Monday, October 31, 2011

Taper Madness!

I saw this on G's blog and thought all my friends, family, really anybody who comes in contact with me in the next few weeks needed to read this!
A letter to the support team
borrowed with permission from Q
As the support team for a Marathoner you are entering a very tricky period. Your Marathoner has been training hard through the summer and into the fall in preparation for the big day. The hard work is done and TAPER MADNESS is ahead.
Marathon training is a stair-step type process where muscles are broken down for several weeks and then an easier week is thrown in for recovery. Finally three weeks before the Marathon, one last long run is completed and it’s time for recovery. The last three weeks are a period of descending running mileage. This period allows the body to fully recover from the training and rest in preparation for the Big Day, this period is called the Taper.
This all sounds well and good, however, the Taper is a period of great anxiety for many Marathoners (first-timers and veterans alike). Over the course of training for a Marathon, an athlete becomes accustomed to running many miles each week and constantly feeling the rush of endorphin driven highs and the persistent fatigue and soreness of effort. The athlete becomes addicted to these emotions and craves both the highs and lows.
The Tapering Marathoner will be irritable, anxious, nervous, overly emotional, short-tempered, restless, tired, cranky, and depressed (even more than normal). Sounds like a great three weeks doesn’t it? It is not unlike the heroin addict going cold turkey. This is a span of time where most Marathoners go a bit crazy. For most it passes after Marathon day. Of course there are the post-marathon blues, but that’s the subject for another day.
The first week is not too bad. It’s really like most “easy weeks” following a twenty mile run. Recovery is critical and the mileage is not dropping by a large amount. They are so tired from the 50 mile week that the rest and recovery is welcomed. Do yourself a favor, block HYPERLINK "" and HYPERLINK "" from your internet service, unless you enjoy continuous updates of the weather forecast for 18 days in the future. Nerves may begin to fray but the best is yet to come – trust me!
During the first part of Taper Madness you will hear about every small ache and pain and how it may be a broken leg or torn ligament or some other traumatic injury. Every twinge becomes a reason to think about postponing the marathon effort. Every sneeze, sniffle, cough or pimple becomes a life-threatening virus or infection. Tight hammies, inflamed ITB, tweaked Achilles, plantar fascitis, black toenails, bloody nipples, chafing, and this is just during breakfast.
The second week starts the deep depression. The tapering Marathoner starts to really miss running. There are no more double-digit runs before the marathon. The longest run for the next two weeks will be 8 miles. Just 8 miles, how many used “just” and “8 miles” in the same sentence prior to training for the marathon. The body is really starting to recover and therefore has more energy than needed. Therefore, the Marathoner becomes restless. No “extra” running is allowed. The tapering Marathoner can feel the fitness draining out of their body. Ask them, they will tell you, they are getting slower every day! This is not happening but the feelings are real. Physiologically, there is nothing but positives from a 3 week taper prior to running a marathon, however, it feels quite the opposite. This restlessness often becomes frustration and a very short-tempered athlete. Understand that this frustration will be projected at anyone and everyone within reach. It’s nothing personal; it’s the lack of mileage talking.
So it’s now six or seven days before the Marathon. The last 8 mile run is done and all that’s left is 3 easy short runs and the BIG EVENT. For the first time Marathoner and some experienced folk, this week is nothing but self-doubt and worry. “I’ll never make it. My foot hurts. My nose is running. I’m not ready. My last 20 miler sucked, I’ll die out there. I’m getting fat and slow. My shoes are dead, my shoes are too small, my shoes are too big, My legs are different lengths, my head hurts, I have a splinter, I have a hang nail, I hate running.” These are some of the things going through the mind of a Marathoner in their last few days before the Marathon. Not to mention the nervous energy that is overflowing. Not to mention that there may be a couple of extra pounds after cutting back on the running for 3 weeks. Not to mention that the trips to the bathroom are increasing geometrically as the hydration dance starts in earnest. Many find concentrating on anything other than the upcoming race difficult. By the way, Marathoners in the final days before a race often make poor babysitters.
Two nights before the marathon are critical to the marathoner. This night is probably the last chance for a good nights sleep. The night before is typically restless and worrisome (what if the alarm doesn’t go off). A sleepless night preceding a marathon will not have a dramatic impact on chances for success. Adrenaline will offset missing that night’s sleep and get the Marathoner through the race. The morning of the marathon is all about getting some food, using the bathroom and getting to the race. My suggestion, don’t get in the way.
I am sure your marathoner appreciates all the support they have received during the training program. The last few weeks are critical to a successful marathon effort. Please understand that the emotional wreck will disappear after the marathon. The Taper can be especially difficult and frustrating for everyone. The good news, it ends with the race.

