Tapering for the Marathon

First off, I skipped an entry yesterday, and I had no actual excuse. I was doing nothing but playing Tetris Battle on our new Amazon TV (as well as taking care of two fake babies in the game Adopt a Baby–I’ve fed them more ice cream and chocolate muffins than any person should eat in a lifetime, yet they are still alive and healthy). Oh, and I went on a cool sunset run to the Marina. The marathon is in two weeks, and we are in my favorite training phase of all time: tapering period. Yes, that’s right– where you actually get to slowly and steadily cut down on training. My long run can be 8 miles instead of 16. It’s a glorious thing.

I did do a lot of weekend research on the NYC Marathon. I’ve done the L.A. one so many times, all the logistics come pretty easy to me. Also, the weather is almost always HOT, so there is no question of layering. NYC is a whole different beast. I spent hours online trying to figure out the best way to get to the marathon before deciding on: taxi to Staten Island Ferry to bus to marathon. Yes, getting there is half the battle. I found fun facts like: wear an entire outfit over your running outfit, because it will be freezing at the start. And you will be there for hours. Then you just throw it away, which seemed very litter-y to me. No worries: they donate the clothes to the homeless population. So I bet around December lots of homeless will be wearing track pants and old running shirts. I don’t have any old sweats to throw away, so I bought the ugliest, cheapest ones I could find on Amazon. I will NOT be looking like a fashion icon Sunday morning.

In good news, my corral (they start in waves because there are so many people) doesn’t start until 10:30 AM. This sounds much more appealing than the L.A. 7:00 AM start. And we gain an hour of sleep the night before, so hopefully the time change won’t bother me too much & I’ll be wide awake on marathon morning. Weird: at the L.A. marathon this year, we LOST an hour of sleep. I’m really into time change marathons!

There was also other advice on the internet: bring newspaper to sit down on when you arrive, so you won’t be soaking wet for the start. Bring a “throw away” pair of shoes for the same reason. (Does everyone have all these throw-away items?). Bring toilet papers because the port-a-potties may have run out. You don’t want to run on the lower level at the first bridge because too many marathon runners are peeing off the top level & it could possibly land on you. WAIT–WHAT??? There is such a thing as too much research. I stopped there.

In great news, this marathon will be much cooler (unless there is weird weather) than the last one & all of my training runs. As long as rain isn’t pouring down, the weather should help me out. 50s and 60s seem cold, but it’s actually perfect for running. There are HILLS–it isn’t a flat course, but some incline/decline actually keeps me awake. I’ve read that the fastest marathons are those with the fewest turns. This isn’t one of them. There are turns all over the place, but I love that, too. I can’t imagine running in one direction 6 miles before making one turn & doing it again…yawn. I’ll also hopefully be able to see several friends along the course. I love that my first time back to the city in 3 years will be running through ALL of it. What a welcome back! We end in my favorite of running places: Central Park. And we are staying on one of the streets I used to live on in the Upper West Side–super close to the finish.

How did my training go this time around, you ask? Or you didn’t ask? I don’t run nearly as much as I used to. I got so used to switching it up in triathlons, I just haven’t been able to get back to the same mileage I used to run. I get bored! But starting in January–training for the L.A. marathon–I slowly got back into some kind of groove. And in July, I really tried to boost it slowly without getting injured. That’s the key! The result is: I’m not fast, but I’m not injured at all either. I think it’s one of the first time in my training that I didn’t have an injury setback. I would of course love 3 more months to keep building mileage, but that’s pretty much the story of my life.

I also didn’t do all the long runs training plans tell you to do. But I did enough. I’ve learned that whatever training that happens before a marathon, it ends up being enough to finish the race. I’m not going for a time goal. I would like to run 9:30-10:00min miles–slow enough to enjoy the sights, but fast enough that I’m done before dinner time! I will save my record-breaking times for a flatter, faster course. This is the first time in my training that I’ve ever run with a watch that keeps track of my pace/mileage. Man, those watches keep you honest! A little too honest for my taste…

So, two weeks to go. My new running shoes (a gift to myself, when I discovered my soles on my old shoes are falling apart) are on their way! Thinking of ordering some kind of neon running top, so people can spot me–if you have any fashion running advice, please throw some my way. I usually end up in a boring black outfit.

Did I tell you how excited I am? I’ve been waiting to run this course forever, and I can’t wait for all the crowds (New Yorkers are EPIC) & the views. I hope they play lots of cheesy NYC music before the race starts!

One Reply to “Tapering for the Marathon”

  1. This sounds like it is going to be such fun………I know you’ll have a blast. Fashion tip—-I’m kind partial to that neon lime-green color, although it’s probably old-hat by now. Interesting that you are going to run “slow enough to enjoy the sights”….the last time I broke into a run, I had to stop as my cheeks were bouncing up and shutting my eyes….I couldn’t see anything and I was afraid that I would hit something!

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