long run reflections – 22

So first of all I have a pretty ridiculous confession but I’m not afraid to share it.  I really love Taylor Swift and I especially love her song “22.”  I love the words.  I love the beat.  I love rocking out to it with my 8 year old daughter Abby and singing it to myself on my long runs.  Especially my 22 mile long runs.  “Miserable and Magical” … pretty much a perfect description of the marathon for me … and of a hard 22 mile run.

This weekend’s long run was 22 miles and it also happened to fall on the 22nd day of the month.  Kind of awesome.  It doesn’t take much for me to get excited about these little kinds of things.

This particular long run was on my mind for days before I actually had to do it, which is not an unusual occurrence for me.  I’ve been training for marathons for years and the long run still has a way of spooking me as the weekend approaches.  I start thinking about it on Wednesday or Thursday — remind myself to remember to hydrate Thursday and Friday, make sure I eat well and not too late in the evening on Friday, check the weather so I know what I’ll be up against, come up with a plan for how I want to execute it.  The last couple of weeks I’ve done my long runs at a really comfortable pace, very conversational and just EASY, working on endurance and time spent on my feet.  Every few weeks this cycle I like to make my long run more of a workout and practice my pacing – get uncomfortable and push myself in a different way.

This weekend my good friend (and fellow Potomac River Running coach) Adam and his buddy Aaron were planning on 22 miles with some serious pace work sandwiched in there – a 3 mile warm up followed by 3 sets of 6 miles, each set progressively faster than the last, and then an easy 1 mile cool down.  These guys are training for Shamrock Marathon and this would be their last “burner” (as Aaron put it) before tapering for their race.  When Adam told me they were planning on this, I have to admit part of me wasn’t committing to it – it sounded like a pretty killer run and I have another month of training to do than they do.  So I told them I was for sure going to run *some* of it with them but that I really wasn’t sure I’d be in for the whole enchilada.

Saturday morning came and Adam had cut his finger really badly on a mandolin the night before – so badly that he wasn’t going to run at all and instead took himself to the Urgent Care while we were all out on the trail.  It was a huge bummer!  Aaron and his girlfriend Nicole both came for the run though, so the three of us stepped up to it together.  Nicole is training for Boston also, but is an IronMan athlete and has been focusing on triathlon heavily lately so this was her first long run in weeks.  She ran the first 9 miles with us and then decided to hold her pace from there.

We ran the first three miles really easy and chatted the whole way (7:49, 7:56, 7:55) and then picked it up for our first set of 6 harder miles.

The goal was to run them in the range of about 7:15.  We ran them in 7:14, 7:12, 7:19, 7:12, 7:12, 7:12.

At this point I was feeling really good.  Nicole dropped back and I told Aaron I would just go with it, take it mile by mile and see how I was feeling.

The second set we dropped our pace down, aiming for something in the range of 7:05-7:10.  We hit them in 7:09, 7:01, 7:06, 6:59, 7:01, 7:12.  The last three miles of this set were funny – we were running down some pretty sweet gentle hills for the fourth and fifth miles and looked at our watches and laughed – we knew we would be fighting those hills on the way back – and the sixth mile of that set had a steep UP hill.  I was wearing my heart rate monitor (something I’ve been doing a lot more of lately) so I could see how steady my effort was.  I wanted to maintain an even effort on those hills and stay in my zone 1 so I knew my pace would slow on the uphills and I was completely okay with that.  I felt strong and confident that I could push myself for the last and fastest set of 6 miles.

As coaches with the =PR= group we only go out 5 miles in each direction on the trail, so when it was time to turn our pace up for the last set of 6 harder miles, it was also time to turn around on the trail.  We ran downhill for the first mile and then up for the next two miles and then it was pretty steady.  We were aiming for right around a 7:00 pace and the last set of 6 looked like this: 6:50, 7:07, 7:05, 6:55, 6:57, 6:46.  I was fighting a side stitch on my right side since about Mile 12, breathing through it and trying to give myself mental cues to focus on other things and work it out.  I wasn’t carrying water with me and had only sipped a cup of it around mile 10, so I thought there was a good chance my stitch was from dehydration issues (lesson learned!).  I told myself to run relaxed, to run strong, to breathe, to open my shoulders to give myself space up there.  It was working and helped a lot, but the stitch never went away and by the time we finished Mile 21 I was SO happy to be able to run easy again!  We ran the last cool down mile in 8:08 and I felt like I was walking.  It was soooo nice.

boom!

