Monday, October 26, 2015

Taper Crazies: The Road to the TCS NYC Marathon

The taper crazies have hit.  For those of you who do not run, this is the 2 weeks where you drastically cut your weekly mileage to prepare your muscles to run a marathon (26.2 miles; don't underestimate that .2).  This is where you review your training cycle and hope you 'did enough'.

The questions swirling around in your head can be staggering.

Did I run enough long runs?
Did I run enough hills?
Did I run enough tempo runs?
Did I? Did I? Did I?

Even though I have run over 15 marathons, 6 ultra marathons (anything over 26.2 is considered an ultra) and many, many half marathons I still respect the distance.  Yes I know I can run 26.2 miles.
Am I trying to race this marathon?  No.  I just want to run happy and enjoy it.  My focus is going to be shorter distances after this marathon so I truly just want to Boston Qualify (under 4 hours).  I ran a 1:37 half marathon the weekend before last and felt amazing.  Boom. I would be just fine keeping that train moving a little slower but nonetheless chugging along at a comfortable pace (for me). There is nothing better than feeling the miles click off on your Garmin without you realizing you are exerting effort.  Unfortunately, most runners know it is solely about THAT (race) day.  Race day can be anything, a mixed bag of sorts.

Each time I lace up my shoes to run a training run I always wonder if this is going to be a good day, tolerable day or a horrible running day.  Some training runs you question what the heck you are doing with running shoes on.  Some training runs you feel on top of the world.  This is where the taper crazies begin.

The time I would have used for running is now empty.  My energy levels swing higher and lower than a kid on a swing trying to touch the sky.  I find myself not sleeping very well either.  I have been waking up super early almost every day since my taper began.

The taper crazies have hit me so hard, I painted our youngest daughter's bedroom over the weekend. She is in her third year of teaching, so to say I dragged my feet is an understatement.  One of my steady running partners, Jeriann, helped me gather all my painting necessities because she was in taper mode till yesterday.  She rocked the Marine Corps marathon in DC with a 12 minute PR (3:25). I was singing and dancing following her on my phone all morning.  I should note I started texting her at 4:25am and she answered!  I think my husband was ready to have me committed.


Jeriann meeting me for a quick goodbye lunch before leaving for DC



My New York experience starts on Thursday afternoon.  I am lucky my Dad lives on Wall Street in Manhattan so I am walking distance to the South Ferry.  I will take the ferry to the starting line on Sunday at 6:00am. 

I found out that I will be starting at 9:50am on TOP of the bridge (insert yikes) in Wave 1, Corral D so I SHOULD have plenty of time to find where my corral is located.  I will also be taking a whole meal with me (in clear plastic bags) because I will be HUNGRY after just sitting/standing there for hours. One of my biggest racing idiosyncratic behaviors is that I need to see the starting line the day before or I don't sleep well because I will dream about the gun going off and I am scrambling trying to find the starting line.  Yes, that IS a taper crazy I have hung onto since high school.  I will have to deal with this this year because I will not be looking at the starting line the day before.  I will be visiting with family.

At Boston I had my friend, Jen Farrell with me.  Jen is one of my favorite running partners who put up with my crazy work  hours for years.  She was great about meeting me anywhere at anytime.  I still miss her immensely!  I will feel very alone without her with me at New York.

Notice the taper crazies unfolding in the above paragraphs?  I am bouncing all over the place.  I feel like a hamster who had their wheel taken away from them. I just want to run.....right now!

This morning I had a leisurely 6 mile run with some running buddies I do not get to run with very often.  We had a chatty, silly run that felt amazing in our cooler temperatures here in North Carolina. 
Beth and Amy allowed me to process my taper crazies while we chatted and ran farther than we originally scheduled.  This is why I love our Greensboro running community....EVERYONE IS AWESOME!

Amy and Beth were so much fun to run alongside!



I am sure I will have more to say about New York, Much more. I am trying to contain my excitement about seeing my Dad & Stepmom, and my sister and her family. I look forward to running all 5 boroughs by myself (alongside 50,000+other runners).  I think ONE of them will help me find the starting line before the gun goes off.

I leave you with a quote from William Shakespeare, "Things won are done, joy's soul is in the doing". I am fortunate to have supportive family and friends that give me daily encouragement.  Speaking of encouragement....here is a link to the trailer of my son's (Nick Westfall) first full length feature film he wrote and directed, "Finding Home".  I couldn't be more proud. It will premiere in Wilmington, NC on Saturday, November 21st on National Adoption Day.  Enjoy!