Taper Is Here

I’m officially in taper mode. Last weekend I did my longest training run – 22 miles! For the first time, I also got to run it on part of the marathon course before race day. Lifetime Fitness has an annual run on the last 10 miles of the Twin Cities course – The Capital Run. When one of my fellow mother runners told me about it a few months ago, I was all over it!

Bright and early Saturday morning, I met Amy to carpool over to St. Paul. We arrived with time to enjoy our view on the capital building.

capital building

With the lines for check-in and the porta potties growing they waited a few extra minutes to start releasing waves of runners for the 10 mile and 20 mile courses.

Jess and Amy CR

Just after 7 am we were off. The first few miles we hit several stop lights which was annoying but Amy and I chatted with a nice guy who was trying to run a marathon in all 50 states this year. We lost him at a water stop, but enjoyed hearing about his aspirations.

One of the biggest concerns I’ve had about this race is the long hill (3 miles long) that starts about mile 20.

F_2014_MarathonCourseMap_ElevationThe trail we run on for our long training runs has lots of smaller rolling hills, so I’ve gotten in some practice, but a three mile long hill? Eek.

As we ran down it, I thought to myself, this isn’t so bad. It’s not too steep and seems much shorter. The view of beautiful houses didn’t hurt. We ran past the 10 mile turnaround until we hit 10.5 miles. It was shaping up to be a beautiful day. The temps were in the high 40s, low 50s by that point and we were both feeling great. It really was an ideal dress rehearsal for the race. Now I know that if we have similar temps, I’ll likely wear a tank top and capris. We stopped for waters and gels before gearing up to run back up the hill.

I was amazed that when we got to the base of the hill, it didn’t look all that big. Not as big as the course map would have you believe. We powered up, slowing down slightly to a 9:10 pace. Yes, I said slowing down to that pace. When we got to the top, we saw a tent with Swedish Fish and Gummy Bears. We were so hungry our stomachs were growling. We grabbed a handful of candy before we realized it was a running club’s tent and not part of our Lifetime Run. Oops. They were nice and we thanked them profusely before continuing on.

When we made the final turn and saw the capital building in front of us, we had some extra pep in our steps. We were both hungry, but overall feeling really good. We hit 21 miles just as we made it to the tented area with food. Amy went to hit the bathroom and grab us snacks while I finished one more mile.

Our average running pace for the run was 8:48 min/miles. That is purely time spent running. Add in there a few stops for water where we bumped into other members of our running group, you could probably add 10 minutes to that. I’d say we have both sped up this training cycle considering we never stopped talking during the run.

After to stretching and talking to a few other runners, we snapped a pictures, not the most flattering picture of me, not sure what my weird stance was.

After CR

On the car ride home we enjoyed the ice cold Cokes Amy brought, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins I brought and the chips from the event. They were delicious!

This was such a confidence booster. Over the next couple weeks I’m going to really think about my race strategy. Do I want to utilize pacers? Wear my own water or depend on the water stops? Maybe if I focus on those things I won’t drive myself crazy thinking I’m feeling marathon ruining mystery injuries.


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