Philly Training: Taper & Race Week

Race week is already here. What?!

The hard work is done, and now all I need to focus on is not doing anything stupid to injure myself and not checking the weather too much and driving myself crazy. Harder said than done. Exhibit A: the crescent roll incident.

With just one, easy 3 mile shakeout run between me and the starting line in Philadelphia, how am I feeling? Anxious. Excited. Nervous.

I ran my first marathon in April 2013, and then I quickly ran four more in the subsequent 18 months. Now, with 13 months between me and my last marathon, and 14 months since I last raced a marathon, in many ways I feel like this is my first marathon all over again. That’s why I’m anxious and nervous.

But I’m excited because there are some key differences: I’ve trained harder, smarter and better for this marathon than any before it.

Training for this race officially started on July 20, and over the past four months I’ve run 800 miles, 24 workouts, three races (a half marathon PR, a mile PR and a 5k PR), two 18 mile, two 20 mile and two 22 mile long runs. Perhaps most importantly, I ran all my recovery runs at a real recovery pace thanks to my heart rate monitor.

I can say confidently that I feel stronger than ever before going into this race, but the side effect of feeling strong is big expectations and the corresponding risk of falling far short. (Again, cue that anxiety!)

It’s just 69 hours until the gun goes off…and I still don’t have a firm idea what I’m aiming for. If I’m conservative, I feel confident (barring any surprise issues) that I could pull off a 3:10…but if I look at my past workouts, the most optimistic part of me doesn’t think 3:05:XX is off the table.

So what did I do? I printed out a 3:07 pace bracelet. If I’m feeling good and conditions are good (right now, there are some strong winds in the forecast), then I’ll aim to stick to that pace for the first part of the race, and adjust from there when I get to mile 20.

But there is another source of anxiety: my foot. It’s still not 100% after I dropped a package of crescent rolls on it last week. I know that doesn’t sound too deadly, but the metal rim of the packaging really hit the top of my foot at a bad angle, and now I’m feeling not pain per se, but an ache under my second metatarsal head.

The weird thing: I feel the ache mostly when I’m sitting down, and it hasn’t bothered me on recent runs or when walking. Of course, the wild card is you never know how something that is fine during a 10 mile run will react during miles 20-26.2.

Anyway, all I can do now is rest it, ice it, take ibuprofen and hope for this best. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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