And just like that, almost five months later, the marathon is just two days away! I haven't watched any running movies yet this week, but I have done a whole lotta carbo-loading. Here's what my week of working out less and eating more has looked like so far:
As I'm looking at my calendar now, I honestly can't remember what I did for exercise or what I ate that evening. That's the kind of week it's been, but more on that in a bit...
A ha! Tuesday! Tuesday I remember! I opted out of the last morning "buddy run" of the season in favor of sleeping in (y'know, until the late, late hour of 6:30) since Elias decided this week would be a great week to get sick - again (okay, okay, I know it's not his fault, but seriously, folks - talk about bad timing) - and was up about 2/3 of Sunday night with a seal bark-like croupy cough. Nobody slept well and it always seems to take a few decent nights to recover from one bad one. Miraculously, I did manage to muster up enough energy to do a 45 minute cardio workout later in the day, never quite feeling up for a run.
Over the weekend I had perused my pasta and a movie series, picked out what worked well, added a few recipes, and planned my meals out in advance, having pasta and protein in the beginning of the week, and slowly transitioning to less protein, more carbs as the week has progressed, specifically carbs that are a bit lighter and quicker to digest like orzo and rice. To that end, on Tuesday we had a mix of vegetable radiatore and whole grain penne with Trader Joe's turkey bolognese sauce, along with some asparagus on the side.
Since I woke up feeling the slightest tickle in my throat, I took no chances and my only activity consisted of walking around Costco that afternoon. I made a tuna pasta salad for dinner, the leftovers of which I enjoyed today for lunch.
Still feeling congested but overall pretty good, I went for an easy "dress rehearsal" 3-miler. I wore almost all the gear I plan to wear on Sunday. For dinner I made a chicken, orzo, and pomegranate salad.
That's today! No running for me, no sir! I'll do some stretching and icing tonight, after a dinner of Santa Rosa Valley Salad.
Tomorrow will be another rest day. I haven't told Neal yet, but I fully intend to follow coach's orders and stay in bed as long as possible tomorrow morning. To quote Mama Lisa:
On Saturday, do sleep late. At least stay in bed and stare at the ceiling. This may not be so easy. You are going to be keyed up, but if you think of the next morning and its demands, you may decide to remain stationary a little longer.Aye, aye, cap'n! Once I feel sufficiently rested and ready for the day, we'll head to the ORF Expo to pick up my race bib, packet, maybe buy a t-shirt, etc. Most of my final stretch of carbo-loading will take place at an "inspiration luncheon" tomorrow with the rest of my Team in Training peeps.
For dinner, I plan to make this black rice salad with butternut squash and pomegranate seeds. I had a great run the morning after that meal a couple months back, so that's what I'm going with for my last supper, pre-marathon.
So far, tapering and eating well this week are the two things that have gone pretty well. How 'bout we get into what hasn't gone so well?
As I mentioned already, the wee one was sick the earlier part of this week. I remember looking at him at some point on Friday last week, our "mommy day" together each week, and thinking, "man, he looks beat." Never a good sign. Sure enough, by Saturday evening/Sunday morning it was clear he was coming down with a minor cold, at least. That minor cold turned into a horrible croupy cough that had me calling the advice line around 10 pm on Sunday night and Neal sleeping in his room Sunday night, while I took Monday night. If you've never had the experience of taking care of a kid with croup let me just say it seems usually, thankfully, a lot scarier than it actually is. Anything that messes with that tiny airway is cause for concern. Additionally, he had a little bit of conjunctivitis (not sure if it was officially "pink eye" and, contrary to common belief post "Knocked Up", pink eye is not, in fact, caused by getting feces in your eye. At least, I'm pretty sure it's not. It's basically just what happens when the virus causing the cold symptoms affects the eyes and results in "eye boogers" and redness.).
It goes without saying that Monday Elias stayed home from school with me. We braved the petri dish that is the pediatrician's office and got some steroids for the croup and drops for the eyes, neither of which we administered all that well. Oh, and did I mention I slept on a pull out sleeper chair in his room Monday night? Yep. Because, you know, I was trying to get my very best rest this week from the start. To be fair, Neal not only had the worse night on Sunday with the coughing and such, but that chair sleeper, with a duvet thrown on top, is actually pretty comfy. And the humidifier right next to my head was probably a good thing, considering how I was feeling by about Monday afternoon - tickle in my throat and sinuses congested. Not good, man. Not good at all less than a week before a race.
