6 days until the Philadelphia Marathon

Hey guys & gals! With less than a week until race day, I have a bit more free time and a ton more ramblings stirring around my mind. It’s taper time now, which for my non-running friends, means much less running to let the body rest and recharge before race day. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing I’ve done the prep work and have the fun excitement of race day ahead of me. That being said, the marathon distance is never a walk in the park so sometimes the mental prep of taper time is as challenging as the running workouts themselves. We are all our own worst critiques and I am doubtful of anyone who claims they arrive at the starting line 100% prepped with nothing else they could have done more. My mental state lingers somewhere between ready, aim, fire and oh flip this is gonna be ugly.

This past week I sat down in my coaches office and had probably one of the best prep/pep talks ever. We are on the same page when it comes to most everything but one thing I appreciate is the fact that I will be told no when a no is necessary. So when I brought up the idea of running Philly without a watch, I fully expected to hear a “Are you kidding? No.”  Instead I got a yes with an agreement that it was a perfect idea for me. So here I go, about to run a marathon without a Garmin, wrist watch, or sun dial There will be a nice pack of women that I can do my best to latch on with. The idea is to hold on as long as I can, be aggressive, and if I fall off pace a watch will be pointless because at that point I’ll be running as hard as I can anyway.  My favorite part of racing is…racing, and the watch has a way of making me a slave to the numbers instead of focusing on the process. As of now I only wear a watch on speedy days or long runs, no runs in between. From that conversation on, I haven’t been wearing a watch and I can say it’s been freeing.

Another thing we discussed was the plan for the Philly Marathon. Some people like to keep their plans inside. I’m not. I like to throw it out there. The more I do, the less intimidating it all seems for me. So Jerry asked me, do you want to run smart and PR (sub 2:47) or do you want to run all out for 2:43?  In all honestly my fitness is not quite 2:43 so going out at the pace is a huge risk if you know anything at all about marathons. I didn’t need to think about the question though, I’m going for it.  What’s the worst that can happen? I hit a wall and come stumbling home in a “bad” time??  I’ve done that before at the Eugene Marathon and I survived and still laugh about it. I threw up in that race, walked a bunch, and said I never wanted to run another marathon. It’s all part of the ups and downs of our sport. And guess what, there are no BAD times in our sport. You finish, you’ve done good. I worked SO VERY hard to get to this starting line healthy. That was the first goal. Now the second one is to run as brave as I can….whatever that may be.

The specifics of taper have been going well. I’ve been into see the miracle workers at Direct Performance a few times to get additional needling work done and can say -fingers crossed- that my calf issues are gone. This is incredible for me. I had fears of running race day on a wonky calf but hopefully that fear will stay afar. I’ve had some promising watchless workouts and have successfully avoided the 100’s of sweets floating around this holiday season. We literally have dozens of Reeces cups in our pantry that my kids don’t want (weirdos) that I am waiting to eat next week after the race. I’m also about to pick up my race day shoes from Running Etc. I chatted with them about the shoes I had been wearing (Nike Streak) and we decided that bit more cushioning might be smarter for the marathon distance. I’ll be racing in the Nike Lunar Tempos. I trust them more than I trust my “Choose the shoe that looks fast!” method.

My favorite part of the taper though was running a race in Pennsylvania. It was a perfect last workout on the hills of the Philadelphia suburbs. The race was called the Fox Trot 5K and I cannot say enough good things about this race. It is held yearly in honor of Police Officer Brad Fox who was killed in the line of duty. The message, race decor, and talk before hand from the race director and others will leave you teary eyed and full of pride. If you are in the area, please check it out.  I LOVED this course. The hills had hills but it was beautiful and I brought my children (my daughter ran the 5K AND the kids run…she rocked them!) so I was thankful that there was a well organized kids run and also other family friendly details. Her are some race photos. no major recap from me. I ran without a watch and was thrilled to see 18:26 on the clock. Only about 35 seconds off my PR which was on a lightening fast course, so that was a pleasant surprise. I finished first female and 4th overall.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.44.07 AM




       My daughter and her Aunt Laura kicking it into the finish line!

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 10.02.03 AM

One last random thing, anyone give up coffee before their marathon to boost the effects on race day? I’ve heard of this method before and never paid into it simply because, I love coffee and giving it up for a week or so seemed crazy. This past week though I had a bit of a cold, sore throat, etc. and stopped drinking it. After three days I thought, well I might as well just hold off till race day and see if that theory works.  Let me know if you’ve done the coffee fast before a marathon and it paid off for you. If you did it and it ended disastrously, you can keep that to yourself.

Thank you all for reading! I am bib number 18 this weekend.  Can’t wait to meet up with so many of you this weekend and wishing all the runners an amazing race at Philly! Wishing my friends running the Harbor Lights Half a great race!!