I just googled “sore legs while tapering” and there were hundreds of hits. One post started “just google ‘taper phantom injuries’ ”. My hips are sore and my legs felt heavy and tired walking up stairs after a 6 mile marathon pace (i.e. slower than my normal mid-distance tempo pace) run this afternoon. I saw the chiropractor this morning and he seemed to think everything was in good working order. He even admitted to feeling lousy the week and a half leading up to a race and feeling great, finally, at the starting line. I’ll take his word for it. I don’t remember feeling this way in May before Sugarloaf.
…but, now, come to think of it, it hurt to walk a couple weeks away from that race. I had forgotten that. I forgot that I was visiting a friend and we were taking her dog for a walk in the park and I resented the walk from the parking lot to the picnic area. But she would have been disgusted with me if I’d confessed my neuroses. And my hamstring felt awful just walking around Portland the day before we drove up to Sugarloaf and I was icing on and off all day for the two days before the race. And even though it was cold and rainy at the start, I was feeling great the second the gun went off. It’s good to remember that.
I will be so much happier when I’m out there and on my pace. I am, oddly enough, looking forward to Lee Bridge. I’ve ridden my bike over it so many times, that running across just doesn’t seem as difficult. I’m looking forward to passing Alan and Paula’s house on Faquier at mile 22 or 23. I am looking ahead to running past the Honors College. There are so many landmarks that are part of my life here that I hope I can enjoy the race through what has become my town.
Running¬—training, really—throughout the city has given a much stronger sense of home. I know the turns and cross streets, the hills and sidewalks. Which sidewalks are brick and to be avoided if possible, where the wider parking lanes make for a safer weekend run…
For the next week and a half: I hope to get in the scheduled runs at a moderate/slow pace and to continue to eat well, drink lots, and get a lot of sleep. As Ward King, a climber friend often said, “sleep is under-rated”.
a post not written:
what I didn’t write about (it’s been a busy week and a half… Halloween, a lot of interviews to collect, papers to grade, assignments to figure out) is my fussing about pace. My last 20 mile run over a week and a half ago I ran without my Garmin. I kept an easy pace with a friend who was having some cramps so I held up a few times when she needed to stretch. I ran ahead at 16 and picked up to what felt like a comfortable but steady pace, and raced another running partner for the final mile and a half to come in a couple minutes under 3 hours. With stops, and trying to keep it relaxed, my pace was close to 8:50 something with a 7 something final mile. If I were to drop down to a 9 minute pace I’d easily break 4 hours. So now it’s a question of how greedy I want to be. Aim for 3:50? Just shoot for a 3:59:59 to qualify for Boston? And if I have a terrible day and don’t even break 4… I’ll figure that out on November 13th. For a non-runner this stuff about pace must sound obsessive but to me it’s like figuring out a puzzle and looking at all the possible variables (what if I’m feeling great? in pain? it’s cool and dry? rainy and windy? i see friends on the course?). anything can happen but at least I have sort of have a plan: don’t go out too fast, keep a steady pace, and finish strong. Okay, that’s not really a plan. It’s what EVERYONE says, but I’ll be happy if that’s how it all shakes out.