It’s mid-way through taper week, and I’m apparently in some kind of taper panic. Race day is Sunday, which means a lot of things, including:
1. Checking the 10 day forecast obsessively. I started this when race day first appeared in the forecast. It’s ranged from a high of 67 (perfect) to a high of 84 (ugh). Yesterday was the worst. Weather.com said 80 for the high, Wunderground.com said 84, and when I was at the gym waiting for pilates to begin, the local news said 72. …schwa? At least we’re all on the same page…? Today, weather.com says the high Sunday is predicted to be 70. If it could stay right there, please, I would really appreciate it.
2. Skipping runs. Okay, just one. I had my spin class this morning, per usual, and had a 3 mile easy run scheduled for after. I’ve been doing these Wednesday runs as a brick workout, and last week I spanked my four miles after spin at HM race pace. Oops. Definitely made for a sufferfest of a seven mile tempo the next day. Today? I brought my garmin, just in case, and also considered just doing two on the ‘mill, but as I felt how tired and sore my ankles were as I was walking up the stairs to the spin room, I decided to just push myself in spin, and then have a nice cup of coffee and a croissant (hey, that’s carbo loading, right?) at Coffee Tree afterwards. Plus, I may do a short shakeout run on Saturday, so that’ll more than make up for it. Speed day tomorrow (2×1600) and then totally off on Friday. Yay for sleeping in!
3. Freaking out about little things. During my run yesterday, I was way more conscious of puddles (it was raining a bit) and uneven sidewalk (which is fairly ubiquitous in this city). Every misstep OMG DON’T SPRAIN YOUR ANKLE BEFORE THE RACE. Every car that honked at me (while I was crossing INSIDE THE LINES and WITH THE LIGHT) OMG DON’T HIT ME BEFORE THE RACE (or, you know, ever). Every slightly achy muscle or tendon. OMG I BETTER NOT BE INJURED BEFORE THE RACE.
My best freakout was this morning. I left the gym a bit after 7 to head to Coffee Tree to read and possibly do a little writing. At first I got caught up snooping on a conversation between a couple triathletes trying to out-macho each other (one of them sounded like he was possibly going to coach the other, so he was going through all the jargon, and how to handle transition, and emphasizing the run – aren’t their bigger gains to make on the bike? Not that I would know. I’m no triathlete…yet). Then I was going to pull out my iPod to write a bit… and it was nowhere to be found. Even coming from the gym I always put it in my purse, and I dug through and checked the rip in the lining – no dice. I went outside, checked in my car, in my gym bag’s main pocket – no iPod. Eff. I tried to read a little, with some success, but I was still distracted by the tri talk and my worries about my missing iPod. I’m very reliant on music for racing. I know, sad. But also: I have a slightly older iPod nano, as in the one right before the new, tiny, touchscreen one. And I HATE touchscreen. The thought of having to replace my beloved red nano with a touchscreen POS? Not okay.
So I left the coffee shop around 8, walking slow out to the parking lot to give it a scan, and checking the gym lot, too. I asked the girl at the gym front desk if anyone had found an iPod, and jotted down a description, along with my name and number. I checked the locker room – nothing. I checked the desk in the cardio room. Nada. Someone paged the lady who manages maintenance/cleaning. She hadn’t seen anything. Funny thing about this was I nearly left my iPod by the spin bike (I’d brought it up in case I went right downstairs to do a run, but decided against it) so I absolutely had it coming down to the locker room. Where the hell had it gone?
I’d asked pretty much everyone relevant, and then went back to my car, scanning the lot once more and going into my truck for my gym bag. On a whim, I checked a small zipper pocket where I always keep my lock, extra hair ties and Gu, and my garmin when I bring it….AND THERE IT WAS. Why I put it there, I have no idea, but I bolted back inside and said I’d found it in a place I NEVER stash it, and apologized for the chaos. Oy. But at least I found it!
4. Carbo-loading paradise. I’ve already had a bunch of pasta this week, and didn’t buy chocolate when I went grocery shopping Sunday so I didn’t scarf a bunch of it. Tonight I plan on making chicken and mashed potatoes (and I’ve been eating a crapton of spinach. I’m on a bit of a kick, not that that’s a bad thing. It’s spinach after all!) that will hopefully also make my lunch tomorrow. I’m going to see ‘Legally Blonde’ the musical tomorrow night with some girlfriends and we’re getting happy hour burgers and beer, so I’ll have to try to behave myself a little bit more after that. NB and I are still planning on pancakes for Saturday night, since that worked excellently before Just a Short Run.
5. A lot more stretching. I’ve been stretching a bit before bed time each night, and have really been enjoying that. It’s calming my body and my muscles feel relaxed and good. My amazing pilates instructor is also helping the cause. She has long known that I’m a runner – I asked her last year for tips on how to work on/stretch out my cranky left IT band. She said she was a runner herself, and helped me out. That class has down wonders for my hip, glute and overall core strength, and as a result, my IT band issues. The last few weeks she’s been asking how training is going, if I was tapering yet, asking about my long runs, any aches and pains. The other week we were doing bridging with pilates rings on the outside of our ankles, so we had to use our legs to press out to keep them up, and she said, “I know my runners in here are feeling this in their IT bands,” looking straight at me.
This week, with the same rings, after we did some leg circles and hamstring stretches with the rings, she had us stretch one leg out to the side while we lay on our backs, then across our bodies, getting our groin first, then our IT bands. She came over to me – just me – and eased my legs into the stretch, reminding me to breathe. She also helped unlock my hopelessly tight hamstrings. I thanked her profusely after class, and she wished me luck in the race. She asked if i was doing the half or full and when I said half, but I was doing the full at Philly in November, she said, “Oh, that’s great. That’s the race that my ex-husband proposed to me at the finish of.” … Uh oh.
I just have one more tough-ish workout this week (speedwork) but it should be fun since it’s very short, and NB and I are bringing a friend along who has never done a track workout. We’ll see how that goes.