Pre-race potpourri

A paella of posts, if you will.

So, I spent the weekend tackling a to do list that rivalled Santa’s. But I got almost everything done. And I took a two hour nap yesterday too. All I remember was entering the bedroom with the sincere intent of cleaning it, but instead lying down and waking up two hours later.

Some random things:

I did my last fast run before Saturday just now. The assignment was seven miles with three at 7:00. I did the three on a windy track and managed 7:05 avg pace. The wind was about 10mph, but with faster gusts. I had a choice: Either slow down or just go ahead and run the planned pace and work a little harder. I choose the latter option, primarily because I wanted to remind myself that if come race morning it’s windy not to be a fool and try to run planned pace anyway.

Upon checking the data, my suspicions were correct: I was running at 92-93% MHR, so my little three miler was more like a tempo run than an MPace effort. Unfortunately, the forecast for Newport is showing wind. But it’s still four days away. At the very least, I’m mentally prepared to adjust plans if need be, with a recent physical “memory” of what it will feel like if I don’t as reinforcer. I’m determined to have a good race, not just a PR, but also a race where I don’t suffer unduly as I have done in varying degrees in three of my four marathons. I think that’s what they call running a “smart” race.

On another note, I started reading Lorraine Moller’s memoir On the Wings of Mercury. I’m about 30 pages in, but so far I am blown away by what an excellent piece of work it is. With a few exceptions, running memoirs typically range from the flat out terrible (Dick Beardsley’s) to the merely pedestrian (Joan Benoit’s, Grete Waitz’s). Moller’s book, though, is a revelation of outstanding writing and expert storytelling. She did not use a ghostwriter, as I’d suspected as soon as I started reading it. She’s just an extremely talented writer. She’s also very funny. I’m looking forward to digging into this one on the plane. The book is not yet released in the US, but I managed to order a copy from Newton Running.

Finally, I’m in day two of carbohydrate depletion. A few years ago, in one of my many failed attempts to lose fat, I went on a low carb diet for several months. I lost weight, but not fat (I was about 8 lbs lighter than I am now, but I wore larger clothes). I have no clue as to how I tolerated it. I felt okay on the run, but toward the end I felt lightheaded. I’m also sick of eating nuts, cheese, eggs and meat already, and it’s only been about 36 hours. Thank goodness I can hit the bagels and fruit again tomorrow.

Swedish Fish have been purchased. House/catsitter has been arranged. Airport taxi has been reserved. All systems are go.

Spring Race Training: Week 18 / Taper Week 2

09spr-training-18This should be short. Because I only ran about 39 miles this week.

I’m headed into full on taper madness, much as I’ve tried to avoid it. Where should I start?

I feel fat and slow (I’ve been reassured that this is a good sign).

Where making lists and plans typically calm me, they’ve had no effect.

Every stupid ache and twinge heralds pre-race injury. This is especially ridiculous considering that I spent most of this cycle training with a groin injury as my constant companion.

I have zero discipline in the evening when it comes to drinking (although I have managed to avoid overeating). I want to quiet the voices of taper madness, so I have that extra shot of vodka. This in turn raises my heart rate the next morning, so I have no clue what my RHR would be sans alcohol.

I’m convinced that I’m going to catch a cold from some idiot over the next few days. What was I thinking when I scheduled our flight three days before the race?

On the positive side, my legs are finally starting to feel as if they’re coming around. Although my upper legs are way ahead of my lower legs, making for an oddly schizophrenic recovery. I went out this morning and wanted to rock, running 8:26 pace for the first quarter mile before I came to my senses.

I’m sleeping well, something that has surprised me given the cutback in miles and effort. I typically have bad insomnia during recovery weeks.

As for pre-race preparation:

I’m not bothering with “mental training” this time around. Doing visualization exercises has never had any demonstrable effect on how I race. So screw it. I’m going to approach this one as a purely physical animal.

I feel strangely calm when I think about previewing the course, which we plan to do on Friday — the first two miles on foot (easy run through the streets of downtown Newport) and the rest by car. I usually freak out when I drive a marathon course (because it becomes all too clear just how far I have to run). I don’t think it’s going to be an issue this time around, for some reason. (Famous last words.)

The only hard running I’ve got between now and Saturday is a seven mile “rehearsal run” on Tuesday morning. Forecast looks nice: low 50s and very low humidity. Windy, of course, but I don’t care. I only need to run three of those miles at slightly below MPace.

In the meantime…

* twiddle twiddle twiddle *

Ran 10 this morning

Easy going at 9:42 pace. My legs felt a smidgen better than they did a few days ago. Like, maybe, 70-mile-a-week legs rather than 100-mile-a-week legs.

This should be getting very interesting very soon.

I’m not running today.

This is the first day in 20 weeks that I’ve not gone for a run.

It feels really weird.

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