking in calories and focus almost entirely on hydration. This isn’t a conscious effort, by the way, it just happens. I would eat when I thought about it, but it was, by all intents and purposes, too late.
I ran through my neighborhood for this run, and even called my parents to pass the time. It helped quite a bit to talk to someone while the miles ticked by. But it was still a mentally — and physically — taxing run, and after 15 miles I made the decision to stop at home to refill my water, use the restroom, and change my shoes. With just three miles left, I thought this would be a nice refresher of sorts.
Three miles isn’t much. It’s less than a 5K really. It’s a quick out-and-back. So I did what any sane person would do and left my hydration pack at home. (This is where things really started to get fun!) I headed out to finish my three miles. I felt “strong” — and by “strong” I mean I was mentally determined not to become roadkill but physically was a much, much different story. When I made it a mile and a half from home, it was time to head back.
A mile and a half from home, and I was parched. I was starving. And I had literally no energy to make it back to my house. I texted my husband that I was stuck at the end of our road and I didn’t know if I could make it home. I could run the length of three houses and then I had to stop. And not just stop and walk. I had to full on STOP. Then I could run a few more houses and stop again. This went on at least four times in a mile and a half. I was a hot mess if ever there was one.
I finally made it home and I was shaking because I was so depleted of nutrients. As soon as I had my shoes off, I stuffed my face with a banana, a bagel and cream cheese, and guzzled a glass of chocolate milk. And of course, felt much better.
I learned from my mistakes during this run. Going forward, I’m going to use gels. I don’t like them but I’m going to “practice” during my next few runs because they are one of the quickest ways to get fuel when you need it fast. I’ll also time my runs a little better and head out earlier. And last, I won’t run without water if I’m in that kind of state, especially when it’s hot out and regardless of the mileage.
Sunday — 2.67 cycling miles
As predicted, I woke up fairly destroyed on Sunday, but headed out to meet my runners. I cycled to rest my legs a bit. Also because I had some plans for Monday…
Memorial Day 4-Mile Race Recap
There’s this super awesome 4-mile race in my old neighborhood. It’s an easy course and a really laid back race. I ran it once before in 2014, and decided to run again this year with my friend, Julie. I didn’t have plans to PR, per se, but when I run short distances a PR is always on my mind. 5Ks and 4-milers are my favorite race distances and I usually do fairly well when I run them.
I hadn’t done any speed work and zero prep for this race. In fact, I didn’t even tell my coach I was doing it. I just added it in as part of a training run. I didn’t want to mess up my training schedule and I also didn’t want any pressure just in case I didn’t want to go for the PR or if I felt like it wasn’t within my reach. So I kept my goals on the down low from basically everyone except myself.
Julie and I did a warm-up mile and while we were running I asked if she was racing. I already knew that answer because Julie always races. When she asked me I decided I might as well. What have I got to lose, right? As we lined up for the race, we said our good lucks and goodbyes and then we were off!
The first mile was fun. I was getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. The second mile wasn’t too challenging. I backed off a bit because I knew I had two miles left and needed some energy in the tank.
The third mile was when I started running neck and neck with what I think was a 9 or 10 year old girl. She might have been a little older, but not much. She and I were literally stride for stride. It was both nerve-wracking and kind of fun. She was trying really hard to keep up with me and I was trying not to be a jerk. Finally I looked over at her and said, “you’re doing a really great job!” And she looked at me and said, “you are, too!” It was super sweet. We got to the top of a hill and I told her to make sure she saved something for the end. She nodded and we kept on.
The fourth mile was when I turned up the heat. I lost my little running partner for a few paces but then I heard her breathing next to me. I turned to her — we were within a quarter mile of the finish, maybe a little less — and I told her to sprint it in. She didn’t at first and I yelled “GO!” and off she went. That girl had a nice kick at the end — and she placed first in her age group!
As for me, I gunned it at the end as well. I didn’t have a ton left in my own tank, but I had enough to snag a nice little PR and a second place AG win to boot. It was my first AG anything so I was super stoked. I even got this awesome little plaque to show for my efforts!
Finish time: 34:34
Overall, the week went really well. I felt strong in all my workouts (except for the Run of Death) and I’m feeling good heading into taper. The 4-mile AG placement and PR really helped boost my confidence. I put in some major mileage last week and napped quite a bit. I forgot how much marathon training zaps the energy from me!
I’ll still be working on the hard workouts during taper, just dialing back my mileage a bit. And experimenting with all sorts of fuel over the next two weeks. Hopefully no more “wall-like” snafus and it’s smooth sailing from here on out!
TALK TO ME!
Have you ever won a race or an AG placement?
What’s your marathon fuel of choice?