My heart rate averaged at 148 for the run.  It is really cool to look at the data and how it correlates with how I was feeling and my perceived effort level.  I stayed in my Zone 1 the whole time and during the periods of harder work my heart rate was at the higher end of that zone.  This run was a huge confidence booster for me!

When I got home later that day I reflected on my run and on how my training has been going.  I take it one day at a time, but am trusting in myself in a whole new way these days.  I know I am strong and that I am being smart and listening to my body, giving myself what I need to accomplish this – from the inside and from the outside.  Sometimes I face seeds of doubt around and within me – some of them come from comments from others (honestly, people who don’t even know me truly) and some of them come from my own fears and insecurities.  I have learned to acknowledge those doubts and to listen to them, but not give too much power to them.  I believe there is something to learn and a lot of growth to be experienced from facing those kinds of thoughts and feelings – from uncomfortable places – and I want to be self aware and thoughtful as a runner and especially as a person.

my splits – in my Believe I Am journal

When I got home on Saturday I took a hot shower, put my compression socks on and went to see the Lego movie with my family.  It was AWESOME (besides the fact that I can’t stop singing the song “Everything is Awesome” nonstop!!).

The next day my good friend Meghan and I went out for a super nice 13 mile run together and my legs felt fantastic.  We also took a great yoga class together after that!  It was a wonderful weekend and it left me feeling so thankful to have such amazing people in my life.

On another note, this morning marks the first day of my participation in a 30 day writing challenge, inspired by my friend Kirk at Kale and Cigarettes.  I don’t think of myself as a writer, but ever since my middle school years I found that writing was a really helpful tool for me.  I kept journals throughout high school and off-and-on during college and beyond.  I have noticed that when I am writing, when I am taking the time to reflect and process things in my life and opening up my creativity through the written word, I am just more balanced and clear-headed, more connected to myself.  So when I saw Kirk’s challenge on Instagram I was inspired to give it a shot.  I’m waking up earlier before my runs (this morning I was at my computer at 4:30!) each morning to spend some time writing.  This will be really hard for me, but I believe it will be worth it!

I hope everyone had a great weekend filled with awesomeness and outside running!

peak week is done … hello taper!!!

Last week was my peak week of training for the Richmond Marathon!  I can’t believe it.  It was quite a week!

I ran 101 miles total (this is a very *wow* thing for me), with six days of running and one day of rest.  Every run had a purpose and I listened to my body and let how I felt dictate what the purpose and the goal for each run would be.  This is what it looked like….

Monday:
Early morning – 11.5 miles solo.  8:15 average pace.  Mostly easy miles, but some race pace miles thrown in there.

Evening – 9 miles.  8:32 average.  I ran the first 3 by myself at goal race pace, and then the next 6 miles with my good friend Cindy at run club before the Pilates class I teach every Monday night.

Tuesday:
Early morning – 11.5 miles – easy/recovery run, at a 8:19 average pace.  After Monday’s double (20.5 miles total for the day) even though my legs were feeling fresh and strong I wanted to take it easy because I was planning on a track workout on Wednesday and I wanted to feel good for that.

Mid-morning – 45 minute strength training session, primarily focused on core and upper body.

Wednesday:
Early morning – TRACK!  I hadn’t  been to the track in MONTHS.  I was so happy that my good friends Dora and Michiel were up for meeting me there!!  11.5 miles total.  10×800 with 1:00 timed recovery between each set.  I ran these really smart and strong – consistency was the goal and I wanted to hit them between 2:57-3:05.  They came in as follows: 2:59, 2:57, 3:01, 2:58, 2:57, 3:01, 2:59, 3:02, 2:59, 2:58.  I felt really good about this workout, especially with all the miles on my legs these past few days and weeks!

Mid-morning – recovery run – 10 miles all very, very easy (8:38 average).

Thursday:
Early morning – 8.3 miles recovery pace, 9:04 average.  Legs were feeling the soreness and heaviness from yesterday’s workout so I took it really easy.

Mid-morning – Another 7.2 miles recovery pace (9:24 average), pushing Baby Gus in the stroller!  Also did another strength training session at the gym, again easy on the legs and more focused on core and upper body.