I had mixed feelings but having gotten the green light from the pedi, took Elias to school that day, desperate to get some work done and start the process of getting my game face on in time for the weekend. Did I mention that on Monday afternoon, when Eli and I decided to hang out in the backyard for a bit, we confirmed that the barking I heard on Sunday night was from our next door neighbor's new dog. He barked at us the entire time we were outside. And all day Tuesday (I work from home which is why that's a problem). Awesome. I love when folks get loud, aggressive, barking dogs in lieu of alarm systems.
Feeling moderately caught up on work, I decided to run a few errands, first of which was to Title Nine to buy a - dare I confess it? - new sports bra. The thing is, I know you're not supposed to do anything new on race day, but the chafing my year-old frog bra has been causing the last couple of weeks was becoming unbearable, even on relatively short runs and especially in the rain, which is now what the weather report is calling for on Sunday. So I faced a dilemma: change nothing but experience almost guaranteed under-boob chafing or buy something new and hope for the best. I went with the latter. Funny thing is, I ended up driving all the way to Mill Valley since the Berkeley store didn't have the size I thought I needed after trying sizes smaller and larger in two different styles (the frog bra temporarily unavailable), only to buy the size I could have bought at the first store had I had the other size to compare. You follow? Annoying, but at least I felt pretty confident about my purchase.
Neal had a long commute on Wednesday, one of those days when he's technically working in the Bay Area but might as well be in New York as far as help with the wee one before school and during dinner and bedtime goes. I was on my own all day and Elias was not cooperating. At all. But he was still a little sick so I suppose I should cut him some slack.
Ah, to breath again through my nose! How nice. I had a great run in the morning, after I dropped off Elias at school (I'd normally get up early but wanted to focus at least partly on getting as much sleep as possible this week, as previously mentioned), then spent the rest of the day wrapping up a large order. My hairbrush broke in the afternoon. I know it's a minor calamity but annoying nonetheless - I don't have time to go buy a new one!
Otherwise, without going into too much detail, there's this other thing I've been dealing with all week that I worried would be an issue on race day but now seems like maybe it won't be after all. And that's all I'm gonna say about that. Period.
Today's been a pretty decent day so far, actually (hopefully I didn't just jinx it). I took advantage of a drop-in policy at school that's pretty reasonable, with attendance light on Fridays anyway, and Eli went to school for about four hours this morning so I could catch up on work and start to re-focus my attention on this weekend. In the process, I bugged Neal to fetch a few boxes of photos and scrapbook stuff (alas, no actual scrapbooks to speak of after, oh, sixteen years of collecting memories) and dug out all the swag from my first marathon experience with Team in Training, in Big Sur, nearly eleven years ago.
Race results, bib number, medal, of course, pictures, various TNT thank yous, the bracelet I wore with the names of my honorees ("too many damn names," as Coach Al says) - it was a little overwhelming, I have to admit.
Yep, that's Neal, then my boyfriend, now my husband, running the final 6.2 miles with me - just one reason I married the guy. He was a big part of the experience then and an even bigger part this time around, solo parenting our 3 1/2 year old almost every Saturday morning for nearly five months, without a car, to boot. Now that's supportive.
The bib! The medal! Soon I'll have a collection going!
And the results - 5:33:22. Not a great time, but not a horrible time considering I was then, like I am now, recovering from a knee aggravation and the incredible head-wind we faced that day from miles 10 to 20, give or take. Based on my training runs I'd been hoping for a finish time between 4 1/2 and 5 hours. When my knee started really hurting between miles 12 and 14, I just wanted to finish. I remember afterward everyone complaining about how their time was about 1/2 hour slower than anticipated, thanks to that head-wind. Getting into training this time around, I figured a PR would be a sure thing - I know what I'm doing this time as far as the importance of strength training and stretching, I'm going to push myself on the mileage (run 20 miles when the range is 18-20, rather than stopping at 18 and saying, "yeah, that's enough"), the course is a little less challenging (so I hear), and, let's face it, 5 1/2 hours isn't a terribly tough time to beat.
And yet, several weeks later I experienced almost the exact same injury at the exact same point in training. So, once again, my goal is simply to finish - cross that finish line on Sunday and enjoy the 19 bands, the arch of fire, the views at the top of the 5-mile hill, the various Oakland neighborhoods and communities we'll be running through, and of course all the finish area shenanigans. Wish me luck! And stay tuned for a post-race recap hopefully sometime next week!