Week 16 was effectively the start of taper.  It didn’t feel so much like a let up.  It had an 8 medium long, 16 long, and a 5 x 600m track.  The 16 miler was supposed to be done on our road trip to Norris Lakes in Tennessee, however on arrival it was evident that this would be a different type of running altogether, so that became 2 x 4 milers running in mountain treacle.  Even the down hills were hard.  The week looked like this:

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The week to come is definitely a taper.  I looked at the plan for the first time yesterday and got the coach’s briefing and realised it didn’t have a “medium long’ and only adds up to 32 miles.  OK, that still sounds loads but actually in the face of 55 sometimes, it is a bit of a holiday.

As most people who are a little bit in love with running, doing less of it doesn’t always feel like that much of a treat.  What it has got me thinking though is just about the training process and why sometimes, it’s just a little bit of a shame that it all has to culminate in a race.  (Stay with me…).

This week’s inner philosophical debate:  It’s the training though?

OK, so racing and training is chicken and egg, you don’t have one without the other.  This week though, my “maranoia”(*RATIONAL fear of racing) has kicked in big time.  I’ll be walking along thinking about creme eggs and suddenly something will happen like this:   Me to self:  Mmmmm, creme egg.  You greedy pig.  ARGHHHH PIG PIG PIG.. in x days I’ve got to run the FLYING PIG.  *Tummy flip, breathing speeds up, feels a bit nauseous.

And here’s the point.  Isn’t it a bit of a shame that we train for weeks on end … like BEASTS… but the success amounts to 4 hours on one day in May.  Over the past 2 years I’ve seen friends who have trained, who have been as ready as they ever could be and stand at that start line as capable of hitting the goal they want as anyone possibly could be.  I’ve seen them get 80 degree days on long exposed courses (Lady, you know who you are), I’ve seen them get cramps they never ever got in training (that’s you Mr Pickle Juice), I’ve seen people go out too fast without really meaning to.  The marathon is indeed a fickle mistress and you never know what you’re gonna get.

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In my training cycle, I will have run around 700 – 800 miles.  I’ve got up many, many times at 4:30am.  I’ve run in snow, wind, hail, rain, 70 degrees, on ice.  Sometimes a combination of 4 at once.  I’ve hit my pace targets.  There’s not one run I’m not proud of.  I’ve cried on friends (true story), I’ve laughed till, if I’m honest, a little bit of wee has come out.  I’ve taken the odd picture (coughs), I’ve made others do ridiculous things for said photos.  I’ve done 3 races and placed in age in every single one.

I’ve run in Mason, Savannah, Norris Lakes, downtown Cincinnati, Chicago, on bike trails and on the track.  I’ve fallen over, full body face plants twice.  And most importantly I’ve run with some of the loveliest awesome people.

I’ve totally *swear word (bad one)* LOVED IT (cries a little bit).

And I’m writing this because in 2 weeks time there is a chance that I will be sat here in this same spot reporting on my race, explaining why I didn’t hit it.  I may be speculating on what went wrong.  I may be unpicking what I have achieved here.

So, in case of that, this blog post exists.

JACKIE:  Whatever happens on May 5th, 2019, just read this.  Know that you did EVERYTHING you could.  Remember all those runs.  Remember the people, the company.  Remember just feeling fit and looking in the mirror, smiling because you had a little bit of ab definition.  Remember seeing a ticket at a race that said you were the fastest 45 – 49 year old female runner in that whole race.

Remember the PROCESS.

The End.