There has never been a word more beautiful at this very moment than “tapering.” To me, the reduced mileage means I can finally start relaxing after months and months of training.
Speaking of which, we have really lucked out with the weather in upstate New York. This time last year, I remember how painful it was to run nine miles in the blizzard-like conditions. I couldn’t imagine completing 20 unless we found an underground tunnel to do it in. To think that the temperature has barely dipped below 32 degrees … I feel more than just a little lucky.
IT Bands, Don’t Fail Me Now! Running 20 miles this past weekend was completely uneventful. It was cold, it wasn’t any fun, but we all did it. I’m not completely 100 percent yet, even after soaking in a hot tub for 45 minutes, and my IT bands are screaming at me. For the uninitiated, IT bands are ligaments that extend from the pelvic bone to the shin bone. Apparently, they tighten—a lot—when you run too much. Go figure.
My IT bands have been an issue in the past and they’re rearing their ugly heads a little too much for my liking these days. After I finish writing this and head home, my first task is to check my shoe inserts for cracks. If no cracks, I need to head to Fleet Feet for their expertise on whether the shoes need to be replaced. I purchased them toward the beginning of the training, but they’ve seen quite a few miles at this point and might be what’s really causing this issue.
Otherwise, I’m doing all sorts of walking and squatting using one of those resistance bands, as well as skaters, to hopefully alleviate my discomfort. Friend and fellow trainee, Jenny, is taping me up tomorrow with some Kinesio tape, and I’m going to try to cram as much hot yoga as I can into the next two weeks. I’ve come this far, so it feels silly to second-guess all of this training, despite my pesky IT bands.
Getting hurt so close to marathon day is a little disheartening. But, I do have the tools to get through it and am surrounded by people who know a whole heck of a lot more than I do and can point me in the right direction. That aside, I still have a little over a week and a half to recover and hopefully make it through this race. While knee pain isn’t a huge concern, I am worried that they might start to hurt early on in the race. Either way, I’ve done the best I could do to prepare for this first attempt at a marathon, and hopefully this tapering nonsense works and I fly like the wind.
Reflections on a Crazy, But Pretty Awesome, Year The holidays are about to end and with a new year starting soon, I really can’t help but take inventory of my life and consider whether I want to make any changes. I’m not the type of person to make resolutions. For me, it’s a lot easier to implement changes on a daily basis than look at what I’ll change on some random day over the course of a year.
Also, life is just way too short to not focus on what’s awesome and where I want to be in the future. There are situations I’ve been in that I look back upon and think, what the hell? One of those being signing up for this race. But so much positivity has come out of this challenge that I would do it all over again, even knowing the amount of pain I have to endure to get to that finish line.
I feel lucky to be so happy with every part of my life—awesome friendships, dating an awesome woman, deciding it was time to get a roommate who also happens to be awesome, awesome job. All of this awesomeness was the result of a lot of tears, hard work, and just general suckiness over the years, and the amount of time I’ve spent training for this marathon has helped me put these things into perspective. It’s amazing how much time one has to think when a good part of a Saturday or Sunday is spent running. I find myself either concentrating on the problems in life or the awesome times, and it helps me make better decisions, as well as figure out what I really want to be and who I want to surround myself with.
Next Stop: The Finish Line and Some Much-Needed Normalcy My life feels like it slowly might be turning into my own again. I’m headed out to a birthday party tonight and am gradually incorporating some cool plans back into my weekends, like visiting my sister and figuring out some really fun dates to have with an incredible lady. I appreciate all the support my family and friends have given me throughout the training, even though my mind has turned into a pile of mush.
Next steps: Start packing for my trip, plan for all the drinks and food I’ll consume immediately following the race (welcome back, Jameson!), and stop stressing about anything out of my control.