Tapering my run; ramping up my excitement

After a long winter, and with a spring that feels like just a brightly lit winter, the past week has been relatively full of sunshine, for Southeast Michigan. After trading a crosstrain day for a 4.5 mile run, I had to keep a rest day and sit out a beautiful Saturday with my legs in mind (I had to ice a tendon in my ankle/foot after Friday’s “FAC 5k”).

It was all worth it for the beautiful midday run on Sunday. Steph strapped on her rollerblades and chased me around for a ‘figure 8’ patten cut through some of the local neighborhoods. It was a perfect day, and I had to keep my legs in check; they kept wanting to run a 10:30/mile instead of the 11:00/mile I was trying to hold. I did 6 miles, and it was an absolute pleasure. Hard to believe that a 6 mile run, that used to feel so insurmountable, could feel like a restful, breezy Sunday run.

My next 3 runs are 4, 3 and 2 miles, just to keep my muscles moving this week. I don’t know anything much about a taper, or about what really works for me, but I do know that my legs, after a focused 11 week training, are on the edge of being stressed out if I push too hard, so I’m going to let them recuperate so I can give my all at the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on Sunday. I’ve always managed in the past to take the smart route when it comes to strain on my body, so I’m going to keep up the trend in this taper.

But the excitement is hard to contain. I can’t believe it’s only 5.5 days away! I’ve been working toward it for over two months, and I feel ready for it entirely. My runs have all been solid, my times feel faster than they have any right to be.

Today I ironed out some intinerary details with Swem, and started assembling a little folder of papers I might want to refer to. I’m sure it’ll be overkill; I’ll probably have a hundred maps of the starting corrals, and the position memorized (intersection of blvd of the ailies and stanwix street, for us slowpokes thankyouverymuch) by the time the race rolls around, but for now it just feels good to put my hands around little things, and get ready for it.

5 days until the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.


4 responses to “Tapering my run; ramping up my excitement

  1. Hi Don,
    Once again – I thank you for including me on your mailing list.
    It’s been a pleasure reading this saga –
    And now I look forward to the wild and crazy party pics of the post-race celebration. Don’t hold back!
    No advice from here that you haven’t heard already – you seem to have learned a ton about the physical you.
    The simple things are what counts now: hydrate, a bit of a carbo-load the night before, double knot your shoes, smile for the many on-course race photographers, yada yada yada.
    You are probably headed for a post-race letdown, kind of like the wasteland that teens go through for a week or two after the big school musical is over. The extra time you have on your hands will be taken up by….. what?
    Enjoy! As one of Brian’s old toungue-tied coaches used to say: “You’ve deserved your energy.”
    ~ Paul Swem

    • Thanks Coach P! I’m nibbling on a bit of extra bread with meals this week (I’m told a lot of folks over carbo-load!) and trying to keep from weight gain.

      After the half I’ll latch onto a new plan as soon as I’m recovered; maybe a 5/3/5/10 routine with some speedwork on that short day, to keep the ‘blahs’ at bay. Once I’ve hit my target long distance, I think it’s time to plan out how to speed up and improve the quality of my shorter runs. Maybe get into a 5k or a 10k and get some PRs on the books to chase.

  2. In case I don’t have a chance before the weekend, wanted to wish you a speedy journey at your half this weekend. Good luck.

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