But that's what time it is, it's taper time, exactly 2 weeks until the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in St. Louis. I'm following the Wine and Dine 1/2 training plan and my last long run before these two back to back races was today.
Today called for 12.5 miles. I've always been a bit of an overachiever, so something didn't sit right with me, being just .6 miles away from a half marathon, so I decided a few days ago to just up it to 13.1 miles. I'm glad I had that goal in my head because I may have stuck with 12.5 miles if I made the game day call.
Preparing yesterday went well. I drank tons of water, I ate very well. I've been trying to eat better foods and I stuck with it yesterday. I am an insanely picky eater and have been trying to branch out with more foods, even though I find them, especially vegetables, disgusting. I felt like I did really well yesterday with the right foods to fuel my long run today.
I met with my local MRTT girls, they are all training for a full marathon and had 20 miles to run today, so I joined them for the first 7 miles of my journey and then planned to loop back. Things started to go wrong last night.
My 4 year old daughter, the Big Princess, fell on the playground yesterday. No big deal to most people, but to her it is the end of the world. She is a HUGE drama queen and a scrape is cause to amputate. The last time she fell she cried to the point that she seriously said "I don't want to dieeeeeee." So this is what I got to deal with last night. With my alarm set for 6 am, I needed to get to bed early, but there she was at 11 pm, crying about how awful her boo-boo was. I finally gave it up to my husband and told him I needed my sleep, and I went to her bed. I got to sleep, only to wake up at 1:30 am. All of that hydrating during the day was still catching up with me. Back to bed, only for my 2 year old, the Little Princess, to come walking in looking for me at 2:30. I got her back to sleep, only for the cat to decide that 4 am was the perfect time to play and scratch. Put her in the bathroom and get back to sleep once more, which only seemed like a few minutes before the alarm went off. I had to get up.
I met my group of girls, who were already 4 miles into their run. I seriously wouldn't have been able to do this without them, they dragged me out of bed at O Dark Thirty on many weekends, pushed my pace and kept me company. My neck loosened up and my toe didn't hurt, so I was doing well.
Around mile 5, I felt a feeling I hadn't felt before, but that I knew exactly what it was. Rubbing, on my pinky toe. I wore new compression socks for the first time while running, and they were rubbing my toe raw. I have been lucky enough thus far not to have ever dealt with blisters or lost toenails, until now that is. I knew that my first blister was forming. I was actually okay with it, because a blister made me feel more legit as a runner. It's my war wound, my badge of honor.
I split up with the group as I hit 7 miles. Fearing I would slow down, I actually picked up my pace. I had my tunes and it was just me and the open road, so I had more pep in my step. At that point I had been going anywhere between 9:50 minute miles all the way to almost 10:30. After breaking from the group I went back down to around 10 minutes per mile. I was feeling good and then I hit mile 11. My previous training runs had gone so well, I had forgotten all about the pit of despair that is mile 11.
Some thoughts after today's run:
1. Blisters are not fun badges of courage. I realize now that, on top of it hurting, I'm stuck in flip flops until it heals. There goes the start of boot season. And there goes the pedicure I was planning to get this week. Hopefully by next weekend it will have healed.
2. Running 13.1 miles(or more) during a training run is oddly disappointing. While I do feel really proud of doing it, and improving my time, the lack of pomp and circumstance is sad. I have only run 13.1 miles one other time and that was PHM. That came with a medal and celebration. Today's half marathon came with a car ride home and 3 loads of laundry when I got there.There was bacon waiting for me when I got home, because my husband is awesome like that.
3. Don't put your car key in the back pocket of your running skirt. Mine apparently got pressed against my tailbone by my fuel belt and now it feels like there is a bruise there.
4. I really think I can do a full marathon. Sure, I'm sore now, but I really think I can do a full. The last time I ran this distance, I was ready to die and couldn't figure out how anyone did a full marathon, as just finishing a half was awful.
5. I'm amazed at how much I have changed. I went from "Just get this over with." during PHM to actually looking forward to these longer runs. My pace has improved 2-3 minutes per mile, I'm injury free and I don't actually hate all of this running. Before PHM, if I had a 12.5 mile training run, I did 12.5 miles and not a step more. I didn't even go to 12 miles back then, I went up to 10 and called it a day. And I stopped right at 10.
6. Speaking of stopping at 10, many people say if you can get to 10 miles in training before a half, you will be fine. While this is what I did before PHM and I did finish that race, I still feel like it wasn't enough. Finishing the 13.1 miles was a struggle for me and after 10 miles I ran out of steam. Yes, I was injured on top of it all, but my lack of training played another big role in my complete decline after mile 10. This time I've gone higher than that, and I feel much more confident.
7. And speaking of confidence. I really feel like I'm going to kill the RnR half marathon. Over training I've bumped up my time goals. First it was to finish in under 2:30. Then it was finish in 2:20. Now I really think, with race day adrenaline and a partner that is a bit faster, I think I can finish in around 2:10. I'm excited about this, not dreading it like I did with my first half marathon.
With that, I'm ready. Ready to conquer St. Louis.