Sunday, May 10, 2015

Trust the Taper

This is taper time.  I'd like to say that I'm really embracing it, but the truth is that my week hasn't really been different than other weeks.  I ran two four-milers on Wednesday and Friday, and today I did a long run of ten miles.  I also ran in place for about fifteen minutes before lifting on Thursday, so I count that as a mile.  The only real change I made was to skip my Saturday run and/or walk, which usually was between four and six miles.  Maybe I'm not doing it correctly, but the 2015 Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon will be my seventh half marathon, and I've done it this way almost every time.

It's funny (maybe not funny haha) that I post each week about training when the reality probably is that I don't know what the hell I'm doing.  Am I running long enough during the week?  Is my speed run REALLY a speed run?  Are the weights heavy enough when I lift?  Should I be doing those sequences?  Who knows?  I see my esteemed fellow bloggers, and they all seem to have a plan.  My plan is always the same, and it is the mantra I recite while I fist bump whoever starts the race with me (if you are standing next to me in the corral, it might be you!):  No falling, no puking, no dying.  I used to say No Crying, but I think crying is now ok if it's because you are emotionally involved in getting to the finish line.

I do know, however, that I need to hold back this week, even if I feel like I want to run more.  Science says that tapering works, even though every runner I know secretly believes that it will weaken him/her and lead to a more difficult race.  Not true, Peeps.  My coach says the taper should make you feel like a horse, nervous to break out of the corral.  It does.  Oh, it does.

Today I gave myself a treat, and I ran my favorite ten mile loop.  It follows the fading blue line from the old Akron Marathon course through Sand Run Park, around the golf course, up to Highland Square, down Merriman past Stan Hywet Hall, and down, down, down hill back to Sand Run Parkway again.  The first four miles are pretty much uphill, so it is a challenge, but finding this on the path at Mile 1.5 lifted my spirits:

How cool is it to come upon a painting in a metropark?
I stopped long enough to take this picture and then scan the QR code to see what this is all about.  The code led me to Akron Art Museum's Inside/Out Tour.  If you follow the tour, you can find paintings like this all over Akron.  Here is the link to this particular painting.

It has been a long while since I've run this loop, and it gave me plenty to think about: lesson plans, this blog, my family, my career goals, and of course the race coming up this Sunday.  I also thought about how far I have come in strength and pace and overall physical fitness.  I even flashed back to my first blog post, which I composed while running this very loop.  As I ran downhill for the last mile, I felt like I was flying, and as I finished, the rain started.  Perfect timing!


This is EXACTLY how I look after running 10 miles in terrible humidity.  Oh wait. . .
THIS is EXACTLY how I look after running 10 miles in terrible humidity.
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