Violating The Taper

Woman Running

Almost midnight, and Libby’s ready to run it out with a 25K in the Texas heat.

This Week’s Training Recap: I logged 23 miles total, lower total mileage than weeks’ past due to the first week of taper. I also ran the El Scorcho midnight race in Fort Worth, Texas, which is a 25K (15.5 miles), for my long run. This was supposed to be a 12-13 mile easy long run on my training plan, thought I’d lightly run/walk it in the last couple miles of the race…… and then I had to go and violate the taper completely by racing a 25K two weeks out from my first marathon. Complete forehead slap!

Stupid Mistakes I Can’t Repeat Race Day

El Scorcho 25K is a fun Texas race where we CHOOSE to race in the Texas summer heat at midnight for long distances in a very dark park on varied terrain from packed dirt to sidewalk to grass to decomposed crushed granite trail, and even over a basketball court. So that’s 15.5 miles making sure you don’t take a fall while running in 95 degree heat with a headlamp on. It’s a 5K loop that you do 5 times, which at times is both mentally easier and harder than a plain single loop course.

I wasn’t going to run it, but I needed 12-13 miles on my taper schedule anyway, and I had other things that weekend that made me concerned I otherwise wouldn’t get the run in. So I signed up a couple weeks out.

I won’t go into too many details. But I’ll sum up the stupid mistakes:

1)    Pace: The classic mistake of going out too fast. I went too fast for the first 5 miles. And I still went too fast for most of the rest of the race. I have no excuses the first 5 miles, but for the rest, I never really accounted for the fact that I should not only be treating this as a slow easy training run pace, but that I needed to further back that down because of the dark and varied terrain and heat. So even when I slowed down, I didn’t slow down enough.
2)    Over-hydration / hyponatremia: I was sick during the last 5k loop – dizzy, disoriented, and threw up twice. I think the problem may have been too much hydration coupled with not enough electrolytes. I was taking some electrolytes, but I was so hot that I was sucking down water the whole run. I estimated I may have drank about 96 ounces of water during the race, with only 24 ounces of sports drink.

My lesson is to stick to my race strategy for the marathon. Because if I had stuck to my intended strategy for this training run, I don’t think I would have ended up in such bad shape.

Now Recover AND Taper
Of course, the other result of this hard race is now I’m trying to recover instead of just rest up and fill up the tank to 100% for race day. That’s a lot of recovery. Again, this was not my smartest move. The best I can do now is focus all my efforts on feeling my best for race day.

Hard to Think Post-Race
The next day after the marathon, my husband and I (while the kids are at home with the grandparents) will head to one of our favorite vacation spots, Napa Valley, for a couple days. But it’s hard to get excited for this part of the trip because so much of my focus is on finishing my first ever marathon! It’s actually kind of hard at moments to imagine life after that finish line. Weird, but hopefully relatable to someone reading this!

Coming This Week: Take it easy, recover, rest, and get some running in. This weekend will have one 6 mile run, and I’ll probably hit about 15 miles total for the week.

Libby Jones has been running for 5 years, is a self-described “serial half-marathoner”, but has never attempted the marathon distance. She is also an active part of the Dallas-Fort Worth running community. She is the Founder and Race Director of theNew Year’s Day Half Marathonin Allen, Texas; founder of the North Texas Runners running club; contributor to theHeels & Hills and Heels & Hills & Him women’s half marathons in Irving; the North Texas State Representative for the Road Runners Club of America; past Dallas Running Club President & 2008 RRCA Scott Hamilton National Outstanding Club President Award Winner; and an RRCA-certified running coach. She’s also a wife to Steve and a mother to Marissa (3 yrs) and Sophie (3 1/2 months). Read her blog “The Active Joe” and follow her on Twitter @libbyruns

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