Taper Time!

I can’t tell you how happy I am to report the Dallas Marathon is in less than two weeks! In the past four months, I had my first forty mile week ever and several weeks later, I ran over fifty. I have completed workouts with distance and pace that left me feeling strong. When I completed my longest run (22 miles), I was confident in my ability to cover 26.2 miles. Then last week, I began the first week of my taper, and all my confidence started unraveling.

This morning when I stepped on the scale, my weight was up and my energy level was down. The latter part of last week was rough on me. Some of it may be due to being overly thankful for the food on Thursday. It also didn’t help matters that I had an upset stomach for two days over the weekend. I covered my long run on a windy day, and on the speedwork day, I couldn’t quite nail my 10k pace. Due to my schedule this week, a four-mile run on the treadmill didn’t help my mood much.

It may be a combination of busyness and training fatigue, but when I looked at this week’s schedule (and saw the missing nine and ten-milers), I breathed a sigh of relief. I am ready to taper. My house is cluttered, my cooking lacks effort, and my time spent writing lately is pathetic.

I know I need to focus on the successful training runs I had in the weeks prior to tapering. Instead of worrying about my weight, I should imagine the extra muscle powering my legs through the marathon (even though I’m tired of hearing, “It’s just muscle.”) I will also continue to be thankful that I had an extra week after Thanksgiving to burn off some apple pie.

Now, is it too early to start obsessing over the forecast?

Keeping Running Fun

Do you have fun with your running? Or do you look at it as something to check off of your to-do list? Is it a means to an end so you can still enjoy indulgences? Is it a way to stay healthy and meet goals you never imagined possible?

For me, it is all of the above – and then some.

I love to run.

I love that my feet carry me to new places in town. I relish the time to sort out problems during a middle distance weekday run. I enjoy the diversity of challenging myself with speed one day, and on a different day chatting with another runner on a long run. I love seeing my times improve over time, along with my health. At the age of 38, I am in the best shape of my life.

With all these positives, I still have times – usually at the peak of training for a race – when I find myself looking at my run as something to check off my list. I sometimes sit in the car before a run with heavy legs. It happens during the highest mileage weeks, when my house is in chaos and my family is anxiously waiting for race day to come and go.

I needed to find a way to lighten up my mood and keep enjoying the runs, and last week I did.

I took my teenage son with me to the park for one of my longer weekday runs. He took his skateboard. At the designated meeting time, I headed back to the car but I still had about .15 miles to go. He was leaning up against the car waiting for me, but I have this quirk about getting my exact distance in. So I started running circles around the car to finish. My son thought it was pretty funny (or weird). When my Garmin landed on the even mile, I stopped making myself dizzy. It lightened my mood, and let him see another quirky side of me.

This helped move me out of the rut a little. After next week, I get to start the taper. I am ready.

So what things do you do to keep running fun? Or what quirks do you have?