I hope this sheds some light on TAPER MADNESS. Sometimes insight makes things a bit easier to understand. Of course, your experience may differ greatly but I’ll bet it doesn’t.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rocky Mount, Year 4

This past weekend we headed up to the mountains for our fourth year of Ghosts and More. For the past several years we have seen this reenactment of ghost stories in the small town of Rocky Mount, Va.
I love this picture I took on the way up there. Although it doesn't do it justice to the pretty fall leaves, but it was so weird to see snow in October.
It was so cold, so we bundled up. I don't know if i'm ready for winter yet!

Melanie did a great job as always playing her great aunt, and we really enjoyed the tour. We got pumpkin pancakes the next morning for breakfast, they were soo good! Yes, I'm blogging about pumpkin pancakes, but you know how I just love pumpkin!

So glad I got to go again this year!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

20 miles

I recently feel like this blog has become my online running journal. But I guess that is to be expected when you train for your first marathon. Neways, here's my recap on my first 20 miler!

The run started out great, had my wonderful teammates and it was a beautiful morning. Around mile 4.5 on Grove avenue I stepped weird on some uneven sidewalk kinda twisting my right foot. Ugh, this was already my bad foot, I don't know why but on the 16 mile run it was the foot that was killing me. It also made me have a small ache in my very lower back. I think this was from when I picked up a student on Thursday afternoon and it made my back hurt in the exact same spot. For some reason that weird twist made these 2 pains come back, and at mile 4.5ish. At first the pain wasn't too bad, and there was no way I was going to stop so I just kept running. I ran into my good friend and her 2 dogs which was fun. After this we headed to the nickel bridge. I just love this area of town, so beautiful even though the hills were tough. We ran around Forest Hills, and this is where the pain in my lower back and right foot were starting to really hurt. We were at mile 14ish and I knew the Lee bridge was coming. Now I've heard so many stories and basically nightmares about this bridge. It's long, extremely windy and well just tough. All I can say is I made it. The skyline of Richmond was breathtaking, the water below was lovely, but it was tough. It was so windy and I thought it would never end. We ran up Main street where we saw our coach. I told her I needed a pep talk, anything would do. My right foot and lower back were killing me, but I didn't say anything. I just kept going. I was craving pretzels, the last 3 or 4 sags had ran out and I really just needed some salt. We made it to the Boulevard and ran up that huge hill at mile 19. Running past the stadium was mentally hard, but this run was suppose to stimulate actual raceday, and on raceday I'll have to run past the stadium as well. Good to know I can do it. By this point I was in so much pain, really just my lower back and right foot. Somehow I made it through. I wish I could say it felt as good as my 18 miler, but I honestly felt stronger on that run. I ran into that stadium, and ahhh, it was amazing. My first 20 miler.

One reason why I just love the marathon training team is because of my silver team. We know how to have fun. We had a huge party afterwards with lots of food and drinks. They even had a trash can set up with cold water and lots of ice for those who wanted to do their ice bath there. I went in and couldn't help but think, why am I doing this? My coach is giving me advil and I'm drinking a mimosa, ha! But I felt soooo much better afterwards. It was great to celebrate with my teammates, for many of us it was our first 20 miler.

I still can't believe I ran for 4 hours without stopping. Really? Who would have thought this girl who has only been running for a year would be running a marathon in just 3 weeks. I honestly have loved my time training for the marathon. But now it's time to taper!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Brain Dump

I feel like I need to update this blog, I've been slacking on it! So much has been going on, I'm just going to dump it all out, so here goes....

~I spent last week making centerpieces and nametags for the annual women's retreat at my church. So mad I didn't get a chance to take pictures. The nametags turned out great, I thought the centerpieces weren't big enough for the tables, oh well. The retreat itself was wonderful. I stayed up till almost 2am chatting with a good friend who I roomed with. I haven't been up that late in a long time, I know I'm lame, haha. But it was a really nice time.

~I have loved coaching gymnastics at my new part time job. This afternoon I was showing them how to do something on the trampoline, and it's just so much fun. They have a really nice inground tramp at the gym, and it's so much fun to jump on, makes me feel like a kid again. But besides just getting to jump on the tramp I love seeing the children improve their skills, even better do something for the first time. Last week a girl got her backbend kickover for the first time and I loved seeing her face and sharing in that with her.

~I had such a bad cold last week, so my running had to take a break. I hated not being able to run. I also didn't run Saturday morning because I was at the retreat, it felt sooo weird. I did run on Sunday morning with the pink team, luckily I have friends on that team. Here's a pic:
I love how we have an official MTT photographer to take pics of us on our training runs!

~On that same page I can't believe the 20 miler is this weekend!! I remember going to the informational meeting about the training team back in April and them talking about this run. I wrote it on my calendar then, but it always seemed so far away. I feel ready though. It just feels surreal mostly because this is the last long run before the real thing. Wow.

