I have lots of running friends who really struggle with the whole concept and practice of the pre-marathon taper, where you take time off from running in the build-up to the big event. Most of the runners I know just hate not running. I, on the other hand, don't mind it at all. I usually love finishing that last training long-run, knowing that I get a couple of weeks where I don't have to force myself into my running shoes (with apologies to you barefooters!) when I don't really want to go. However, with Rock and Roll Seattle 6 days away, I laced up my new Kayano 14's yesterday morning and headed out for a 10 miler. I just HAD to.
It was my first run since last week's 15 miler that included 4 miles in bare feet. The no-shoes part of that run was awesome. I really did not want to put my shoes on but knew my un-shod feet would not fare well if I tried to go the whole way unprotected. Trouble was, I got a couple of huge blisters AFTER I put the shoes on. I took the following week off so that those blisters could heal in time for Rock and Roll. That accomplished I thought yesterday's run, with shoes, would be safe.
The bigger issue, at least yesterday, was my head needed to go for a run. I needed some space from a crazy, busy, sometimes unpleasant few days of work last week. One of those weeks where one questions the whole reason one does what one does for a living. One of those weeks where your brain tries to beat you up for being silly and un-smart in the run-up to where you are now. What was required and desired yesterday was a couple of hours of listening to something other than those voices. Running works for that.
When I do run it's usually early in the morning. It's my favourite time of day. It's when most of the locals are still asleep. I work in a retail environment, which may help to explain the need for time away from people. However, for yesterday's run I didn't start til about 10:00. I don't think I've ever started a run that late, except for the 2004 Loch Ness Marathon, that started at about that time, if memory serves. I never run in the afternoon or evenings. I'm usually too pooped by then.
I have no clue why I chose a hill workout for yesterday's run, but I did. It started with exactly five miles of climbing. According to the Garmin, about 600' of up. The highest point on this Saturday's marathon in Seattle is about 150'. I geared down to 2:1 run/walk intervals for the climb and wrapped it up in 1:02. For many that's crazy slow. For me, considering the climbing, I was pretty pleased with the pace. After cresting "The Arlington" at the golf course, it's pretty much a tumble down the hill for about a mile. After that, it's four miles of flat to home.
I listened to three episodes of one of my favourite running podcasts during the 1:59 I was out there. One was about Vibram running products, another featured a not-so-famous NPR gameshow host, and the third was all about running bras. I will admit to NOT listening to the whole bra episode. I mean, really. What would the point have been? My brain did get a little break, but my feet did not.
My new Asics shoes are not working out well. At least, not yet. Upon getting home I uncovered two new blisters, in spots I've never developed a blister before. One was on the inside of my left heel. The other was on the tip of my 2nd toe on that same foot. Not sure what's up with the new footwear, but I'm glad to have tried them out to the point where I know they're probably not going to work for the next marathon. Pulling the old "Beasts" out of retirement. Old friends are often the best.
I only have to tread water for two days of work this week before I board a Virgin America flight to Seattle on Thursday. I love flying Virgin, so I've got that to look forward to. At the end of that flight there's a nice room ready at a posh (for me) hotel on Lake Union. It's walking distance from the Pike Place Market. I'm thinking that's where me and my camera will be hanging out on Friday, after the marathon expo.
I'm thinking now yesterday's run accomplished just what I needed. This week is mostly about Saturday, and my 21st wedding anniversary. The really important stuff.