Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In the taper

It's here.
Taper is here.

It's been a whirlwind of a month. Seems when I was planning for this marathon back in May that I neglected to consider all the other things I would have going on during my peak weeks. To say that I overbooked myself for the month of October, which was host to some truly great moments and a few rather hairy ones as well, would most likely be the understatement of the year.

Trying to maintain balance between training and other life's stuff has always been a struggle for me, where committing to things with the intention of putting forth my best effort has become my trademark. I like a good challenge where I get a bit uncomfortable but somehow make it out in the end with a result and an experience that is all my own. Yet, as I age it seems the lower on the list of priorities running tends to fall as the value of my life exponentially increases in unexpected ways.

All those miles are still very much present in my life, but they simply are what they are.
No more. No less.

Mr. Chicago Runner Girl & myself on a recent trip to LA during a peak marathon training week

Running still makes me feel as strong and confident as ever where the sound of my feet grazing across the pavement will always bring peace to my soul. There are few things in life that a woman can have only to herself, and running is that for me. It's my time to disconnect from the world and my daily agenda where the hush of my breath still has that same calming effect as it did 16+ years ago when I started running.

But marathon training has always put this soothing to the test.

It makes me feel like I'm repeatedly short on time, 
running 10 minutes behind the rest of the world,
constantly shuffling from one place to the next,
and just a big ragged around the edges.

I've always felt that marathons, in theory, sound wonderful. It's not until I dive in head first and find myself nose deep in training that I remember why this isn't my favorite distance to race and train for. It's a deeply intense labor of love where the results don't always reflect the efforts, a experience I've become very familiar with over the years. If there is anything that I've learned from my 9 previous marathons over the past 10+ years it's that it's just one day, one race. It isn't the end-all-be-all, just a snapshot on what the body was capable of on that one lived day. And sometimes, that dreamed up PR race just isn't going to be in the cards even after a nearly flawless training cycle.

That being said, I've still put in the work needed for a great race.

I've tackled countless hills, and sometimes even mountains, to prepare.
Way outside of my comfort zone on that.

That one was a doozy.
I've practiced, practiced, practiced that GMP like it's my job.
So much to the point that goal marathon pace feels second nature to the legs now.

Last GMP workout of the cycle, 12 miles @ 7ish pace

Hit a PDR week for 2013 with 62 miles.
Clocking the most quality miles my life has ever seen.

At this point I'm feeling more prepared and less stressed than I've ever been for a marathon in my entire life. I've done the work, I'm doing the rest, and I trust myself. Just itching to get out there. 

There is no over thinking,
no doubt,
no question at all whether I'm ready or not.
I'm ready.

What happens happens and I know that I'm going to walk away from this experience knowing that I gave it my best. Clock times, splits, placings, etc. hold no weight for me. Instead, all I'm concerned about is putting forth a solid effort while maintaining that same steady focus I've had for months.

Naperville Marathon...here I come.


  1. You have absolutely hit the nail on the head when you wrote about a marathon race day being just a glimpse of the effort put in to that one race. That can be incredibly frustrating but incredibly rewarding too. I am very excited for you. Looks like you have put in some of your best work. Can't wait to read how you do!!

  2. Looking forward to see how you do Britt - I think you're going to have a great race because you've prepared well and just from reading this you have that killer mindset...you're confident and you believe you can do it. Loose body, tight mind - you've got this.

  3. One of the greatest feelings in the world is to stand at the start line of a marathon, knowing that you are completely ready and it's just a matter of the gun sounding for you to prove it. Good luck, you will do awesome!

  4. This post sums it all up so well. You're in a great place mentally and physically and seem to have found a great balance between running and life- I admire that a lot. I'm so excited to see you do amazing things this weekend.

  5. I'm running my 3rd Marathon in Columbus GA on this Saturday! I love how you articulate the training v/s the actual race day performance. I have had a great training cycle and am hoping it shines through on race day. I will be wishing you luck Saturday morning as well. Happy miles.

  6. Wow - your monthly mileage is incredible! Good luck in Naperville!!

  7. "It's a deeply intense labor of love where the results don't always reflect the efforts, a experience I've become very familiar with over the years."

    While our paces in no way match each other, we have this thing in common. Here's hoping that you get back every bit you put in come Sunday. I'll be out there cheering you on!

  8. You go girl! I thought I'd be able to make it out to Naperville to watch the races this weekend, but turns out I won't :( Good luck!

  9. Yay yay yay! I am so excited for you and the race this weekend! :)

  10. We can't wait to see you and cheer for you! You are going to be great!!

  11. I am really excited for you, Britt. Following your training for Naperville, and even being pseudo-stalker (in a good way!) and reading your earlier posts, makes me think that you're coming into Naperville hella prepared, of course, but also with a completely different mindset and paradigm toward your goals and a different attitude toward your relationship with running. You are going to kick so much ass, and I will be cheering my head off; I'll be there with another friend running the full! I'll have to DM you on twitter this week to get the scoop :)

    Go get it, grllllllll!!! Burn those boats!! xo

  12. Love your last paragraph, that is the right mindset and I know you are going to do amazing! Good luck!

  13. I'm sad I'm not going to be there to cheer for you (I'll be in Madison running a half). You have trained hard and you're going to kick butt this weekend! I love your attitude and glad you didn't miss out on any activities with your family and friends.