I am smack dab in the middle of taper. The most drastic taper ever. Maybe this will be my worst race ever? Maybe my best?
When I ran Rocky Raccoon, I had was running 40-50 miles a week and got a long run in of 31 miles (ran it in more elevated shoes than I am used to on a flat service and began my ITBS that would plague me for 2 months but other than a decent run). During that race the ITBS that I knew about going into the race hit early and severely hampered me… I could not run as fast as I wanted to… but I also could not take breaks. If I stopped, I was doomed. It threw my entire plan out of whack. But I wondered a lot if I had tapered enough. After my 31 mile run, I had two lower mileage weeks at 20 and 27 per week, then ramped it up to 53.5, then back down to 23, and then I raced.
For The Ranch, I was getting back up to 50 miles and took the mileage a little down a couple weeks before, then tapered. But I did not do any weekends with no runs. I really don’t feel like I was out of shape for that race – but I did end up injured. In the 3 full running weeks since then, I’ve run 21.2, 28.1, and 25.79 miles a week, followed by 12 this week as the taper goes into full swing. The 28.1 week included a great long run – 22 miles, and I felt good. It was much shorter than the 31 I will be facing next week, but with about 3500 feet of elevation gain, it was a more challenging route.
The big issue that has slowed me down right now is my ankle has not really gotten completely better since The Ranch. It felt okay on my 22 and 15 mile runs, but if I stepped the pace above 9 minutes per mile after more than 10 miles, I felt it. On shorter runs like 6 miles and below sub 8 has been fine. This is limited greatly my speed and tempo runs, so I might be going in slightly undertrained. I will not run for the next four days, and only 5 miles next week before the race.
What I am hoping is that this all translates into feeling fresh and my ankle feeling good on race day. My choices were Undertrained and Fresh vs. Sore and Overtrained. Now, if the ankle is still hurting and I am Sore and Undertrained, things might get interesting. But to be honest, I love testing my grit. Despite all that when wrong at the Ranch, I’m proud of my effort.
I was listening to 3 Non Joggers recently (I am still catching up, now on episode 57). They were talking about having a good performance after being so sick on a taper they could not run. The theory they tossed around was being sick might actually help because you then taper properly. I thought this was interesting and thought about Hells Hills 10K. Now – I wanted to do well in this race, but the last of the ITBS was lingering before this race so I lowered the mileage way down… and hardly had any real training, and placed 8th and second in my age group. The next week I won my division I a 5K without much more running than the 10K the week before. When I got 2nd at the Paramount 5K, I had run a total of 2 miles the 2 weeks prior. Now, I know a 50K and a 50K are vastly different, but 2 miles in 2 weeks before a 5K… and about 20 in the 2 weeks before a 50K is pretty interesting.
My original plan before The Ranch was to go into this race at about an 8:30 pace. Back in December, I ran my first marathon as a training run for Rocky Raccoon. I jogged the course at and finished at some pace around 9:45. Other than my soaked feet in five fingers (which me feet have grown too many muscles to run in now), I was good. So I am planning on starting out at a 9:00 pace and taking a 1 minute walk break every 5 miles. Do this for 6 miles, then 9:15 for 6 miles with 1 minute walk every 5 miles, then 6 miles of 9:30 with 1 minute walk break every 5 miles, then stay at that pace the remainder if I can but not go above 9:45. But we'll see. I'd like to finish in under 5 hours, but have no idea about an overnight run.