These runs were both much slower for me than most recovery runs are, and I felt I had faster in me but I just did not want to be risky knowing how much more I had left in my week.  Nothing felt off or tweaky, just tired.  I wanted flush the gunk out of my muscles and honor the recovery my body needed.

Friday:
My legs were feeling good and strong again!  But it became an unplanned rest day — Maddie and I met to run 10 miles together, but the weather was totally creepy.  It was very windy and rainy on-and-off and we decided it might not be the best idea to run in those conditions.  So, rather than run we hung out together nice and cozy in Starbucks.  It was a really nice morning!  So funny because we both showed up wearing the exact same outfit!

Saturday:
Early morning – 10 miles nice and easy (7:56 average).  My legs felt really, really fresh and I wanted to run farther and faster, but was saving my energy for Sunday’s long run.

Sunday:
Early morning – Long run!  Wow did I feel good.  22.5 miles total.  First 10 miles easy, then the next 11 miles at marathon goal race pace, followed by 1.5 miles cool down.  Average pace was a 7:18.  I ran 11 miles heading east and really tried to just make it feel extremely easy.  At the start of mile 11 I picked up my pace still heading east and it felt very good and natural going into that 7:00/mile range. This made me happy!  But then after that mile, I turned around to head back west and found that I was running into what felt like a WALL OF WIND.  I was not happy about this … seeing as how I wanted to run the next 10 miles at goal race pace!  Mile 12 was HARD and I didn’t hit race pace or even close to it (at 7:19) but I knew I was working way harder than the pace on my watch.  Thankfully, I found my groove despite the winds though and from there the miles clicked away right where I was hoping they would, if not honestly a bit faster than I had expected.  I felt steady and strong.  And this made me really, really happy.  This is what my splits came in at: 7:33, 7:35, 7:46, 7:42, 7:43, 7:34, 7:22, 7:35, 7:28, 7:24, 7:01, 7:19, 7:06, 7:04, 7:04, 6:55, 6:46, 6:50, 6:46, 6:53, 6:59, 7:48, 7:54 (last .5).

 
I got home, quickly showered and put on my compression socks and headed to Abby’s soccer games.  Last night I foam rolled as usual (part of my nightly routine) and this morning I woke up with zero soreness in my legs and ran a little more than 7 miles at recovery pace to flush anything out that might be lingering from the huge week I had last week.

I am feeling really, really good.  I never would have guessed that this is what I would feel like after the kind of mileage I have been putting on my body.  I think my body likes this.  I know that sounds silly to some, and probably insane to most, but it is really, honestly and truly, how I feel.

The taper has arrived and Race Day is less than 2 weeks away now!  I am going to do this taper right, and trust in it’s magic and purpose, no matter how crazy it might make me feel some days.  This week I’m planning to run the same number of days that I usually run (6), but lower the volume considerably, almost cutting my mileage in half.  I will plan on a tempo run or mile repeats at the track on Wednesday and then do a long run of probably 12-14 miles over the weekend.  Next week I will take extra rest days and really tone it down over the days leading up to my race.  So that should all make me feel really good and ready to do what I want to do on November 16th in Richmond!!

This whole training cycle I have told myself – take it one day at a time.  Be in the moment – the day, the mile, the step – that I am in.  Push myself forward, and listen to my body and to my heart.  Trusting in where it can take me.  Trusting in what is meant to be, being.  The same goes for the taper and I need to remember that.  Right now I’m just floating on how amazing the experience has been so far, and my heart is full of hope and excitement for all that is possible.  Not just what is possible on November 16th in Richmond, but well beyond that.  Beyond running even.  All that is possible in LIFE.

running buddies – making miles and moments matter

Over the course of this training cycle so far, I have been BEYOND blessed to share a ton of my miles with some really amazing and inspiring friends whose company I truly enjoy.  When we run together, the time and the miles just click on by as we talk about anything and everything under the sun.  We encourage and support one another, we are real with one another, we laugh with one another, we listen to one another and we share whatever it is we feel like sharing.  And oftentimes, we just run silently side by side, to the rhythmic sound of our footsteps and our breath, taking in the beauty of the trail and appreciating that we are there and that we are together.

