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5ksandcabernets: Taper time


Monday, October 4, 2010

Taper time

A year ago today, exactly 365 days ago, I was running in the Portland Marathon. Thought I was ready to go after a Boston qualifying, and at the very least run a PR. Instead, I crashed and burned and didn't even break four hours.
Today, the clock ticks down on yet another marathon, my seventh. On Sunday, I will run the Chicago Marathon. All of my training is done. All I can do is hurry up and wait.
Again, I feel good about my prospects for a PR, and as confident about qualifying for Boston. Since about mid August, my training has just taken off and I've hit every number that I've needed to hit during my training runs - Yasso 800s, 1k intervals, MGP, etc., etc., etc.
But again, I've felt good in past marathons only to start cramping around Miles 14 or 15 and then those cramps leading to a death shuffle around Miles 20 or 21.
And yet this time is gonna be different. Its gotta be. I am willing it so. I know now that my cramps are not because I went out to fast or didnt drink enough water/gatorade, or take in enough energy gels. I know now my past leg muscle maladies have been because I never took the time to stretch much before or after my training runs, thus my hips and abductors were stiff as a board on marathon day, and that stiffness led to quad and calf cramping that made running an impossible feat.
I've stretched a ton this summer, did tons of core strengthening exercises and at times was so sore in my midsection/groin area that it hurt to sneeze or laugh.
That's not to say that I "beat the cramps" this summer. I don't think I ever will (unless I run on an extremely flat course with temperatures in the 50s or cooler - which, by the way, is the forecast/course for Chicago ). But if the spasming starts this Sunday in the Windy City, I wont panic. I wont over load on water and GU and make things worse. I'll do some of the same kinds of stretches I did during my long runs up and down the hills of Austin.
Fact is, I know I can do this. I know I can run 7:40 min/mile pace for 26.2 miles. I'm feeling in such good shape right now that 7:40 pace feels really easy. My last two MGP runs have seen me settle into a 7:25 to 7:30 pace. I look down at my Garmin and tell myself to slowdown.
And that's what I will do in Chicago. My plan is to hold between 7:30 and 7:45 pace for the first 16 or so miles. I will have been out on the road for two hours at this point and by then, all the cards will be on the table. If I'm going to cramp, it will be right around this two hour mark. My energy level will be what its going to be. I will be in a good mood or in a bad mood. But hopefully, I'm in a fighting mood for the last 10 miles, and if that's the case, then, Boston, hear I come.


Blogger mikeINaustin said...

I wish you the best in Chicago, Kevin! You are ready to knock it out of the park, so this is your time. Go get it!

October 4, 2010 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Just_because_today said...

good good luck. I remember a year ago, I was following your training.
I've never had the confidence you have. Good job, enjoy the race adn the outcome

October 4, 2010 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger Bert said...

Good luck on 10/10/10 - BQ ahead!

October 5, 2010 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Grant said...

Best of luck in Chicago. Sounds like you are both ready and confident.


October 5, 2010 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Reese said...

Good luck Kevin. At this point all you can do is trust your training. But if I were betting on the outcome, I'd bet you'll succeed.

October 6, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

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