I am in taper mode now. The hardest workouts are behind me and in a week and a half I will be running my second Around the Bay 30k race in Hamilton.
It has been a busy few months preparing for this one. In a period of two and a half months the following has happened:
- surgery to try to fix my previously dislocated finger
- various appointments because of the above
- 4 to 6 hours a week for I-don’t-know-how-many-weeks-now because of a “frozen shoulder” or adhesive capsulitis
- two sets of report cards, one set of parent/teacher interviews
- an Ottawa winter, including a snowstorm that dumped 50+ cm of snow in 24 hours
- the general life/work/run balance that we all juggle
I found myself slipping in the positive attitude department. Maybe it was the winter weather. Maybe it was fatigue. Maybe I was just too damn hard on myself. I often felt like I was making little or no progress. I also felt frustrated with the fact that so many people I know run quickly with less training. It was like I was working hard with no reward. Things that were going through my mind included:
- “I am working harder and getting slower.”
- “I should be getting more mileage in.”
- “I should be running more mid-distance runs but don’t have time.”
- “Damn my G.I. system!!!”
- “My shoulder hurts. All. The. Time.”
- “My longest run should have been more than 27k”
- “I should have done more hill work.”
- “I think my age is starting to show in my running, maybe I am past getting P.B’s”
- “I can’t even run a half marathon in a reasonable speed.” (This was during the Hypo Half a couple of weeks ago.)
With all this nonsense playing like a broken record in my mind, it was pretty difficult to get excited for Around the Bay.
Last week I decided to change my thought patterns. Instead of the thoughts above, I started paying attention to these facts:
- I compared my long runs this training session to when I did ATB in 2014. If I counted runs of 15k and longer and totaled them, I ran 76 more “long run kms” this time around.
- My long run pace was similar to my long run paces in 2014, not slower like I thought.
- My last two long runs I picked up the pace a bit. In fact, my 27k run was done only one second slower per km than my race pace from 2014’s ATB.
- A few days ago I ran 3k at a 5:02 pace – slightly under my personal best 5k pace.
- Yesterday I did 5k of rolling hills at about 25 seconds per km faster than I plan on running ATB.
- Today I did 10k just under my hoped-for race pace.
- I seem to be recovering well after each run. In fact, that 3k fast pace was the day after my 26k long run and my legs felt great.
By thinking about the above, my mindset is changing. The fact is I am capable of improving my last ATB time if things out of my control go well. The biggest factor is of course weather. I can’t tell you how happy I would be if there is no wind in Hamilton on April 3rd. I still have memories of fighting ridiculously strong wind gusts for much of my marathon in the fall. I can fight it for a while but it obviously takes its toll.
A big issue for me is the G.I. issues. If you are a runner you know what I mean. My intestines hate distance running and cost me several minutes at a couple of outhouses during the Road2Hope Marathon in the fall. Those minutes in turn cost me my goal of a sub 4:30 marathon (final time of 4:34). There seems to be only so much I can do about this and so I am letting go of stressing about it. Instead I have a plan. This time my watch will be stopped if I have to use those lovely portable facilities at any time on the course. To hell with chip time, I am just going count running time. Let’s call it non-porta potty time.
So let the taper begin. I’m not antsy yet, but probably will be in a few days. Every ache and pain feels like a major injury now, just like what always happens in the days before a race. I am obsessively washing my hands in the hopes of not getting sick like I did before the marathon. Other than that, there is not much I can do at this stage other than to hold on to those positive thoughts listed above! (I confess I may go back and read the list daily).
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