Taper time!

I love taper time. I really do. The hard long lonely runs are done, the excitement of the marathon is yet to come – it’s a sweet time of anticipation..

Although I never run a marathon in training for a marathon (like some other crazy folks I know) I find the 2 20 mile runs that Hal Higdon incorporates into his Intermediate I program pretty tough. Harder than the marathon. The reason for this is, I think, that I usually do them alone. I love running on my own generally. It gives me very precious “me” time, and I tend to unwind and destress from all the things that get me, a definite type A personality, wound up on daily basis. I tend to run first thing in the morning as well and I find it’s a great way to set me up for the day. All this works well for a 5/6 mile run for me. Once I get further than that, and particularly over 10 miles, I like company. Sally and I have not managed to co-ordinate our runs this season (though we may slip something in next week) and so I have been running all of my long runs alone. My first 20 miler went well. I did my second yesterday. It went … okay… I guess.

I have been suffering with a bit of lack of mojo at the moment. One of the ways in which this is demonstrating itself is that after 5 years I no longer find it enough to just run around our farm. In fact – I marvel at my ability to have done this in the past. You know even last year I would run 20M in laps around our farm – laps of 1.4 miles. This year I just can’t do it. I get too bored. I find that I need to run out and back for my longs so I have no excuse not to run back…

So far so good. Running an 8 miler before my half last weekend I discovered, by pure chance, a wonderful new running route. The irony of living in the countryside, at least in Lincolnshire, is that most of the roads have no bike paths or pavement and people drive FAST on the country lanes. It’s a bit lethal… But this road I found is paved and yet only one car width wide and goes between 3 little hamlets. There’s nothing there and the only traffic appears to be tractors.

So off I went on Friday. Dropped the kids off at school, parked in Brattleby, and set off. 20 miles! A loop, and then a bit on, and then back again. The first 13 miles or so went by fine. Nothing too eventful. After my half on Sunday I felt comfortable doing my 1 mile run, 1 minute walk technique. I chowed down on ShotBloks in the 1 minute breaks and was fine. And then at around mile 14, my sports drink ran out. I had cursorily topped up my CamelBak on my way out and assumed that enough was in there but the day had turned out unexpectedly hot and I clearly had not got enough. I stopped at the first house I could find. No-one in. Second house – I could hear voices when I rang the bell but the only thing the occupants did was open a side door to let out a Rottweiler. Into a pen. But still… Ok I got the message. Finally, at the third house an older gentleman told me “it’s much too hot to run” (21 degrees Celcius in September in England everyone collapes with the heat) and his wife allowed me to fill the bag with water. I slowly trotted off for the remaining 4.5 miles but by this point I had really slowed down. I ran half a mile, walked a minute for the rest of my run and I have rarely been as pleased to get a run over with as I have with this one. The stats weren’t too awful at the end – 3:18 for the whole thing but the speed was built up at the beginning – the last miles I went sloooowwwwllly..

So with this long run and last week’s race under my belt I have a few lessons to remember:

1. do NOT underestimate dehydration. It happens very quickly – I realise this now.
2. Chafing. Is bad! Do not forget to rub the chub! I did and it has resulted in an ugly scene. I’m not sure I will wear skorts for the Marathon – my half leggings are safer…
2. Do download Mika’s Life in Cartoon Motion. Grace Kelly has always been my powersong – Lollipop made me laugh at mile 19.5 when very little else could have.

From Last 20 miler before Chicago

So I’m done. Well not completely but the next few weeks are a lot easier which is hopefully is going to let me prepare for all the fun and frolics we have planned in Chicago!


10 thoughts on “Taper time!

  1. What I like best about that last 20 miler and the taper is that it marks a major milestone in your training. You have now “finished” the big training and now it’s maintain and stay healthy until race time!

    Congrats and enjoy the taper time!

  2. Chafing is bad. Check. Rub the chub…lol. Check.

    I thought your stats were great. I did my 20 yesterday in 3:37. I also fell off around mile 16-17. Prior to that, I was very consistent.

    Enjoy the taper lady! Happy Dance…Happy Dance!!!

  3. I can’t imagine someone sending a dog out… sheesh.

    I’m completely with you on the old, tired routes. There’s something magical about exploring a bit and finding a spot that no one else knows about.

    Congrats on hitting the taper. I love the requirement imposed of being lazy. You’re gonna rock Chicago!

  4. Wow Petra…. 3:18 is pretty good. That’s under 10min/mile…. I am not there, not even close… I am over 13min/mile…

    Did you do the whole 20-miler 1′ running 1′ walking? If so, what was your min/mile during the run?

  5. I propose a group trip to Petra’s neck of the woods! Doesn’t it sound dreamy? Where else can one go to a complete stranger’s house for water? I love it!

    Way to go, my friend. You are soooo ready.

  6. Wow, you are blazing fast compared to me! But I had to laugh at 21C seeming hot to you 🙂

    Great job getting the long runs in. You are ready for Chicago, my dear, and that’s all that matters. Enjoy your taper!!

  7. Great attitude. I am making a checklist every week it seems. I wore a new shirt for my final long run and I body glided everything upstairs. Of course, I forgot about the downstairs. It wasn’t until I was 5 miles in that I realized thatI should have. Good thing is, I wasn’t affected…

    I know about the courses. I know my inner city neighborhood better than I have ever know any neighborhood that I have ever lived in! I have several routes now. Variety is the spice of life.

    I tend to do my long runs alone. But the course I take is also where oh so many runners go all of the time. So, I am never alone. Some even like to talk. It is a great place to run!

    Congrats. I look forward to seeing you as I cross the finish line (Long after you do)!

  8. Keep enjoying the taper! The 20 milers are always hard. I like your reasons.. I am the same way in that I like running alone. Except that for the 20 milers even fitting them into a normal schedule gets challenging.

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