One bad run does not a bad marathon make, and I know that, which is why I wasn't really all that rattled by my unbelievably tough 13-miler last weekend. I was disappointed with it, but I knew it didn't mean anything, and I needed to just get back out there and make sure the next one was better.
And that's exactly what I did, despite not really setting myself up for success when I went out with friends Monday night and had a 'meal' that consisted of pumpkin beer and tortilla chips (and a small cup of soup before I had left the house) and stayed out 'til nearly 11pm. Given those circumstances, I wasn't expecting a whole lot with my Tuesday morning run, but I surprised myself.
I started at the beach at sunrise, because really, there's no better way to start the day.
I didn't have any plan in mind - just wanted to get in a decent 7-miler - but ended up running nearly perfect negative splits, starting in the low 8s, and ending with the last few miles at 7:32, 7:19, and 7:06. And the best part is that it was one of those runs where, even as I kept picking up the pace, I kept feeling stronger. The complete opposite of how I had felt on Sunday. It was fabulous, and just what I needed.
I had thought I might sneak in a few easy miles at lunchtime on Wednesday, but I woke up with a scratchy throat and feeling really rundown, so I opted to spend the afternoon on the couch with a cup of tea. Too close to race day to risk getting really sick, so I decided to be smart and give my body the rest it needed.
And I'm glad I did, because it rewarded me with another great run on Thursday. Five miles, with 3 at tempo. I ran the first one in 7:01, but then slowed down to 7:14 for the second one. That just wouldn't do, so I pushed harder for the last mile and finished it in 6:53.
Wrapped up the week with my long run, which felt short, as it should. The plan was for 10 miles at 7:49 pace, and I really focused on starting slow and building up to that goal pace, and I succeeded, running negative splits, and feeling great. My first mile was 8:10, second was 7:59, and so on and so on, until I ran the last few miles in 7:39, 7:27, and 7:16.
I feel like I have once again perfected the art of the negative split, and I know that will serve me very well as I take on the full 26.2 next week. I still can't quite believe that one week from today it'll all be done and I'll be on the train on the way home (hopefully celebrating).
These past few weeks have definitely renewed my confidence about how much fitness I was able to hold onto despite having to miss so many training runs, and I'm beyond grateful to be where I am right now.
Judging by the great runs I had this week, tapering seems to be agreeing with me. The only problem is that I have too much time on my hands and can't seem to get motivated to do anything constructive with it. I hear people joke about how their house is never as clean as when they're tapering for a big race. Um, not the case over here.
I think it's the combination of the taper/reduced training time plus not having any more Gansett-related tasks to fill my days that's making me feel slightly lost. Next week will see even less running, but I think the week is going to go by pretty fast, since I leave on Friday morning.
I'm looking forward to the race, and to the entire weekend. I get to see a bunch of great friends from the Another Mother Runner community, some of whom I've met before, but some who I've only talked with online. And I get to share my pre-race dinner with those friends and two of my running heroes - Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell Davis.
The whole weekend is going to be such a great experience, and I'm hoping that all the socializing will help take my mind off the pre-race anxiety.
But all in all, I feel like I'm in a good place. My training got a little messed up, but I feel like I bounced back pretty well, and I can't say I feel quite as prepared as I did for Boston 2013 (when I had a pretty much perfect training cycle and felt way more than ready), but I'm pretty close to that point, and happy to be there.