I’m not even sure where or how to get started with this recap.
My training was strong, I had a certain mindset going into it, and I focused on 2 main training goals.
But instead of jumping right into race day, I’m going to start with the Taper because these 2 weeks proved to be profound and contributed a lot to my race day success.
The Taper is always a little bittersweet…on one hand my body relishes the break that comes with running fewer miles, and this time around especially, I needed these 2 weeks to get some extra sleep and give my legs time to fully recovery. I even got an hour massage each week and this was a great way to relax and give my body some TLC.
However, just as sweet, the Taper is also bitter. It can be a mental mind****. I’ve always felt the mental anguish during Taper as physical discomfort; little niggles of pain, tweaks of sharpness, and dull aches here and there that seem to magically appear only during the this time. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t injured, and this is pretty standard as far as tapering goes.
One big difference I did during this taper, was pour all the extra time and energy I had into my mental strength. On a whim, when I was really doubting my ability to run this race well, I ordered Kara Gaucher’s book Strong. Once it arrived, I read it cover to cover in an hour. I soaked it up, realizing it was just what I needed. It not only helped me identify what I was afraid of (failure), but it helped me put a lot into perspective, like my fantastic training cycle (confidence journal), and how I met my specific training goals. Kara’s book also helped me see failure for what it is -an opportunity. An opportunity to learn, to grow, and to change. Failure isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s something to chase (within reason) because failing at a goal gives us opportunities to learn about ourselves, our running, and our personal philosophy.
In addition to Kara’s book, I also downloaded Deena Kastor’s audiobook. I didn’t finish it before race day, but I got through about 7 chapters. And although I couldn’t relate to her natural talent, I could totally relate to her lack of confidence, injury, and burnout she experienced in college. This book was just as uplifting as Kara’s and ignited a fire in me to be grateful, look for the positive, and how these thoughts can actually improve our performance! The last week of my taper, was a pretty rough week for me personally, so I made it a point one night, while lying in bed, to write down everything I was grateful for. I was hoping to come up with 10 things – I had over 30 things written down that I was grateful for. And after this exercise, my whole mindset had shifted. I wasn’t full of doubt, I wasn’t feeling anxious, and this is when I stared feeling excited for race day.
And finally, I ordered Elizabeth Clor’s book Boston Strong on my kindle (Instagram book club) and got to chapter 14 before race day. Reading about her early success and then her struggle with qualifying for Boston was really pivotal for me. This book alone probably helped me the most in how I approached my race. Elizabeth’s sports psychologist helped her focus on the process of running a race versus her ultimate time goal. This allowed her to remain in control of factors she could control like her pace, fueling, hydration, etc, while also not expending energy worrying and stressing about race day conditions she couldn’t control like weather, course, crowd support, etc. This was such a defining moment for me, that I immediately wrote down my race day goals that focused on the process rather than my goal time. This proved invaluable for me on race day.
Up Next: Part 2: The Race