On Sunday, my awesome mom and I completed our LAST LONG RUN before the New Jersey Half Marathon!
Normally, on my own training schedules, this week would have been an 8 mile week, the first week of going downward in mileage. However, we edited my mom’s schedule a little bit. She has already done a 10 mile race, so 10 miles wasn’t a problem for her. We did that last week, and it was hard but she did it. I purposely built in an extra long week for her – this week – scheduled at anywhere between 10 and 12 miles, whatever she was feeling that day. Knowing my mom, I had a feeling doing just a little bit more than 10 miles would let her know that she could keep going and still feel okay.
On Sunday, we started our run and within the course, I threw in a couple extra little loops mid-run, to give us a 0.50 leg up by the time it was decision time. Weather was mostly on our side, though a little bit chilly for my taste. We passed by mom’s house at mile 8, at which point I told her she had choices to make: stop at 8, keep going to 10, or keep going over 10. She decided to do 11. It was a good choice – just enough to say it was her longest run ever, and to feel just a little bit of that half marathon pain-slash-pleasure. That little confidence builder.
By mile 9 she was tired, just like last week – but not in pain. Good signs. I check in often after mile 8, since that is mostly where she slows up and walks a bit more. I try to keep it positive while we are running – reminding her that if this was easy, everyone would do it. Which is true. Half marathons are never easy for me – no matter how many I’ve done, it is hard. That is what makes it feel like an accomplishment, at least in my head. I kept it positive on Sunday too, even though in my own head I was fighting hard (maybe this was due to the fact that I was out wayyyy past my bedtime Saturday night at a wine tasting…yum) – and even though she was feelin’ it by mile 10, we kept moving. Her walk breaks got a little bit longer, but that okay. Amazingly, when she was running, her running paces were still in the high 11’s or low 12’s! Her legs still had it in them. Funny, at the beginning of our runs I am usually getting smoked by her – trying to keep up when she jogs. By the end, she is back at my jog pace, but still going. I may not be fast, but I surely can endure. On race day, she won’t be wearing her watch (I will though), so hopefully she’ll go by feel and not burn out too early. My plan is to keep an eye on pace, but mostly let her do her thang.
By the time we were back home, she was ready to call it a day, and I had to remind her that on the real course, mile 11 is where it gets good – you split from the marathoners, and turn up toward the boardwalk, where people are cheering and everyone gets all “touchy-feely-you-can-do-ity” in this race. Which will be fabulous for her: she is driven by things like this, and will likely start getting choked up even. This will drive her to finish, even though it is hard.
And so, with that, we are DONE! Our training is logged, and we are READY! I am happy to report that we both clocked in our last long run around 12:45/mi average, and both feeling healthy and well. Now we taper! For the record, we are champion taperers. My taper generally involves cupcakes, and sleeping in a little bit longer on the weekends. Unfortunately, this session it will also include writing papers on the weekends for Dr. Meesh school. Cupcakes, wine, and papers. 2 outta 3 ain’t bad.
One other exciting element of last week – My new tattoo!! It is a take on one of my favorite Brixton pictures, from when she was young and able-bodied. I didn’t want something literal of her – something more stylized instead. This will always remind me of her happies times 🙂
And it will sit right near where most of my running shorts end, so I will be able to see it often ❤
What is your favorite part of the taper? I love being able to wake up on a weekend morning once in a while and lazily drink my tea/make a good breakfast, instead of rushing out to run for an hour or two!