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.

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

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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!!

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33 thoughts on “6 days until the Philadelphia Marathon

  1. So excited for you!! Can’t wait to hear the recap! But…are you wearing a brand new pair of shoes for the race? I thought all the “experts” suggest never doing that? (Remember, I’m fairly new to this sport!)

    Loved hearing that you and your daughter had a great race. “The hills had hills” — bwahaha, awesome!

    Enjoy your taper and I will be thinking of you on Sunday!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oops, sorry Steph. I should have been more clear. I’ve been running in the Lunar Tempos for a few weeks now but will be wearing a “fresh” pair on race day that only have about 10 or so miles on them.

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  2. Good luck with your race! I can’t wait to see how you do and I’ll definitely be looking up your results to see if you meet your goals. Glad you got a hilly 5K in as a nice tune-up race and congrats on taking the win and running a great time in general, too. It’s neat that your daughter ran as well and you got to share the race as a family :).

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  3. Great post, Kris! I am super excited for you. I love that you are trying something new and going without the Garmin. You’ve run enough of these that you can trust your body to tell you if the effort level is right. I also love that you are going for that 2:43. I just ran my first race ever when started at a pace that I wasn’t sure if I could maintain, but was pleasantly surprised I could. I’ll be cheering for you!!!

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  4. Me! I stop drinking caffeinated beverages one week out. It is a struggle in the morning but, with the taper crazies and the pre-race nervouseness, that allows me to sleep a bit better at night and to pass out right away. I then have a double-espresso and caffeinated gels on marathon day (I save the Espresso Love GU for the end for an extra boost). It really does make a difference for me, although the first time around my heart was pounding so hard that I got a bit scared 😉

    Good luck on Sunday! Definitely go for it… You got nothing to lose!

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  5. Fabulous read as always, Kris! I always love reading how you’re trying new things to find out what works and doesn’t work…and running without the watch you go girl! You’ll rock Philly and I can’t wait to read all about it!

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  6. I don’t think I could give up coffee for a week, I would be cranky! I do hope it works for you, though.
    Glad to hear you are healthy!
    I an not doing Boston this Spring. My wife wants to go to Cancun instead. So, I am qualified also for 2017, and hope to meet you then in the “best smelling hotel lobby in the world”!

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  7. A coffee fast… Never done it but I’m interested in seeing how it works for a big race. Good luck this weekend! I love that you put it all out there. You are ready for big things!

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  8. Cannot WAIT to cheer you on from Chi! Team Race With Us will be right there with ya. I’ve done a caffeine fast and had really, really great results. It takes guts to even try it haha. I usually cut down on caffeine gradually instead of going cold turkey, but the last 2-3 days before racing I don’t consume any caffeine. Just one cup on coffee does the trick on race morning. (almost like road runner, ha!)

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  9. Last Sunday I gave my boyfriend the bowl of Halloween candy and told him, “I’m going into the bedroom for 10 minutes. When I come out, I don’t want to know where this candy is.” Haha…you have much more self control than I do!

    Anyway, I commend your ability to run sans watch! It sounds like a good idea in this case…And it’s so cute how happy your daughter looks in that picture of her running!

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  10. I did the no caffeine thing before MCM 3 years ago and it didn’t make a noticeable difference for me – good or bad. Caffeine affects everyone so differently though. I went sans Garmin at my last marathon and had a surprise PR — 4 weeks after my first 50K! So I definitely think that’s the way to go. 🙂 Best of luck, Kris! I’ll be cheering for you from afar!

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  11. You are going to rock this marathon! I gave up coffee before my sub3 until that morning and felt great! I think it depends if you have a sensitive stomach or not…plus I have heard a few people aren’t affected at all and had been tired all week for nothing! 😉
    Go Get Em!!!

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    • I’ve always been super sensitive to coffee or any type of stimulant/drug for that matter. When I had a scary healthy issue vicodin gave me the craziest trip. So I totally agree that everyone has different sensitivities. Thanks for that point!

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  12. Good luck! I say go for it. Like you said, worst that can happen is you don’t run a pretty time. My PR is 3:06 and I want to run sub 3. They day I ran 3:06, I was not in 3:06 shape but I tried and it worked. Right before my fall marathon this year where I originally wanted to run close to 3 hours, I strained my calf. I basically did not run during my taper, and knew that lining up with the 3:05 pacer was risky. On that day, it was hard and I had to walk/run it in. As soon as I realized it wasn’t worth hurting my calf over, I backed off and just enjoyed the race. My time wasn’t pretty, but I do not regret my decision to start the way I did, run hard, and back off. You will never know unless you try, and I believe you can do it. Get it, sister!! GOOD LUCK!

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  13. So excited and totally inspired by you Kris!!! I’ll be cheering for you! I know you will race your heart out and you are going to rock. Best of luck!!! Go get ’em!!

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  14. “What’s the worst that can happen? I hit a wall and come stumbling home in a ‘bad’ time? […] And guess what, there are no BAD times in our sport. You finish, you’ve done good.”

    This is why I read your blog even though I’m WAY out of your league. You’re genuinely supportive of all runners, and you’re honest. I’m rooting for you from northern MN!

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  15. I’ve given up all caffeine and sugar during the week leading up to a marathon and then used caffenieted Gu twice. The first time I thought it really made a difference – I unexpectedly PRd by 12 minutes and ran 3:03…although this was probably due to difference in training but every little but helps right 😉

    The next time I didn’t notice as much as a difference, but I still do it because mentally I think it helps me prepare. Good luck!

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