22 Miles Accomplished. Time To Taper.

On Saturday, I woke up early at 7:30 thanks to my UK jet lag. With a busy day, I welcomed the early weekend wake up. I immediately drank 16 ounces of Essentia water to start getting my body rehydrated and wake up for my 22-mile run. Around 8 am, I had a bowl of oatmeal with a banana and peanut butter.

As I debated whether to wear capris or shorts, I got my TomTom Cardio watch charged, water bottle located and energy gel/chews picked out. I rolled out my legs using a foam roller. Twenty minutes before my run, I had a scoop of Vega Pre Workout Energizer, which tastes disgusting but gives me energy like no other beverage of food. 

By 9 am, I was ready for my last really long run before the Chicago Marathon. Jess, my marathon coach, scheduled a 22-miler for me so that I could take it easy while abroad last week and feel more prepared mentally for race day. I’m glad she did. I listened to a new playlist for the first 6 miles and then switch my audio to the second book of the Divergent series.

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At mile 8, I ate a Clif Shot in Double Espresso. I have decided that Clif are my favorite gels and Honey Stingers make my favorite chews because they don’t get stuck in my teeth. I however brought with my Clif Shot Blocks in Margarita and Tropical Berry. I saved my first two chews for mile 12 (one of each), then three at mile 16 (two punch, one marg) and decided to skip my last two at 20 because I didn’t need or want them.

I drank water with my chews and when I ran by fountains. I walked for a total of about 2-3 minutes and other than that, I felt great all the way up to mile 20! I was shocked in a good way. I expected pain, defeat, fatigue but I experienced none of that. Boredom? Sure.

The last two miles were painful and required a lot of mental toughness. I run along the same path that I ran the day the Boston Marathon bombs went off. I in fact was running around the river when I heard the explosions. By luck, I left a party across the first bomb just 30 minutes before. I like to think of the people who were injured that day when I want to stop trying. The determination the survivors demonstrated in the weeks after the attack were beyond inspiring to me. I also think about the other Model of Courage for the Warriors In Pink, Tracie, who is running Chicago with me on the year anniversary of finishing up chemotherapy at the age of 30. 

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I was able to finish upright with the help of these heroic role models. I wobbled the last few yards to my apartment and made the mistake of sitting down. Getting back up made me feel 100 years old. How stiff my limbs quickly became.

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I did not want to get up. I drank lots of water, and let my legs and feet rest before making a huge salad with Friday night’s leftovers and devouring 4 macaroons.

I am not “tapering” which really just means, my long run gets shorter! I have 15 miles on Saturday which seems like a piece of cake. My other weekly runs are still around 4 or 6 miles. In just 3 weeks, I’ll be able to (hopefully) say I’m a marathon runner. 

Now that I’m confident I can finish the miles and I’ve got my food intake down (on race day, I’ll have one more “snack”), I’m starting to think about my time. According to a pace predictor based on a previous race, I’m supposed to finish at 4:00:54. To break 4 hours is a huge deal when it comes to running a marathon. I don’t want to set an unrealistic goal for myself but I also like having something to aim for. My pace has been around 10:30 per mile during my longs runs and the predictor thinks I’ll run around a 9 min/mile…

As a beginner, I’m asking those of you reading who are veterans, do I try to run a 9 min/mile or run at a pace I know I can cross the finish line with?

Today was my rest day and this is what I did…

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I felt kind of guilty going given the domestic violence issues going on right now, but the seats were a gift from my brother (the Patriots blogger) before everything came to light. I do think Roger Goodell should step down so I didn’t tweet or Instagram anything during the game because I wasn’t sure how to handle it. As my shirt says, “Do your job, “ and clearly Goodell no longer is capable of doing so and should resign already. 

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