the perfect start to the taper

Overcome the notion that you must be regular. 
It robs you of the chance to be EXTRAORDINARY.
– Uta Hagen

I entered into this training cycle a few months ago believing that I was capable of MORE.  More growth.  More speed.  More strength.  More courage.  More JOY.  More heart.  More gratitude.  More passion.


But I was scared and unsure just as much as I was confident and excited.

I knew that in order to grow, I would need to attempt to do things that I never had before.  I would need to try harder, push further, let go of my fears and hold onto my faith.  But that I would also have to keep myself in check.  Take myself to the edge, yes, but also be so smart about it.

You guys, it has been so scary for me.  But it has also been so amazing.  So wonderful.  I am a heart-on-my-sleeve type of person.  Every little emotion – happy sad angry grateful scared excited passionate – it is all SO right there for me.  So big and just impossible to contain.  I am not helter-skelter out of control about it (I don’t think…well maybe sometimes I am), but whatever I am feeling if you are around me you probably feel it too.  Coming off of my skin like steam, radiating out of me, whatever – I cannot seem to hide my feelings.  It is just the way I am built.

So last week as I was in the midst of the biggest week of my training — you can imagine I was sort of pretty much all over the place emotionally.  I was excited – I was running more than ever before and feeling GOOD and just amazed, astounded really, by that.  And I was scared.  What if the wheels just fall off out of the blue?  Is this too good to be true?  How is my body able to run so many miles and not feel like it is falling apart?  But both my mind and my heart told me to relax about it.  The reason I was feeling good is because I built myself a super smart training plan and I adapted it all along the way.  I worked my way towards this mileage, always listening to my body.  Always.  On Saturday night as I prepared for my last really long run, I was nervous but told myself I had to let go of that.

Sunday morning arrived and we went on a field trip further west, to a beautiful part of Virginia called Leesburg.  My closest running friends were with me, and at the last minute Dorothy decided to join us.  The only time I have ever run with Dorothy was when we were both pregnant with our third babies – about two years ago – so this was an extra special treat.

We were all nervous at the start.  The weather was cold and it was raining.  But we were in it together.  And the miles just ticked by…

We talked about anything and everything.  We laughed.  A lot.  We shared.  A lot.  We vented.  A lot.  For more than three hours, we ran along the most beautiful path covered in a canopy of trees with a light rain washing over us.  I hardly checked my watch to see how fast we were moving, though each time I did look at it I thought to myself “this is a little faster than I planned on running at this point” … but I felt SO good and we all seemed to be in a groove and were happy and comfortable and smiling.

I simply didn’t want the run to end.

But it had to.  We logged 23 miles yesterday.  The longest training run of my life.  If I had kept going for 3.2 more miles, which I know I could have done, I would have set a pretty sweet PR in the marathon.

I know I am capable of something MORE on October 28th.
I just know it.

Splits from our 23 mile run.  Average pace, 7:53/mile.

Mile 1 – 8:19
Mile 2 – 8:15
Mile 3 – 8:07
Mile 4 – 7:75
Mile 5 – 8:04
Mile 6 – 8:02
Mile 7 – 7:54
Mile 8 – 8:14
Mile 9 – 7:56
Mile 10 – 7:56
Mile 11 – 7:44
Mile 12 – 7:31
Mile 13 – 7:42
Mile 14 – 7:56
Mile 15 – 7:45
Mile 16 – 8:08
Mile 17 – 7:31
Mile 18 – 7:46
Mile 19 – 7:31
Mile 20 – 7:39
Mile 21 – 7:55
Mile 22 – 7:43
Mile 23 – 7:47

Me, Dorothy and Maddie.  So HAPPY.

When we got back to our starting place, it was equally exhilarating and peaceful to me to be with my friends, all of us together.  Celebrating what was an amazing accomplishment for all of us.  I felt so at peace.  So grateful.  So very happy.

Each one of us has seriously rocked this training cycle.  I want to bottle up this feeling – this excitement and joy I have over what I am doing, what my friends are doing.  What WE are doing. Together.  I am so proud and thankful.

Last week I ran 92.35 miles.  More weekly mileage than ever before.  And I feel good.  I feel strong.  I feel hopeful.

I am starting a 3 week taper today.  It is time to coast.  I am welcoming this taper period with open arms though I know I will have my moments of crazy.  The thing is, I feel so good.  I don’t feel overspent or like my body is screaming for rest or a break of any kind.  But I am going to ease into this taper and take time every day to remind myself of how far I have come.  And how far I believe I can go.

20 days until Marine Corps Marathon.  It will be #10 for me.

I am so excited.  There is no hiding it.

15 thoughts on “the perfect start to the taper

  1. Incredible!! So darn inspiring beyond words. My husband and I ran our long run on Friday, 22 miles. We are also settling into taper time this week for MCM. I am secretly hoping to meet you there. I will totally be looking around for you at the expo. I am a wear my emotions on my sleeve kind of girl too and I have certain people I hope to meet in the “running mom world”, you are one. Thank you for inspiring me. Your quote from McMillan pushed me through my 5 mile run today and I finished with an average 8:03 pace. I am a mom who lost 100 pounds over three years (I weight 116 now on my 5'4″ frame), have the genetic gift of chronic hypertension I take meds for, and I have been training while still healing from a hamstring pull back in March. For awhile I gave up on my BQ goal, but then I read posts by Dorothy or you and realize I can do it. Wish I lived closer to you, although NC is not too far, because I would totally take you on as a coach. YOU ROCK!!!

  2. So incredible, Jess!!! I think 3:20 should be your C goal. A goal should be a HECK of a lot faster than that =) Your training the last few months makes me SO excited and anxious to start training…I have felt the excitement and joy you have felt and want to feel the same.
    Enjoy the next 20 days. I hope you don't get too antsy…have trust in your training and more importantly, in yourself. =)

  3. Wow you're a speedy one and I know you'll kill it in an awesome way at MCM! Can't wait to read your recap – MCM is the 1st marathon I want to do next year!

  4. I can hear you as I read this. i can’t say enough how inspiring you have been-and i can’t wait to see what i can accomplish next Spring. i have no doubts in you at all-you are going to do even better than imagined in MCM. I just know it.

  5. Your journey this training cycle has really inspired me! It's so amazing to see the progress you have made and it really makes me believe that a PR this spring is possible for me, if I put in the training. Major cuddos to you, there is so much hard work that you have put in to get to this spot. Enjoy the taper and good luck!

  6. Love this. Your training went AMAZING and now you get to sit back and enjoy the rewards. Trust your taper, trust your body. Rest up and get ready to run a time you have dreamed of.

  7. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! You are going to do BIG things at MCM! I just know it! I am so excited for you and will be cheering you on (virtually) as you go after your dreams 🙂

  8. It is always great to see how your shape is improving! To enhance my strength before running I am taking Navy Seal Formula, manufactured by MGNutritionals. This dietary supplement delivers perfect energy, so I am capable of running on longer distances, and I see substantial increase in my strength and endurance.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.