- Taper Time! Today's 15 miles was the last run of my 18 week training cycle before TAPER starts. Where did the time go?
- Heavy Legs. After last Sunday's 3 hour 15 minute easy run (is running that long ever really "easy"? I guess I should say Easy pace) which ended up being 23 miles, my legs were a little dead this week. Heavy. Things just felt harder. But that's normal for the last peak week of training before taper, right?
- This training cycle was officially the first marathon training from start to finish where I've had a coach guide me through every step of the way. What a GIFT this has been. It has allowed me to really relax and TRUST. I've also learned so much about training efficiently. Marathon training doesn't have to be HARD or FAST or make you feel like you are exhausted every step of the way. My coach has had me doing just enough. I may not be setting 5k and 10k PRs right now...or even close to having that speed but I do feel confident about marathon pace and threshold workouts.
- Steady Training. I had one week of this training plan where I was slightly injured. But I was calm about it all and really kept things in perspective. I took a few steps back, stopped running, cross trained and rested. I honestly didn't know what the rest of the plan would hold for me. I thought I might be more seriously injured than I was but things worked out for the last 4 weeks of training to be strong with 60-65 miles every week.
- Perspective. Really, I've kept such a good perspective this entire marathon cycle. I've seen running as what it is for me right now. FUN. I haven't been super ambitious about being the fastest I've ever been or running the most weekly miles as I possibly can. I've just wanted running to take the right place for me as I am preparing for a move across country and trying to be the best I can be at helping my kids make some awesome memories before that. So happy with the way things have gone.
- Such SUPPORT. I have to say...my husband has been so incredibly supportive of my training. I get most of my training runs done during the day before he gets home but on the weekends, he has let me sleep in and then been cool about me running my long runs on Sundays whenever I feel like going. This usually means me leaving the house leisurely (after coffee and slow start) about 10:30 or so. I can't say enough how much I value him. He's my biggest support in life. Always has been. Love him so much.
- Time management. I've written before about the question of "How do you find the time?" in regards to motherhood and marathon training. So much easier now than ever since I have some kids in school. Really it is just about being efficient with your time. I use every minute of my day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes to get a run in after dropping my son off at preschool and picking my daughter up from kinder. I use that 1 hour and 30 minutes to the full extent. Granted, I'm always nasty and sweaty when I pick her up. I do volunteer in the classrooms on Tuesday and Thursday every other week so on these days I usually have to use the treadmill. This works too.
- Treadmill vs. Road. I've come to hate the treadmill. But it works and it helps me get my runs in. However, I've been so fortunate to NOT have to use it much at all this time around. Most of my runs have been outside. I've been so blessed with my Tues and Thurs time slots to help with this. I also have the best neighbors that ever were and I will miss them so so much when we move away. Our kids are best friends and we often trade watching the kids.
- Music while running? No thank you. This time around, almost every single one of my runs have been with NO MUSIC. Just my thoughts. My focus. And I love it! Even my 23 mile run was alone with no music. Quiet. In fact, I don't even think about much on my runs lately. I think about my run. My form, my focus, the moment, THE NOW. I love this!
- I've learned more about myself as a runner in this training cycle than EVER before. I've learned about what shoes work well for me right now, gels I like, things I need to do to prevent injury, that just because I can doesn't mean I should, and just an overall centered feeling with myself and my running.
- LOVE for my BODY. Not only have I taken the time for epsom salt baths EVERY NIGHT for over a month now, I've made time for lots of the important things like rolling, icing, compression, taping, stretching and LOVING and POSITIVE messages to me. OH, and SLEEP.
- Body Weight and being TONED. Doesn't matter to me so much this time. Seriously. Last few training cycles I've just gotten too thin IMO. I paid attention to weight and I did more to stay toned. Nothing wrong with being toned. Doing Jillian once or twice a week. I love feeling and looking like that. But just wasn't my focus this time around. Only so much time. And I've realized that I don't need to look HARD to run my best. Ha! Don't get me wrong, I'm still in great shape and I love my body...I've just kind of let that go. And I'm about 5 to 8 pounds heavier than I was last year when I ran Boston. I'm 5'4 but 125 is a way better weight for me than under 120. Weight is so different for everyone. My friends don't believe me when I tell them that I'm 125...all my life I've gotten that. But it is a good healthy place for me. If I weighed the same as my other 5'4 running friends, I'd be so so so unhealthy looking for me. There is no way I could weigh 110-115 and be well nourished. Again, so different for everyone because they look great at this weight...STRONG! Anyway, I'm happy being a bit softer this time around and loving my body as it is. After my marathon I can go back to getting ripped with Jillian. Ha!
- Nutrition. I just stocked up on all sorts of good things to eat over the next few weeks: flax, chia seeds, kale, spinach, oats, cottage cheese, grains, almonds, etc. etc. etc. LOVE eating good. After my salad with quinoa and grilled chicken last night I just felt so energized. I shouldn't tell you about the 9:30 p.m snack of 3 pieces of pizza and half a pint of ice cream. Ahhhh, I had a moment of weakness. Does it make it better that the crust was very very thin? Probably not. I've got to knock that crap off. :) We almost NEVER have ice cream in the house but my daughter had a sleepover on Friday and we had it left over from that. Yikes!
- Keeping my Training Specifics more on the quiet side. You know, I haven't posted too much about my training this time around. I don't do Daily Mile or other forms of publicly logging my mileage and workouts. I guess I've just been a bit more on the quiet side this time around. And it has actually been nice. Maybe that is part of having a coach to discuss running with and give me my workouts. I don't have the same need for that social aspect that comes with sharing workouts. I have a few friends that I e-mail workouts if they ask or if I feel super energized about them. I also have a friend Stephanie (super speedy girl!) who has been there to run with sometimes and chat with me about marathon pace and strategy, etc. Thanks Steph. Can't wait to read about your last half marathon..can't stop thinking of it!
- Piano and Cello. I can't get enough of piano and cello music lately! Two groups that are always on my pandora stations: The Piano Guys and 2 Cellos. LOVE. I especially love The Piano Guys version of A Thousand Years (if you can get over the kind of cheesy part of two guys playing music in a forest, it really is beautiful music). I listen to it OFTEN. I mention this as part of these training bullets because this kind of music has been a big part of my CALM this time around.
- It has been so fun to look back over the last 2-3 years since I started Runninghood. So much has changed. Inside and out. And I've learned so much. I've also gained an incredible amount of richness in my life with wisdom from many of you and some very very dear friendships that I'm certain will last a lifetime. Writing a blog might seem pathetically self-indugent to some but oh well...it isn't for everyone. I'm happy to have my blog.
- We leave for Boston only 3 weeks after we move to Asheville, NC. I'm excited to be in Boston with my husband. It is a special trip for us. This will be our third time traveling there for the marathon together. I'm also excited that I will just be running Boston for FUN this year. Who knows if I'll even run it. I've got to assess how I'm feeling after my March 3rd marathon. No matter what, I'll be there. And I'll get to see people I love!
- So Bring on the 3 week taper. And the move to Asheville, North Carolina (if you're from there...gosh, I'd love to hear from you)!