It’s cold and rainy this afternoon. There’s a mellow feeling in the air; the change we’ve all so desperately awaited is finally here. Indian Summer has ended. We’ve passed through the gauntlet and the cold front that promises to bring the first snowfall has arrived.
I picked up more KT Tape at the Boulder Running Company after blazing through the first roll in a week and a half. The magic stuff has held my knee in place and today, provided support to my sore heel during a recovery run. There’s still a little swelling in the knee but with the KT Tape I can run pain-free. I’m going to make it to the finish line of the California International Marathon come hell or high water… maybe a little of both.
This is my last full week of hard training before taper. Sunday, November 14 is my last Long Run, with 22 miles on the books. I ran 21 miles this past Sunday and it wasn’t pretty at the end. Friday’s 10k PR pace did a number on my quads and hip flexors, and they weren’t all the way healed after a mere 48 hours. I was good through the first 15 miles on Sunday, then muscles started getting pretty noisy and the tight right hip flexor went into full-blown temper tantrum. I stopped twice to stretch, the last time at 19.5 miles. And then I got hungry. Not “I need sugar” hungry but “I’m going to eat that horse standing in the pasture” hungry. I wanted food, and a LOT of it. NOW. The thought of eating another energy gel made my stomach flip-flop. I ate it anyway, but it did nothing to alleviate the serious caloric deprivation that was getting worse by the minute.
I made it through the 21 miles and even did two laps around the parking lot just to get the Garmin to hit 21.0 instead of stopping at 20.8 miles. No way was I getting that close to the end and NOT have a literal record of my accomplishment.
When I got home I ate three full meals in the span of five hours. My back went into muscle spasms three different times, so intense that I had to lie down. After the third time I stayed down; the message had been received.
It took a full 24 hours before my kidney function returned to normal and the lactic acid moved out of my muscles. This time around, I’m going to do it better. I’m going to bring cereal bars on the run in case I run into caloric deficit that requires carbs and not electrolytes. And, I’m not going to do speed work 48 hours before I run.
Maybe it’s the work that I’m doing this week, or the fact that taper hasn’t hit yet, but I feel like I’m in a pretty good place. Yeah, Sunday really sucked after the run. But it’s supposed to be hard, right? If training and running a marathon were easy, everyone would do it. The fact that I can run with Heidi and talk for two hours straight about the intricacies of pace, body heat, fuel, fluid intake, hormonal fluctuations and digestion, emotional releases, self-awareness and even mineral deficiencies as we age, tells me that there’s a lot of knowledge to be gleaned from the process of training for a marathon.
There’s nothing fast about marathon training. It’s a carefully planned process that can’t be rushed, much as we would sometimes like to move things along. Maybe that’s why I’m so mellow today. The gray sky reflects my contentment with looking back over the months and seeing where I’m headed. I like the change that’s coming. This fall has been a flurry of activity, both literally and metaphorically. One last big push, and then it’s time to taper, heal up those niggling aches and pains, and prepare for the big moment.