One more week to go before taper, hell yes! Has it really been 3 months since I signed up for this ridiculous thing? Did I really set a huge weekly mileage PR and am on my way to a huge monthly mileage PR? Do I really only have to do ONE MORE god-forsaken long run before the real thing? The answer, thankfully [I think?] is YES.
Really, training for this marathon at this point in my life was one of the smartest things I could have done. As I'm randomly throwing myself around this new city hoping that a job will come my way while I bide my time before this whole 'grad school' business starts in May, running, and more specifically, having this insane 26.2 distance to shoot for, has given me a focus and kept me sane. While I really have no clue what's going on in the rest of my life, I know how many miles I'll be running on Sunday. Running has given me a reason to step out my door and explore the city as opposed to wallowing in self pity at the fact that no one has picked up my glorious resume and decided I was ideal for whatever position they were hiring for. It's like that Nike quote: there are schools you can't get into, neighborhoods you can't live in, clubs you can't be a part of...but the roads are always open. And as I basically picked up the life I've known for the past 4 years and turned it upside down, running has been the one thing that has been the center. The people and places I'm running with may have changed, but no matter where you are, 10 miles is 10 miles.
And so now here I am, standing on the edge of the end of this training cycle that more than anything else has been an exercise in me seeing what I could do. I didn't really follow a specific plan, other than "run more miles than usual during the week, and build your long run up to 20 or so". I had weeks that didn't go great, long runs that went horribly, days when I wondered what in the name of God was I doing trying to train for this stupid race. And yet, somehow, in one more week, the work will be done. I think I wrote a few weeks ago that I didn't feel like I got the whole mind blowing, "holy crap, I'm doing a MARATHON!" mindset, like in the moment I didn't feel like I was doing anything special. But as I approach the end of this journey, feeling in basically all ways the strongest I've felt in my life, I DO feel it. I can't even imagine how much I'm going to feel it when I cross the finish line of that marathon. Not only in my legs, but in my mind, and in my heart...I just feel strong, and badass, and proud of everything that I've done over the past few months.
[Apologies for the random ramblings/tangents...I tend to go off on them sometimes. It's why I have a blog, right? :)]
So one more week of hard training...one more week to get the miles in, harden up my legs and my mind for the task I'm putting onto them in 18 days. After this past week of training, I'm confident that one more week is really all I need to give myself that confidence that, come race day, I am going to kick some ass.
Monday: 22 miles [makeup for Sunday] [8:15 pace]
Tuesday: 10.2 miles total [warmup, cooldown, 4 x 1000 @ ~7:00 pace, strides]
Wednesday: 5.8 easy [7:48 pace]
Thursday: off [planned]
Friday: 10.8 progression [7:56 pace overall]
Saturday: off [unplanned...had a couple beers while watching the Badger game downtown and then came home and fell asleep...oops! I was sore anyway...we'll chalk it up to that ;)]
Sunday: 18.25 long [8:01 pace...I am SO happy about this run!]
Total miles: 66.8...mileage PR!! :)
So even though I slacked on Saturday, I wound up with a mileage PR which was pretty great. I guess having to do 2 long runs in a week will do that though...oops. Naughty naughty...oh well. I was really pleased with my 18 miler on Sunday. It was actually not supposed to be that long...I planned on a 2:20 run to step back a bit from Monday's epic event...so apparently I decided to run faster and make up for the lost time. WTF?! It was raining and like 60 which was pretty much perfect and I only stopped twice for bathroom breaks [random porta potties mysteriously placed along the Charles River definitely saved my life] and once for a gel. I was just amazed at how speedy my legs felt and I honestly wasn't surprised when I got back and saw that I ended up with around an 8 minute pace. Imagine if I could do THAT for the marathon...geez. But I'm definitely going to be more conservative than that since I don't feel like blowing up at 20 miles...but we'll save my pacing musings for another day.
One final thought: I got honked at SO many times while I was running Sunday...is it because it was raining? At one stoplight this guy seriously continuously kept honking at me and looking at me like I was insane. I was on the sidewalk, so it's not like I was in his way...so strange! And he was definitely not the only one...one car scared the crap out of me as I turned a corner onto a bridge (once again, on the sidewalk) and he just laid on his horn! I like to think of it as a compliment to my amazing blazing speed that people just honk because they're in awe. ;) But really, if you think my running's sexy, do you really think honking at me is going to make me stop, jump in your car, and drive away with you? If you're looking to impress me, get out of your car and run baby run! Haha, actually, I sort of doubt the majority of people doing the honking could keep up with me for more than a block. :) I'm totally used to it by now especially since during the summer I spend the majority of my time running in just a sports bra, but it still perplexes me and makes me laugh a little bit. Then again, I guess the majority of the population thinks that doing anything, let alone running, in a downpour is c-r-a-z-y, so they've got to express themselves somehow!
AND, I finally ordered my new shoes! RIP Etonics...you served me amazingly well, especially for $0.00 per mile. I think I'm going to take them out for one last victory lap tomorrow and then I should the the new Mizunos by Wednesday. Yippee! I always feel a little bittersweet about getting new shoes because of all the time and miles I've spent with those old worn out ones on my feet...but I guess when there is literally a hole in the bottom [I seriously should post a picture of that, haha] you know its time for a change!