I am almost in the middle of my three week taper period, and I am not exactly sure how I am feeling. I am regularly switching between excited and terrified, and have a hard time concentrating. I had meant to write this as my taper was beginning, but I've had a hard time putting the words to paper, so to speak.
Although training never goes 100% as planned, there were some things in my training that I was proud of.
1. My first sub-7 minute mile - yes, it was by a hair, but 6:59 is still 6:xx!
2. My longest run to date - 22.22 miles - and feeling like I would have been able to run 4 more miles that day - I know it wasn't at race pace, and there were breaks in there, but still!
3. Running two out of four 20 milers completely on my own - one of which was on a defective stomach - I felt that these experiences built my mental toughness.
4. Somehow managing to balance work, religious holidays, two orchestras, chamber music, family and friends with my running without falling TOO behind schedule.
Are there things that I could have done better? Naturally. I was disappointing that I didn't do a goal half, but a combination of life and holiday schedules just got in the way. Last year, I felt better after doing the Staten Island half, but this year, I kind of feel lost without that indicator race. The last half-marathon I raced was in May, with minimal training coming off of injury, and I consider it a miracle that I got a 1:51:23, so hopefully I have gotten stronger since then. I also wanted to run at least 50 miles during one of my peak mileage weeks instead of the 45 in my program, but I only managed 48.5. While 38mpw is a fairly respectable average over 13 weeks of training, a part of me is worried that I didn't get enough time on my feet.
However, even though I am freaking out, there are a few things I know for sure:
1. It may or may not be a time that I am proud of, but by two weeks from now, I will have done everything in my power to ensure that I finally finish a marathon.
2. I will probably at least make one silly mistake on marathon day, or forget to bring something, no matter HOW many times I double check things.
3. I will do everything in my power to make this a positive experience, no matter what the outcome is.
4. My race pictures will inevitably be awkward and most of them will have me staring at my Garmin.
5. I have an amazing support network of family and friends who will be proud of me no matter what my time is.
All of the significant training is in the bag. There is no cramming for a marathon. That being said, be sure to look for some ramblings about the expo, my marathon outfit, meeting up with running friends, marathon goals, and other miscellaneous thoughts before the big day. Less than 12 days to go!