Week 16: Highway to the Taper Zone

Mileage planned: 24

Mileage Complete: 20.8

Well here we are. The week of true tapering begins. It's only Monday and I already want to go for a run, if only to get moving.  

This feeling is exactly why I signed up for a monthly pass at Emerge over the weekend. Yoga may be a totally different activity than running, but for me it provides a similar mental challenge. So I get the benefit of physical recovery AND a mental challenge- those poses are harder than they look!


So, Monday night I headed to a class at Emerge after work, called "Bend into Bliss: slow flow and restorative." Tonight's class had an emphasis on hip openers, which I was loving, and the restorative part of the class centered around us having our legs up the wall, which was great for recovery after yesterday's 10k. 

Tuesday morning I got to run, and had I not been so excited about it I may have called it a wash because of the weather. While it wasn't raining, a storm was rolling in and the pre-sunrise sky was as dark as could be. Plus, the wind was going crazy. I made sure to pull on a reflective vest incase I needed to be in the street while running to avoid downed branches- it was THAT windy.  

It was eerie being out there alone during the short segment to Kasey's house, and I was relieved to have company once we were together. We headed out for our usual loop, and I was easily spooked to say the least- it didn't help when someone's halloween decorations started making noise as we ran by.... I may have jumped more than was necessary. I kept reminding myself that by mile 3 the sun is up most mornings, but this run turned out to be one during which the sun never rose, because of heavily clouded skies. So after returning Kasey to her house I got another spooky half mile home, and the rain started right as I reached my front door.  

The storms continued through to Tuesday night, and it was pouring as I headed to swim class. When I got into the pool area I was hit with a wall of noise - apparently a swim meet was going on at the same time as class, and the pool was packed! Class started off easy enough with a set that was repeated three times- 6x25m of breaststroke alternating with 75m of kicking drills. But those kicking drills were with the intent of warming us up for team sprints. 


Side note: I feel a little weird about referring to the swim class as a "Team," as I don't think I'm a good enough swimmer to be on a team, but that's what the coaches call it, so I'm gonna use the term here. I mean, I had to try out, so that makes it kind of like a team?  

Anyway- team sprints. Objective here was to swim 75m as hard as we could every 4 minutes, for a total of 6 times. 75 m in the pool we use is three lengths, and for me the hardest of the three laps is the middle one. I tend to push hard enough on the first that the second is a struggle, and during the second I get a little in my own head about how I will still have to do this one more time. Then in the third length I know I'm close to done so I can go all out without any worry. My times ranged between 1:22 and 1:25 for the 6 repeats- not fast, but consistent! I was happy with my effort. 

I was originally planning to do my track workout Wednesday morning, but the weather forecast called for rain when I went to bed Tuesday, so it got pushed to Friday. This made Wednesday a run-free day. So, I headed to yoga Wednesday night for a yin class. As passive as Yin classes are, they are one of my favorite class types. I always feel so relaxed after an hour of poses whose intent is deep muscle release. 

Thursday Kasey and I headed out into the morning and picked up the pace a little, with the weather being cool and my legs feeling good. It was another dark morning, so I was a little uneasy again. I suppose this also could have contributed to the upped speed. At least post marathon Dad will be biking with us once more, since we will have gotten through the time change. Of course there was swim Thursday night, this time consisting mostly of laps and not drills. 

I couldn't find anyone to get to the track with on Friday morning, so Mom and I made plans to head to planet fitness after work so I could get my workout done on the treadmill. I had plans to go out on Friday night for Halloween, so we headed right to the gym after work. I did a mile and a half warm-up, and then got to pushing the pace for the 5 Yasso 800 repeats I was planning on doing. Somewhere during these intervals Jennie joined us at the gym as well, and hopped onto the treadmill next to me to get her own run done. By the time I had finished the workout I was drenched in sweat - the gym was a little too hot for comfort.


Saturday was a rest day, so I hung out at home in the morning and then headed to a park near my house to help set up for a race that was happening that night. The race was being put on by a local company called "race awesome," and they award volunteers with race credits. By helping set up for this race they will reward me with two race credits, which will get me either 2 5k registrations or 1 10k registration, that's a good deal in my book! My shift started with unloading the truck that had everything we needed for the finish line area, and then setting up all the fencing for the finish line area. Once the area was setup we got all of the food ready, and the medals hung. When runners started arriving I got to check them in and hand out bibs and shirts. It was a new experience to be on this side of the race, and it made me appreciate how much work goes into putting a race on. I hope that in the future I will be able to volunteer at more races. 


Sunday I was forced onto a treadmill again, as it was storming too bad to run outside. I had my last run of substantial distance before NYC on tap - an easy 8 miles. Mom came along to the gym again and walked on the treadmill the whole time was running. Nothing really special to report about this run, as it was really just a standard treadmill run. Kasey and I were both bummed that we did not get to do this run together outside, as our weekend long runs have been a highlight during this training cycle.

With only a week to go before the NYC marathon, I am looking back on the last 4 months in disbelief. I feel like i just started training, just got into the groove of Sunday long runs, and already it is coming to a close. I feel like this cycle has allowed me to grow as a runner, to get stronger, and finally feel like I have some idea of what I am doing when training for a marathon. It may not be a perfect process, but I am growing and getting stronger.

The final week before NYC will include the expo, which is sure to be full of running gear and information. Once I have my bib, the race will be here and just waiting to be run!