Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Taper Protocol

Another day down, another day closer to the marathon, another day into Taper Madness.  Once again, I find myself tweaking my training to optimize my training to keep from falling down and crying repeatedly successfully complete the marathon.  My first week of tapering, I shortened my mileage per day, but I did harder, faster runs.  I still ended up logging around 30 miles this week, so it wasn't too bad.  Not too good either, but not too bad.

This week, I figure that I'll do 3 more easy training runs about 5 miles each, but definitely no longer than 7 miles.  Today, I weighed in at 163 lbs, so I'm right at race weight, so no major changes to the diet either.  I need to finish up my marathon playlist, but that's nearly done (I'm almost ashamed to admit the amount of girly, teeny-bobber songs on it.  Almost.).  I'll review the course map a couple times more and re-check that I have all my gear ready for Saturday.  All par for course.  The only change that I'm making is to be in bed by 10:00-10:30 each night, so that I get plenty of rest.

Everyone that knows that I'm running the marathon this coming weekend has asked what's the time I'm shooting for.  My answer has been 3:45:00.  For those of you mathematically disinclined, 3:45:00 translates into 8:35/mile.  Now nothing in my training suggests that I'll hit this number.  If anything my lack of training would indicate that this is either a pipe dream or the wild fantasies of a self-deluded ego-maniac.  I can assure you that the answer is both.  I, for one, have never let reality get in the way of my greedy ambitions, and I'm not about to let it start now.  I could rattle off a list of rationalizations, like this is actually a slower pace than I have aimed for in my last two marathons or that my half-marathon times suggest that this time is well-within my reach, but let's face it, I just flat out believe that I can do it.  If I didn't have that kind of belief, I would never have gotten off the couch to lose those first 10 lbs.  I didn't have that kind of faith, I would never have run my first 5k.  And if I didn't have that kind of stupid confidence, I would never have run my first marathon.  Under 4 hours.  Booyah.

So when I line up on Saturday, I will think of my family and the strength that they give me.  I will thank God for the opportunity to keep subjecting myself to this mental and physical torture.  I will wish that I had all my friends with me and will look forward to seeing many along the course.  And I WILL believe that 3:45:00 is a number that I will see when I cross the finish line.

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