It's weird. I'm not really tapering. Technically, the marathon next weekend is my final long run, and THEN I taper until the second race 4 weeks from that day.
However, I am KIND OF tapering right now. I definitely need to take it a bit easy in between these long runs since they're getting SO long. It takes the body a while to recover from the really long runs. For me, I start feeling it when I hit 18-19 miles. I'm more achey for a few extra days. I feel really tired even when I'm getting plenty of sleep. My body is just getting worn out and needing longer to recover.
So, while I'm still one long run away from tapering, I'm definitely taking it easy this week. I went to run yesterday, planning to only run an easy 3 miles to get my legs loosened. It may be the hardest 3 miles I've ever run. I'm so not kidding. My legs just felt heavy and tired of running. Some days are like that no matter where you're at in the training, and I chose to just push through at a pleasant 10-minute per mile pace.
I'm going to do another light 3 miles today and then call it a week until next week. Ideally, I'd run 10 miles or so this weekend, but I know I won't do it in memphis. Plus, I think it's just time to take a weekend off and let my legs really recover so that I can do some light running next week and then be fresh for Saturday's 26.2 miler.
I feel good about all of this. At the same time, I'm nervous. I'm trying something totally new and I have no idea how it's going to play out. I know that I feel tired right now, and I'm nervous about what if I still feel this way on race day. However, I've done 3 marathons and I know that you feel tired when you're peaking... and that that is exactly why you taper. You get to rest and recover so you're fresh on race day. I need to remember to trust that knowledge.
I'm getting excited. Next weekend should be good. I'm going to take it easy and stick with a consistent pace. I will not try to "race." I just want to get the mileage in and in a slightly longer time that I hope to run in Memphis. I want my body to KNOW it can run for longer than what I want it to on my actual race day in December. Oh, I hope this works!
In other news, I had a very frustrating experience driving to work this morning. I was driving down my street and noticed a car about to back out of a driveway. All of of sudden, she went from sitting still to gunning it to back out, and I had to hit the brakes HARD to not hit her. I was mildly annoyed by that, but then I was behind her for 2 miles of my 3 mile drive (I know - my "commute" rocks!), going about 10 mph the whole freaking time. She kept just stopping in the road and then a couple of times driving over on to the other side and the oncoming traffic had to stop. I finally realized her back window was completely frosted over and could catch a glimpse in a curve that she was trying to run her windshield wipers. Apparently she couldn't even see out her front window! It was irritating. I think it was really irresponsible of her to go on the road when she couldn't even see out her window. Not only did she have like 10 cars being forced to inch along behind her, but she really put herself in danger.
AND - yesterday I was on a treadmill looking out a window to the gym parking lot. I saw a guy pull up on a motorcycle and park in the white lines next to a handicap spot. I came THIS CLOSE to getting off my treadmill and meeting him as he came in to tell him that parking in the white lines that are for the handicap spots is just as illegal as parking in the spot itself. But then I decided I'm not the keeper of the parking lot and I don't have any business telling him what to do. But still - annoying to see someone do that.
Here's the other thing about peak training: I think all marathoners agree that when we feel more tired from the high mileage, we also feel a little more easily irritated.
This girl is going to have to get to bed early every night I can over the next week and a half before the first marathon. And eat lots of good foods. I need to rest and recover.
(If you haven't noticed, a main purpose of this post is to talk to myself and remind myself that I'm supposed to feel tired and achey right now... and that I'm supposed to take it easy right now... and that doing so will enable me to feel fresh and rested on marathon day. Ok, I think I got it.)