Monday, May 11, 2009

time to taper

Brad and I have finally entered our favorite phase of marathon training: tapering. Less than three weeks until the big day!

We completed our last long training run this past Saturday morning: 23 miles. Most marathon runners usually peak at 20 miles before tapering, but my sick and twisted mind insists that we both need to run a bit farther so that our bodies endure a physically grueling experience more similar to what race day will be like (hey, there's a big difference between 20 and 26.2 miles... the latter involves an extra HOUR, at least, of running). Except, for the second time now, I have learned that 23-mile-runs are just the pits, and (hopefully) not representative at all of a marathon. In 2006, Brad and I struggled so much that it took us over 5 hours to complete a 23-mile training run, but amazingly, we ran the Marine Corps Marathon (26.2 miles) in less time: 4 hours and 30 minutes! Do not underestimate the power of crowds, cheerleaders, pure adrenalin, and food and water provided for you every two miles.

This past Saturday, again, my 23-mile time exceeded my Marine Corps Marathon time. Despite my 45-minute head start, Brad caught up to me during mile 22, at the water fountain near the carousel on the National Mall, and because he was hurting too and misery loves company, we walked together and complained all the way to the U. S. Capitol. But, as soon as we reached the base of Capitol Hill, we ran up it to our finish line near the Library of Congress. No matter how far we run or how much we ache, the guilt of cheating by walking up Capitol Hill always gives us a burst of energy to finish strong. Or, just to finish.

Running our favorite 10K this weekend will be such a welcome relief from the longer runs of the last three months. We won't know what to do with ourselves with a free Saturday morning!

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