Two days after running 27.5 miles, I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, I am very happy to have successfully run the marathon distance (plus over a mile) once again. I have enjoyed several contented mornings basking on the front porch and many hours watching movies indoors. Overall, this part of me feels how I did after my solo marathon April of last year: happy, satisfied, peaceful.
On the other hand, with CIM (the actual race I am supposed to be training for) coming up in four weeks, I admit I’m a bit, shall we say, concerned. On Sunday, once I started the Run the Parkway (after running 7.5 miles alone), I didn’t exactly adhere to a slow-and-steady approach. Said approach helped me recover quickly after 20-, 23-, and 26-milers in recent weeks. Even though this time I adhered to walking breaks and ran quite slowly, it still feels like I lost perspective a bit. With the crowd pushing ahead, and with the exciting race environment, I pushed faster and harder than I probably should have. By my mile 22 (mile 15 for everyone else: they hadn’t run 7.5 miles before the race started!), my legs felt a bit too tired. This was supposed to be a challenging yet easy-going long run, yet it felt like I had been racing. For perspective, racing is no-no while doing 20+ mile long runs. You want to feel more like you are jogging. Although there was no problem getting to the finish line (in fact, I got faster at the end), I started to worry that I might have overdone it. Instead of feeling triumphant for the last two and a half days, I have alternated between berating myself and worrying about being recovered in time for CIM.
Am I making too much of this? Hopefully. I keep reminding myself that this was my first time juggling two runs in one, the first 7.5 miles, the other 20 miles; also that I have little experience making myself run slow in a public event (it’s actually not easy to do!). I also remind myself that I have been training alone for months, or at most with a few friends. Perhaps I forgot what it felt like to be around so many runners. Lastly, I remind myself that I still have four weeks to recover, and even if I had to slow down on December 4th, it wouldn’t be so bad. After all, I have lightened up my running goals for CIM.
So really, there’s nothing wrong, and it’s all going to be okay! And now if I could only lighten up on myself!
I’m working on it. The good news is that I’ve decided to be a baby about recovering, and make the most of tapering* during the next three and a half weeks. This should help the recovery process and get me ready for race day.
*Tapering is the final phase of marathon training, during which runners reduce their mileage and rest up for the Big Day.