Diary of a Taperist - The Beginning of the End
Jon and I have yet to compete in our marathons. Mine is next on the docket, racing next Sunday in Holyoke, Massachusetts. My friend Marc will run this one with me having just come off of an amazing 5k PR that's been 2 years in the making. A side note here - Marc has challenged his PR before unsuccessfully. But this time, there was no doubt in his mind (and therefore mine) that he would nail a new personal best. It is a testament to training: no surprises. You have a good indication of how things will be. This is not to say that there aren't some unknowns that stem from racing inexperience, new tactics, or even training methods that don't directly address key racing issues (fuel status in the final miles, say). But overall conditioning, endurance, speed, and strength can be gauged with some sort of accuracy from the feedback of training. Marc's training feedback had all the markings of a 5k PR under his control. Well done.
Well, let's see how his taper goes for Holyoke - ha! He doesn't like to taper and I'd be surprised if he did. Now Jon's holding out for the Sugarloaf Marathon. While I was dealing with my right leg, he was dealing with some sort of flu-bug. He lost 12 pounds over two weeks. Now he has 3 weeks to go and will be running the lightest he's ever ran. Perhaps he'll gain a few pounds as he recovers and tapers over the next 3 weeks.
We met at the usual time and place and we all padded out to Pulpit Rock per the advice of Stephanie. A rock formation sitting by itself on the beach about 20 feet high directly across from St. Andrews, NB. Crowned with an osprey nest, it is a sight to behold. The osprey thought we were a sight to behold too as they circled above blocking the sun with their wings and playing evil games with their shadows. A scene from The Birds was getting ready to happen as aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relations of chez Pulpit all arrived to look at the four beach runners. (I use the word "beach" loosely here because at flood tide there is no "beach").
Luck held out and we safely arrived onto the highway and the subsequently safer environs of speeding 18-wheelers, Sunday sleep-at-the-wheels, and other normal everyday hazards like dead porcupines. It also turned out that additional luck was with us as we found out that the owner of our path to Pulpit Rock isn't very pleased with "trespassers". Perhaps that's why she put out the sign, No Trespassing, at the entrance of her property. But did that mean us? "Not really" was Stephanie's reply. It appears she's had the pleasure of requesting permission to enter the vast estate unchaperoned - only to be denied unrestricted access. She must call first and let her presence be known. Well, as it turns out, the owner's away for the winter, and Stephanie has declared the rule to be "not in force" at this moment. Pleased, we followed her with confidence down the dirt road into the felon zone.
Jon: "When she due back?"
Stephanie: "Not until the beginning of May!"
Jon: "Uh, that's tomorrow."
About that time we picked up the pace. But all's well that ends well. The four of us managed to blend in with our environs and possibly (if seen) were taken for a group of odd deer heading for the ocean. Or perhaps we weren't seen. Either way, another Sunday, knowing the trusty keyholder will be back in residence, we'll rouse her early pleading for permission to traverse her property for one last glimpse of the ocean and perhaps see if her bathroom's free. But I digress...
So how's my leg? Yes, that's what you're wondering. Well, it's fine. Not great, but fine. In fact, it feels a lot like it did just before the half marathon I ran in the beginning of April. This is a good sign and a bad sign. Good: I can run on it briskly for a long period of time. Bad: I'll probably need another ice bath after the marathon [shiver].
Since I'm feeling better after taking a mandatory 1 week rest, I intend to get out this week for some brisk 3 milers to loosen up the muscles and prepare for battle.