Sweet, sweet taper love. I did my last 20-miler (22, if we're gonna get technical) this morning. I can't believe that I did seven 20-22 milers in this training, with three of them over 20 miles. A ginormous thanks to my dad, Kevin (x2), Brian, Johna & Lori, and Jill for running a lot of those miles with me. Next Sunday's 12 is a long-awaited dream.
And as much as it pains me to credit Nate, piling up on 20-milers apparently makes them easier. This morning's run was by far the easiest 20 I've ever run, and I didn't lollygag on it. Having Jill Of The 2:58 Marathon (as she shall henceforth be known, until she becomes Jill Of The Olympic Trials) pace me on the last 12 with great conversation and a lot of "almost there!"s helped me average an 8:44 pace with the last two miles at 8:13 and 7:52.
It was exactly the confidence boost I wanted from my final 20 in November before the Philly taper, and I feel so ready for this thing that I'm going to have to really focus my attention on staying healthy for the next two weeks. Beyond my daily regimen of Emergen-C (twice a day) and my pathological application of Purell, I'm not entirely sure what else I can do to avoid germs. If something gets in the way of this marathon, I will quit running forever. Or until Hyannis.
Aside from a viral or bacterial impediment, the rest of my body feels really strong. I'm in the process of breaking in a radically different pair of shoes since Nate realized I was running in an idiotic combo of orthotics and stability shoes--like lacing up a pair of loaf pans perhaps. It seems a tad risky to switch to a new brand and a neutral shoe with two weeks until the race, but my feet seem happier and I have the Over Pro Nate stamp of approval, so we'll go with that. Today's run was the first one in 6 weeks where neither my arch nor my glutes/hamstrings were bothering me. In addition to the Sauconys, I credit yesterday's hot yoga and I'm going back tomorrow for another class to loosen up what contracted today.
As a follow-up to some of the expert feedback I got on my yoga post, it turns out I wasn't taking bikram; it's ashtanga. Attention to detail is not my forte. Regardless, the hot and sweaty stretchy stretchy (the translation of "ashtanga," no?) works. A lingering question I have is whether or not the final corpse pose has a physiological benefit because I'm always tempted to say my namastes and skip out from class at that point, so maybe Sage or Om Gal can answer that if they're reading this post. Mentally, the pose seems quite useful for generating a grocery list, but I'd love to know if it's also when the yoga sparkles saturate my muscles and make the ouchies go away.
Other than Henry's truly appalling restaurant behavior (has your kid ever yelled "Don't touch me!" in the middle of a packed room?--apologies to the Sullivan family who endured it), there's little amusement from my weekend to share. I think this might be a good thing, since I usually draw humor from my Murphy's Law moments. Don't worry, some bone will surely snap or I'll develop heat stroke from yoga by Friday. Then we'll all have a good chuckle together.