I cannot take the smile off my face just thinking about how lucky I am to have these guys in my life.

a pretty awesome crew of great peeps

Running buddies are the best buddies.  Even though our friendships were founded in a shared love for this sport, they transcend way beyond the trail because running isn’t just something we do – it is truly a part of who we are.

me and meghan – i never want our runs to end

My running friends have inspired me to believe in myself.  They’ve encouraged me and empowered me to be courageous at times when I have felt afraid.  They have reminded me of my priorities and of who I really am at moments when I have been smothered by self doubt or insecurity.  They have certainly seen me at my very worst on numerous occasions … and they love me anyway just as I do them.  We lift one another up.  We care so much, so sincerely, about one another and all aspects of our lives not just our running.  This connection and bond is strong and steadfast and true.

I am certain that I would not only not be the runner I am today, but I would not be the person I am today, without them.

me and dora – to the moon and back

On Sunday morning I set out for my long run all by myself.  It was the first time I was running long all alone in a while.  A bunch of my friends (including my sister!) were all doing this amazing 22 mile run on the trail with our local running club, the Reston Runners.  It is this amazing annual run they call “The Airport Run” – the club gets two big yellow school buses and drives everyone from our town of Reston out to National Airport, 22 miles east from Reston.  The runners are dropped off there and then run home back to Reston on the trail!  It is really awesome – you feel like you’re on a major adventure and it is great mental training too because you are running point-to-point and, well, you’ve gotta get home somehow!  It wasn’t in the cards for me to join them this year because of logistics with my family and because I wasn’t planning on 22 miles with my training schedule.  So instead I drove a little further east, parked my car and ran from Vienna towards them in hopes that I might catch them and at least give them hugs and high fives along the way.

Maybe it was the cool weather.  Maybe it was the fact that my legs appreciated the step back in miles I took earlier in the week.  Maybe it was the rest day the day before.  Maybe it was the fact that I was excited to be running in a less-visited part of my favorite trail and the change of scenery captured my spirit.  Maybe it was that I knew I was running towards my friends and sister and I was anticipating seeing them.  Whatever it was, it was amazing.  I felt like I was cruising, floating, and my pace was almost effortless.  Going into this run I had a little bit of concern that running long ALONE meant that I would run slower, because for my last few long runs I have been running with some incredible friends (who are also rockstar runners) and the runs have been so epic.  A handful of miles into this run though on Sunday and I knew there was nothing to worry about.  I needed to trust in myself. To listen to my body.  To let go of insecurity, be me, and listen to my heart.

At some point along the way out there, I think around mile 5ish, I came to the realization that it was highly unlikely I would see my sister and my buddies before I had to turn around.  I had this idea – wouldn’t it be so much fun if I had chalk and could leave them inspirational messages along the trail?!  I was bummed I didn’t think of it sooner!  But then I remembered that I would be passing a convenience store soon.  So I popped in and asked the clerk if he had a piece of chalk I could have.  He looked at me as though I had eight heads.  Um no.  I went outside to continue running and started chatting with some bikers who had passed me on the trail earlier.  They were so nice and they suggested I walk across the street to the drug store to see if they had chalk for me.  I went in and they had some but only for sale and of course I had no money on me.  The clerk there was an angel and offered to buy the chalk for me!  It was $1.30.  I was so grateful that my eyes filled with tears!  I took two pieces of the chalk and left the box for him to keep on hand in case any other crazy runner ladies rushed in to borrow chalk some day.  You never know, right!?

I got back on the trail and had so much fun with my messages.  Some of the ones I can remember:

FLOAT

JUST RUN

BREATHE & BELIEVE

HONEY BADGER STRONG

THB FO’ EVA

IT’S ALWAYS A GOOD TIME

22 MILES?? MY FRIENDS ROCK!!

I felt like a little running chalk fairy leaving notes for my friends along the trail and I smiled so big thinking of what their reactions might be as they saw them on their 22 mile run home from the airport.  It made me really, really happy.

The feeling of strength and gratitude that I had didn’t escape me the entire run.   About 18 miles in I developed a side stitch on my right side, most likely from not drinking enough — genius me didn’t bring water on this run and only stopped twice for some sips along the way.  I told myself I only had 2 miles to go though and muscled through it and the pain subsided.  It was good mental training for me to push through that.  My final miles were just as fast as my first and my average pace for the run was a 7:17.

b e l i e v e

When I got back to my car I picked up my phone to tell my family I was on my way back and I noticed I had a message with a picture from my sister.

