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I survived the first week of the taper! Sunday’s Half-Marathon marked 3 weeks to race day, and the beginning of the gradual decline in intensity and mileage.

After many, many hard weeks of training, I’m a bit relieved. The end is near. My goal is (finally) in reach. November 6th used to feel so far away- especially through all those humid, sweaty runs in July and August- and it was hard to visualize race day. September rolled around, the fall air began to hit, and upping my long runs helped draw the marathon a bit closer. And now, we’re suddenly nearing the end of October and it’s in sight. How did that happen? I’ve logged three 20-mile runs, pushed through weekly workouts at half-marathon and marathon pace, reached a new highest weekly mileage, and I feel ready. Well, most of the time.

The great part is… all the really hard work is behind me. But that’s also the scary part. I second guess myself. Did I do enough? Were my runs long enough? Was my pace fast enough? I’m out of time to put in the hard work. These few weeks of tapering will be about getting my legs fresh, staying healthy, resting up, and mentally preparing. While these things are all a very important part of race preparation, it’s difficult not to question how you could have done more during training. Stretched more, iced more, ran longer, ran faster, slept more, ate cleaner, took iron more, lifted more, worked on my core strength more.

I think this is totally natural. No matter your ability, there is always room to doubt yourself. No matter your training, there is always the question if you could have done more. It’s like that in all areas of life: did I study enough for that test? Did I prepare enough for my big client presentation? Did I spend enough time with my family? Did I do enough to show my friends I care?

I need to focus on looking back at all I’ve accomplished over the last 3 months, and trust in that. I feel confident that I’ve done the best I could in my training given the time and energy I was able to dedicate. I am thankful to have stayed healthy and injury-free this entire training cycle. I have woken up earlier than the sun, run faster and farther than comfort, and am ready. Sub-3:00 is no longer a lofty goal, it’s in reach. The preparation is done. It’s all up to feeling good, running smart, staying strong, and digging deep on race day.

Hopefully, crossing the finish line as happy (and satisfied) as last year! This time, a few minutes faster.

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This week, I hit 49.5 miles.

  • Sun: 13.1 miles- Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco: 1:32:09
  • Mon: Off
  • Tues: Flew back from CA on redeye. 4 miles easy after landing before work.
  • Weds: 4.5 miles in CP
  • Thurs: 2 warmup, 5.16 tempo (6:44 average pace), 2.5 cooldown
  • Fri: 2 miles shakeout
  • Sat: 16.5 miles total, including last 10 miles of the marathon course (!)

Next week, I’ll probably hit around 35-38 miles, and then only around 22-25 miles the week before the marathon. Hooray!

To rest, I’ll be keeping it pretty low key these next two weekends. Last night, I went to the Meatball Shop with Dan for dinner. The wait was less than an hour, surprising for 7 p.m. on a Friday. Like last time I went, I decided to get the sliders again so I could choose multiple ball/sauce varieties. I chose the spicy pork with spicy meat sauce, veggie with parmesan cream sauce, and the special ball- chicken cordon bleu with mushroom sauce! With a side of carrot and chive risotto, steamed spinach and the market salad with arugula, pomegranate seeds and persimmon. Yum!

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And of course, no dinner is complete without dessert. Special apple cinnamon ice cream with special oatmeal cherry cookies. Amazing.

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No, these hairy arms are not mine.

This morning, I met a few of my CPTC teammates on 59th and 1st to run the last 10 miles of the marathon course. I ran about 4.5 miles through the park to meet, and 2 miles easy after we finished to run back to my apartment. Afterwards, I refueled with a giant mug of Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee, and steel cut oatmeal mixed with pumpkin and protein powder. Now that it’s finally feeling like fall, I’m in the mood for warm, flavorful food. MMM.

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I have to run a few errands this afternoon before fun evening plans. I can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow!

How do you stay confident during a taper? Tips to trust in your training? Any fun weekend plans?