Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Road to 26.2: Week 15

I spent most of week 15 stressing about the weekend long run.  Even though I'd run 19 a couple weeks earlier, 20 loomed large and foreboding.  I did everything I could to prepare mentally and physically: kept up with post-run stretching and nightly foam rolling, ate the right foods, planned out my route, and visualized myself covering the distance.  All in all, the 20-miler and the rest of the week went quite well.  Here are the workouts that led up to the big one:

Monday (3/16):  walk with my BRF.
A beautiful spring morning and a terrific start to the week.  Springtime + BRF = the good life.
Tuesday (3/17):  5 mile run and strength work.
Holy wind, Batman!  The windiest run I've encountered in quite some time.  At points, I battled merely to remain upright.  I noticed that the wind was coming from the northwest, so on the fly, I adjusted my route to run the first half north and west and finish with the wind at my back.  The plan worked out reasonably well, though I had to make one last northwards turn in the final mile and felt like I was nearly stopped in my tracks.
Wednesday (3/18):  5 mile run and strength work.
No part of me wanted to get out of bed to log these miles.  I snoozed an extra time or two and assured myself that I could find another time to run.  Finally admitting that it was now or never (and the window for now was closing rapidly!), I forced myself out of bed and out the door.  Not a particularly good or bad run, but I'm proud of myself for doing it when every fiber of my being protested.
Thursday (3/19):  walk and strength work.
A little walk to raise my anemic step count (thanks, Fitbit, for keeping me accountable!) and some strength work: glute work, planks/side planks, and push-ups.
Friday (3/20):  5 mile run.
On runs less than 8 miles, I like to go without audio stimulation.  I enjoy the chance to let my mind wander and enjoy the peaceful stillness of the morning.  On this day, however, I was taunted by a relentless song and desperately wished I had some other music or a podcast to force it out.  The Strawberry Shortcake theme song on repeat makes for a long five miles.  In case you wondered.

The neighborhood tree week 15: note the grass is turning green!

Saturday (3/21):  20 mile run.
20 freakin' miles!!  A run worthy of its own post, and one that I hope to write before I forget all the minutiae.  In a nutshell, 15 miles felt pretty terrific, 3 were uncomfortable, and 2 were a slog.  Just after mile 15, I was back in my neighborhood to pick up more water, and I really wanted to stop.  I was tired and my motivation was waning.  At just the right moment, I saw my daughter's teacher, one of the sweetest women on the planet.  Seeing her smile was just the pick-me-up I needed as I headed out for the final stretch.  Other highlights from the run: I was stopped by 1 train, hollered at by 1 belligerent old man, and nearly run over by 1 woman reversing without looking.  The inattentive woman was backing out of her driveway as my watch read 19.91 miles.  My thoughts as I realized she wasn't paying attention: "If I stop now, I will never start again."  "If she hits me and my watch doesn't click over to 20, I will go postal."  Fortunately, I jumped into the street to avoid her, kept up a killer pace, and finished with the fastest mile of the whole run.
Sunday (3/22): REST + yoga
After Saturday, which started with a 20-miler and ended with helping run a fundraiser for my kids' school, I was more than ready for Sunday's rest day.  My body felt surprisingly good, but I knew I needed a good stretch.  I worked in some yoga to relax and unwind my tight muscles.

A perfect weekend for books and Legos on the porch.
And just like that, we've made it to the taper!  I hope to focus on foam rolling and yoga while the miles diminish.  I think a big challenge will be keeping my food choices on point.  I've been surprisingly diligent in my diet as I can see a direct relationship between the food I choose and the way I feel on the run.  With fewer runs to keep me honest, however, I know the allure of junk food will be strong.  Step away from the Girl Scout cookies!