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I don’t listen very well. The Good, The Bad, and the Inspirational

So for those of you who spoke with or read my blog last week know I was supposed to make my last long run of 21 miles before tapering. However, I melted in the humidity and died out at 17.5. I went to facebook, twitter, and my running friends for advice on whether I should attempt to get 20 or just begin my taper three weeks out like my original plan called for. Every single person I talked said to just forget about and stick with my original plan and start the taper. For someone reasons I just couldn’t imagine showing up on October 15th and attempting to run 8 more miles than I have ever run in my life. Keep in mind this is my first marathon. I have never ran more than 18 miles at a time before. If this was my 3rd marathon I would have tapered. So despite the advice I ran 3 miles earlier in the week and then went out for 21 today. Fortunately it was much cooler today and it actually felt like fall. I ran a blistering pace (for me) of 3 hours and 7 minutes. If I run this pace on Marathon day I will be ecstatic.
The Good. I wore exactly what I plan on wearing for the marathon. Same shirt, shorts, socks, and sneakers. I wanted to see if there were any unforeseen issues. Maybe the socks shift out of place and cause blisters or maybe my shirt is too loose and causes chafing. Luckily, everything felt great. So let’s analyze what I did so hopefully I can recreate it. First of all I the weather. I can’t control what the weather is on October 15th but certainly that was a big factor. 58 degrees with little humidity and partly cloudy vs 83 degrees with 93% humidity. The second is I actually had pasta the night before. It was my mom’s birthday so we went out for dinner. I had penne all vodka with grilled chicken. I have no idea if this played a factor or not but guess what? I plan on having pasta the night before the big day. I also had two beers and an Irish Coffee. Coincidence? Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game of his entire major league Hall of Fame baseball career. Who am I to argue? Third thing is I ate nothing before I ran. I woke up and had a cup of coffee and a bottle of water. Last week I tried t eat and my stomach was not agreeing. I started to cramp up and feel side stitches most o the way. I did take 3 Gu packs with me and had those every 5 miles. They are 100 calories of high carb and sugar which can replenish glycogen stores that are lost on the run. On race day I will probably use 4 of them. I also tried to drink 6 ounces of water every three miles. I have tried gatorade or vitamin water before but again it doesn’t agree with my stomach. Maybe I will switch to gatorade late in the race when I am on the home stretch but I plan on mostly drinking water.
The Bad. I had a pretty bad foot pain. Just under my big toe on my right foot I had an excruciating pain. When I am running on flat ground moving straight ahead I was fine. Any pronation at all because of an uneven surface was really painful. The streets of Morristown are crowded and if I had to side step a person or a garbage can or any lateral movement was really painful. I am hoping it is just a bone bruise from just the wear and tear of 350 miles of road running. If that is the case I am hopeful that the next two weeks of tapering will help heal that up. Worst case scenario I guess is a stress fracture but I am not there yet I don’t think.
The Inspirational: My wife Ann ran her first ever 5k on Saturday. After weeks of training she ran and completed her 5k and even reached her goal time. In fact, when I was debating whether or not I would ever attempt a full marathon she was the one who made me a deal. She said if I ran a marathon she would run a 5k. I created a workout plan for her and she followed it perfectly. Despite having a pretty nasty cough that popped up the week of the race she battled and reached her goal. I am so proud of her and she did an amazing job.
Now its time to taper. All the hard work in mostly done and I feel ready. This coming week I have two runs of 4 miles with speed work and 8 miles with a hill or two. Then I have a massage scheduled on Saturday which I am very much looking forward to. It is a 90 minute “extreme sports massage” at Bliss in Hoboken. Then after that we are in race week. 2 miles flat and 5 miles flat at an easy comfortable pace during the week. I took of work on the Friday before so I can head down to Baltimore and relax. I have to pick up the race packet and my free under armor T shirt at the Health expo. Then I can walk around a little and see what the expo has to offer. Then Friday night I plan on getting some pasta and a good night’s sleep before race day. Hopefully I can finish the race and hopefully the weather cooperates. Stay tuned foe race day updates. Baltimore running festival. October 15th. Here I come.

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not sure where I stand

Well, This was supposed to be my last long run before the marathon. My training plan said to do 20 miles. I was a little unsure about making my last long run 20 and leaving 6.2 on the table. Now, I am leaving 8.2 on the table.
I ran 18 miles two weeks ago. Last week I knocked my long run down to 10 miles. The 10 mile run felt smooth and easy.
My plan was to make this weekend’s run like a race simulation. The Marathon starts at 8 a.m. I wanted to get up around 7:30. Drink my water and hit the road. Of course I slept in a little later. I am taking the Friday before the marathon off from work so hopefully I will be rested. I got up around 8:15. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and got dressed. For some reason I was really hungry. I made a toasted English Muffin with peanut butter. I rarely have this as my breakfast. I finally hit the road around 9:15. For about 7 miles I was feeling pretty good. I always bring a water with me on the road. At about mile 10 I started to feel stomach cramps. Side stitches creeped up around mile 12 and didn’t go away until I was done. The weather was mostly cloudy and around 70 but with high humidity. It was 93% when I woke up. The humidity was brutal. Miles 1-10 I was moving along at my typical 8:50 – 9:35 pace. Miles 10 -17 I was slower than 10 minutes a mile. That is much slower than anything I normally do. I didn’t realize this at the time but after uploading my run on the computer there was a clear point where I hit the wall. In high humidity situations the body just can’t evaporate quickly enough. This can lead to increase body temperatures and lots of other symptoms. I hydrated plenty. I refilled my water bottle two times I refueled with an espresso Gu energy gel. I just could not get into a rhythm. My feet were killing me and my left hip was cramping up. I tried to gut it out for 18 but I couldn’t even handle that. 17.5 was the end. Normally when I am feeling this way I say to myself if you stop now you still have to walk home. I didn’t care at this point. I walked about a mile and a half back home. I took my typical ice bath on my longer runs. Right now I am dealing with aching feet and a sore left hip that feels like it could cramp at any moment. Also, just general fatigue. After I got out of the ice bath and shower I fell asleep for an hour or so. I am starting to second guess this a little. I think I can still do it if everything goes well but what if it doesn’t. Now the question is do I start my taper as my plan dictates or do I try to get up to 20 miles. I am 3 weeks out.