I’ve made it through 19 weeks of training and now I’m tapering for the NYC Marathon that’s in a little over a week!
In those 19 weeks of training, I’ve gone on 54 runs for a total of 336 miles. That sounds like a lot until you divide it up and realize my weekly volume was only 18 miles/week and I only went on 3 runs per week, on average. However, I did totally skip two weeks while on vacation in the Pacific Northwest (one of the best places to run, I know, ironic), and in the 10th week I ran only once because of travel to see the solar eclipse. Also, while I’ve been plagued by knee pain since I’ve been running again (hello darkness my old friend), it’s gotten worse in the last two weeks, and has even cut short (and cancelled) a few of my runs.
Encountering sharp knee pain during my taper has… not been great for my mental game. After a successful 18 mile tune up and another 19 mile run on my own, I felt great. My legs felt strong, I felt strong, heck, I even felt refreshed. But then I started my taper, and suddenly I’m having this knee pain issue, and I can only shake my fist at the sky and shout, “why, God, why have you sent me knee pain when I’ve prudently built up a base and am resting even more now?”
Of course, God doesn’t answer, either because he’s not real or he’s not a runner (do not try to tell me he ran in those sandals like a Tarahumara). And so I look to a more trustworthy source, my PT. He tells me to stretch and ice (and ice and ice) and he periodically
inflicts searing pain works my knots out and tells me to rest and stretch and ice some more. But even he doesn’t have the answer as to why my knees are hurting now more than ever.
So, I keep tapering. I’m tapering hard. So much taper. And I’m still carbo-loading (since summer ’77)! And I’m still dreaming of the expo and race morning prep and all the fun non-marathon things I’ll get to do after the race… But I’m not thinking much about the race itself anymore. Maybe because it’s such an unknown again? When training was going well, I was kicking myself for not signing up for another state and making progress on my 50 states goal. I’ve never repeated a state! But then I remember why I signed up for NYC – because if things go upside-down, I can easily pull the plug at any time with very little on the line. No flight, no hotel, no missed state, no pressure. And I might have to use that escape hatch after all.
My goals for this race are, in order of importance: (1) to not injure myself (further), (2) to finish, (3) to get negative splits (even by sandbagging the first half), (4) to finish in 5:30 hours or less, and (5) to enjoy it? I’ve already signed up for three more marathons next year, with plans to sign up for 5 more after that. And then 18 more after that… Plus I’d really like to run Tokyo… and Athens… and London… and Antartica… I guess I’ll just have to keep praying to the PT Gods…
How much do you love/hate the taper? What should my spending limit at the expo be? Do you think the more frequently I check the weather forecast, the less likely there will be rain? Share in the comments!