The most beautiful word in the English language isn’t “melodious” or “lemon” or “onomatopoeia”–though they are strong contenders.  I maintain that the sweetest word is “taper” as in, “Dear, sweet, merciful Jesus; thank you for getting me through my last long run and most of all, thank you for the taper! AAAAAAmen!”

Less than three weeks until the Twin Cities Marathon now and it’s all over but the crying.  I have my confirmation packet (corral number two, ha-HAH, which just goes to show the power of prayer over speed or talent) and I am safely, blessedly done with my long runs.

Yesterday I was scheduled for a final 20 miler and as a testimony to either my awesomeness or complete neurosis, I just went ahead and ran 22. I had to get past 21, see? Last year I fell victim to the freaking “wall” right around there, which is when my body decided, nope, we were done with running. No matter how hard I tried, I could not pick up the tempo and ended by feebly shuffling my way to 26.2, sniffling the whole way.

Not a performance I care to repeat.

So I ran 22 in 4:08:00, which should let me squeeeeeeeze in just under five hours. Cross your fingers. As I hit mile 21, I actually did a little triumphant whoop and yelled, “I don’t see a wall! Do you see a wall?!” which is the kind of thing that makes sense when you’ve been running for four hours and your brain is devoid of glucose, but makes you look like a total loon to the nice people out walking their dogs.

Honest, ladies, I am perfectly sane.

The thing is, I think I’ll be fine, no matter what my finishing time is. Last year I was so dang mad at myself because I made such stupid mistakes. This year I trained smart. I did the cross training and lifted weights…Okay maybe not as often as I technically could of,  but a lot and every week. I actually used gels, instead of attempting to run fueled solely by a couple of lifesavers and grim determination. I iced the heck out of my knee and took a proactive approach to recovery. I feel quite confident that I will be able to run the best marathon I am able to run…And that has lessened the stress considerably.

Not that it’s been perfect, of course. For one thing, I seem to be one of the few people blessed with the sort of hearty constitution which allows one to actually gain weight while training for a marathon–pretty much destroying any lingering belief in or hope for a just universe.  Plus, I haven’t quite gotten these long run mood swings under control. Example:
     Yesterday I happened to be sharing the parkway with a bicycle tour of our city. The first time I came across their staging area, at mile 6 of my run, I turned to Hubby (who has graciously been biking support crew along side. His job? Hold the water bottles and buy me a mocha when I finish. He’s been brilliant.) and said, “What a great idea! Next year, if I’m not running this, we should totally join the bike tour.”
     When we encountered them again at mile twenty, my attitude had, perhaps, soured a bit.
     “Cyclists!” I hissed, “How I hate them, with their wheels…. and their sitting….”
      Flash forward a mere mile later and I was whooping and hollering, proclaiming my victory over “the wall”—

     —Honestly, some days Hubby deserves a medal.

Anyhow, hateful mood swings aside, I think I should do well. And at least for this moment, I’m not feeling so very hung up on my finishing time. I’m feeling uncharacteristically peaceful and content with my training. Which is good if you go alllll the way back to this past winter, when my stated goal for this year’s race was to run it “slower than I’d like, but with less crazy.”

I wonder if I could get that engraved on my finishers medal?

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The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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