~I've decided I'm going to run The Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I've also decided I want to run the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. I just need a race to train for to keep running, so I'm hoping this half in March will keep me going! Some other team members and friends have said they want to run it too, so it should be fun.

~Okay, so half this post was about running! I guess it's just on the front of my mind with the marathon coming up so soon!! Goodnight ya'll!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dear 18 Miles

Dear 18 mile run,  
    You were awesome. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better run or better weather. I absolutely loved running across that bridge to Belle Isle. And running along the James River was amazing. I thought once I reached 13 or 14 miles I would be so tired, and not enjoy you anymore, but that wasn't the case. I rocked it out. In fact I caught up to others in my group on Monument Avenue, my coach turned around and said "wow where did u come from?" It was great. I told him about how it was about a year ago that I started running. How I just loved it, got bitten by the bug and now I'm hooked. Others on my team told me how they thought I had improved so much, it was so encouraging. So 18 miles, thanks for making me feel like a rockstar. Really, I got such a high from you. As I ran into the stadium I thanked God for you. Thanked God that I was healthy, had legs that worked, and I was able to run. Thank you 18 mile run for being so great to me! I hope the marathon is just as good to me.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Green!

So yesterday one of my childhood/best friends got married! I've known this girl for what seems like forever, so it was great to watch her walk down the aisle.
They got married in the garden at the Poe Museum in downtown Richmond. The weather couldn't have been better, it was sunny and beautiful. Perfect for an outside ceremony. The reception was at Havana 59, a restaurant also in downtown Richmond. (I must say the food was really good!)
It was great to see out of town friends, enjoy great food and drinks, dance the night away and of course celebrate the new mr. and mrs!
Rachel was a beautiful bride! I especially loved her hair.
I just love weddings, especially when I'm such good friends with the bride and groom. I love watching how God brings people together. So happy for you Rachel!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

dear training.......

My head coach posted this quote onto our facebook group recently and I just loved it.
From Running to YOU:
 You might hate me. You might think I'm totally unreasonable. You might even curse me under your breath, when you think I'm not listening (I'm listening). But what you need to hear is this - I BELIEVE IN YOU. I believe what is great is ahead of you. And even though you might not thank me, that's okay. I'm not it for the glory. I'm in it for you.
Isn't it true? Sometimes I wonder what did I get myself into? But I always come back to being happy with my choice to train for a marathon. Why? Because it's been an amazing journey. The tough runs have made the good ones even better. The times when I push myself to keep going have made the finish even sweeter. Every time I look back and see how far I've come I am amazed. Every. Time.
I recently saw this quote in the gym where I teach gymnastics after school. "Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go." ~William Feather
I had to write it down because it reminded me so much of my training. My team started with 90 runners. Last week my coach announced that only 50 were left, and I think it's even less than that because some people we haven't seen in weeks. So that's at least half of my team is gone. That is why I love that quote, because I have hanged on after others have given up.

Training has taught me that I am capable. I am tough. It has taught me to stick with something, even when it's hard. It parallels real life as well. It has built character in me that transcends running alone. Training for a marathon is hard work. But it's SO worth it, at least in my opinion. And I haven't even run the marathon yet. So training, thank you for all you have already done for me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Apple Picking 2011

This past Sunday me and Clarke got the chance to go apple picking with the young adult group from our church. We had such a great time, although it was so cold!
We went to Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville. The views were absolutely beautiful!
We picked lots of apples, drank hot apple cider and even got pumpkins for our front steps.
Overall it was a great day. One of those days where at the end you just feel so blessed for the people in your life.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


October, you are finally here! You are one of my favorite months, so happy to see you!!
image source: centsational girl via kate on pinterest
I am looking forward to autumn really arriving this month. I love the cooler crisp air and the beautiful leaves changing colors. Also pumpkins, yes I just love pumpkins!
I can't wait to go apple picking with some friends this weekend. I am also hoping to pick some pumpkins for our front steps.
image source: moonlightrainbow via meredith on pinterest
One of my really close friends is getting married this month. I can't wait to celebrate. Love u Rachel!!
image source: greenlitwins via jenni on pinterest
I'm also excited about the women's retreat for my church in Williamsburg later this month.
image source: google via jenni on pinterest
This is my last full month of training for the marathon. The 20 miler is coming, I can't believe it! I just want to enjoy running with the silver team, enjoying the friendships I've made through the marathon training team.
image source: bhg via meredith on pinterest
I also can't wait for Halloween! I just love how my neighborhood decorates and makes such a big deal about this holiday. I also love having trick-or-treaters.
So October, I am happy to welcome you!!