"The taper" is here — I'll only be running ~20 miles this week, 13.1 of which will be the half marathon on Sunday. Needless to say, I'm nervous as hell. Kin is heading out of town in a few minutes, and he'll be gone all week — lucky for him as I'm likely to be out-of-my-mind with anxious energy, partly in anticipation of the race and partly with the deliberate rest that my training program has prescribed this week.
The last long run of the training program was on Saturday, and the half marathoners and marathoners ran the entire distance — 8.2 miles — together, which was nice, as all season long I've had to say goodbye to my pace group as those running twice the distance trudged onward. The conversations on Saturday were all about our plans — for this week, for the race. I've learned a lot by running with this group, and I appreciate all the advice that more experienced runners have given me. "What's your plan," folks asked me over and over and over.
I have a plan for my fuel: eat a gel (Spring Energy fuel, to be exact) at miles 4, 8, and 10 — that one at mile 8 will have caffeine. I have a plan for my pace: I'm running a steady 9 minute-mile (I hope), which means I'm slightly slower than the 1:55 pace group and slightly faster than the 2:00 pace group. (Goal: come in under 2 hours.) It's hard to predict how quickly we'll move out of the starting gate, so I just want to keep things steady at a pace I know (or I think I know) I can handle. I have a plan for this week: I'm running on Wednesday and Friday — I wouldn't miss the donut run — but just 4 miles each day. And 4 slow miles. I'm going to lifting on Tuesday, but skipping Thursday. I don't need to carb load like marathon runners do, but honestly, who doesn't love carbs so I'll be eating lots of breads and oatmeal cookies and pasta this week. (I always make dal when Kin is out of town, and while one doesn't want to overdo the fiber before a long distance run for obvious reasons, I'll probably eat that too.) I have a plan with what I'm wearing — shorts, short-sleeve shirt, hat, race shoes — and I'm hoping that it doesn't rain.
The weather has been so crap here lately. "Atmospheric river" — supposedly there's yet another one on the way this afternoon. But as we've trained in this weather, if we have to race in this weather I'll be ok. I might not run it in under 2 hours, but then again, I have another half marathon in six weeks time — WTF was I thinking — so I have another shot.
I'm taking a week off from running after this race — I'm not sure how long it's going to take my body to recover. And I'm going to try training for the next one with a heart-rate monitor. This technological intervention is part of my new writing project, which, incidentally, had a soft launch this past week. More details to come, I promise.
But as I start up this new writing project and as I wrap up my HM training, things are probably going to shift here on my blog. It's definitely going to remain "my personal blog," and as such is going to stay loosely written and conceived. I have no interest in shaping the words here into something polished. I'd like to recover some of the freedom I felt in the earliest days of blogging — when no one really read things but a small circle of friends, those who really did care about the mundanity of life because that's what we shared (as opposed to some professional affinity or what have you).
I'm reading Jenny Odell's Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock, and as I'm completely obsessed with the clock this week — with how fast I really can run 13.1 miles — I am going to try to unwind with some of her thoughts on how capitalism and clocks are destroying our souls. Sounds encouraging, doesn't it.