Breathe & Believe is my sister Jodi’s mantra.  She has always told me that when I am suffering – whether it’s on a run or through a rocky patch in my life outside of running – all I need to do is to remember to BREATHE and to BELIEVE.

Don’t give up.
Keep it simple.
It will be okay.

Breathe
Believe

She said they saw my other messages and thought – how cool.  But when she came upon this one she knew it was me and her heart filled up and gave her wings.

I’m sitting here thinking, basking in the thought of, how amazing it is to have connections to people you love so much, who empower you and lift you up — even when you aren’t physically together.  Real friends and loved ones are life’s truest treasures.  By loving them and by being loved by them, I am stronger and my heart is more full.

Here’s to many more miles – and many more moments – spent with good friends and loved ones on the road ahead.

time to start believing

The other morning I set out very early with the Honey Badgers for our first long run of the taper – 16 miles.  We left when it was still dark out, before the world was waking up.  The temperature was near freezing – I had not felt that type of chilled-to-the-bone feeling in many, many months.  We ran the first 8 miles together, holding a strong pace yet talking and telling stories and just being grateful to have one another to share the trail with.  My sister Jodi came with us on her bike and as she pedaled behind us she joined in the conversations … and the miles just ticked by.  I had no idea how fast or how slow we were running – it was so dark and I was feeling good and I didn’t want to worry about my pace.  It felt good and easy and my heart was happy.  Towards the turnaround point the sun came up and started to warm my skin – my fingers and feet finally began to thaw and there was a warmth that radiated from deep within me.  We reached the halfway point and the plan was to turn up the jets from there – I wanted to test out my legs and see what my goal race pace would feel like for the second half of the run.

~ Chris, Maddie & Me ~

Miles 1-8:
8:09, 7:59, 7:54, 8:04, 7:55, 8:00, 7:41, 7:55

Last week I started thinking about my goal for Marine Corps Marathon.  I started realizing that my original dream of running a 3:20 was actually going to be selling myself short this time around – as hard as that was for me to believe at first it is simply now a FACT that I have come to terms with and am grateful for.  I am capable of faster.  I am stronger than that right now – it scares me – but it is awesome.  So I started thinking.  I looked at my training in my Believe I Am journal and at my Garmin stats – I told myself to dream bigger.  I remembered all the workouts, all the dedication and heart and hard work, all the bad days and tough runs that I overcame, all the amazing feelings I have had, all the self-doubt I have surmounted – this training cycle has been incredible.  I have done the work to get myself here.  Maybe a 3:15.  This would be a 7:15 pace.  I made a deal with myself that if I could run close to a 7:15 pace for the last 8 miles of my 16 mile run, I would attempt a 3:15 marathon on race day.  If I could do that then, I would allow myself to believe I could do it on race day.

I started running faster for mile 9.  Picking up my pace and easing into a groove.  My feet were beneath me like wheels and I wanted to keep them there, but let my heart lead the way.  Listen to my footsteps.  Be aware of all that was around me and within me.  Not fight anything.  Just go.  Just do what I love.  Just feel happy and enjoy it and see where I am at and be grateful to be there.

Occasionally I looked at my watch and freaked out a little bit.  I was running much faster than a 7:15 at times.  And I felt so good.  So strong.  So grateful.  So in my element.  So present.  So capable.  And yes, SO HAPPY.

Miles 9-16:
7:29, 7:10, 7:02, 6:49, 7:02, 7:05, 7:43, 7:32

The last two miles were both hilly and I knew that I would slow down unless I increased the effort.  But I didn’t want to increase the effort, I wanted to keep my effort steady and even.  It wasn’t about pushing my pace – I knew I could do if I asked my body to.  This run was about holding my effort steady and letting this just happen.  Feeling good.  Letting myself feel strong.  Letting myself feel that if I had to, I could run another 10 miles and pick up my pace and my effort when it was necessary to do so.  I wanted to listen to my body and be REAL with myself about how hard this was.  And it just wasn’t so terribly hard.  I felt exactly how I wanted to feel.

I finished 16.25 miles with an average pace of 7:35.  When the run was over I did not feel spent or drained or wiped out.  I felt filled up.  Filled up with hope and joy and gratitude.  Filled up with courage and confidence.  Filled up with happiness.

I believe that I can run a 3:15 marathon on October 28th.  It is time now to start believing that I WILL.

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.

MORE.

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.