Monday, July 14, 2008

A Whole New Appreciation

So we totally missed the taper and ran the marathon and I'm just getting to blogging about it now. Let me tell you- holidays and fun sure get in the way of running, blogging and blogging about running!

A quick word about the taper. The taper is what happens in the 3 weeks before the marathon. I find it to be the most difficult part of all of the training as you are doing LESS running! You got it- less...way less in fact...and in the week before your race, no running at all. More than any other part of the training for a marathon, the taper is by far and away the most individualized part, since everyone's muscles and physiology are very, very different, people respond uniquely to a taper. Myself, I don't do any running in the week before the marathon-...absolutely none at all. I may consider going for a 20 minute jog so my body remembers what running feels like, but other that that, NOTHING! The concept is very simple- your body needs to recover from all of the punishment you have just put it through in the training in order to be ready to race. There is only one way to do that- REST and RELAXATION people!

Other than that, a taper is very basic, it involves deceasing your running, especially your long run. I like to have my last very long run at least 2-3 weeks out of race day, however, I need a longer taper than the average bear so you will have to figure out what works best for you.

And now for the marathon...

WOW. It hurt. BIG TIME. I don't believe I've ever hurt like that before...not even when I was a swimmer, and let me tell you there were times when as a swimmer, I was HURTING. This is the first time that this has happened to me in a marathon. Normally I finish the race and am ready for more. Not this time. With about 10 km to go I was seriously questioning whether or not I was even going to finish and had to do some serious soul searching and mind over matter to get it done.

I'm not really sure why this happened. I have a couple of is that I simply didn't recover in enough time from Boston to be truly ready to hit a personal best on this one. My other theory is that I'm just not as fit as last year year; this I know for sure. Anyhow, I was out in a 1:38- the same as last year but just couldn't hold on for whatever reason. I finished in a 3:28, a time I am still very pleased with. Realistically anytime you FINISH a 26.2 you should just be happy. So many factors combine on that day that can make the race a virtual nightmare, so even crossing the finish line is a huge accomplishment. While I am happy with the has left me really, really hungry for more. Sigh. I know. And to think I said this was going to be my last one for a while. All I can say is that running a 3:28 and feeling like that has given me a whole new appreciation for the 3:17 I ran last year. Apparently that run was a lot tougher than I gave it credit for.

On a side note, the Calgary marathon has been moved to May for next year. Apparently the policing and finding volunteers was difficult in July since it is Stampede in the Stampede City at this time. All I can say is this may be a blessing in disguise for me- now I can run AND enjoy the first Friday out of Stampede.

Stampede and Marathon 2009- here I come!!