Thursday, November 30, 2017

CIM Training Journal #7: What's a taper without a crisis?!

This continues CIM Training Journals #1#2#3#4#5, and #6 -- and will be my final one!

November 15, 2017
I forgot about taper emotions!  I tend to stress more at the beginning of the taper.  It's not even mileage withdrawal at this point, since the only thing different right now (3 days in) is that I did not run a double yesterday.  I'm generally good about being calm, relaxed, and mostly confident on race day, but I think when the 3-week taper first starts I'm hit with the realization that the work is mostly done -- and the looming question of, "what if I didn't do enough?!"  There's not time to do more or to make many more gains!  There are no more really long runs left, there are no more weeks of mileage in the 70s, there are no more doubles.  But I'm not yet feeling good from the taper (in fact, I'm feeling really fatigued), so I don't feel ready AT ALL.

I heard the song lyrics "You are the one thing in my way" on the first day of my taper, and found it very fitting...I am the thing that's in my way right now!

Taper emotions feel like this
 November 16, 2017
How about the USATF Marathon Championship start list for CIM?!  It took a 2:46:00 full or 1:18:00 half to get into this field; I am in the sub-elite field so not on this list.  One thing is for sure -- I will have many women in front of and around me, and that can only help me.

Later note:  This list has since been updated, as a handful of these women have withdrawn, and I learned via Instagram that Sarah Hall has been added!  I also found out that I will be in the elite corral with these ladies (they do not have a separate sub-elite corral, we go right in the elite one!).

November 20, 2017
Taper week 2 started with a measly 3 mile run, so now I feel like I'm tapering, but I am still quite fatigued.  I almost always feel crappy during my taper -- it's both a physical and mental trip -- so I don't necessarily get discouraged by feeling crappy, but I don't look forward to it either!  I am also doing a caffeine taper; I haven't had coffee since Nov. 10.  I'm doing 2 weeks with only 1 cup of caffeinated tea each morning (after my run, which is always when I had coffee, because I only have caffeine before races and key workouts) and I'm still having 1-2 tabs of caffeinated nuun energy prior to workouts.  Beginning Nov. 26, I'll be off it completely!  It actually hasn't been difficult at all, which surprised me.  I've been drinking more decaf tea during the day and that seems to have a placebo effect, or maybe what I actually crave is warm drinks and not caffeine.  Caffeine is a performance enhancer, and this strategy is purported to make it even more effective come race day.  This is also one reason why I don't have it before most runs (the other is that I'm too lazy to get up any earlier) - because it can reduce effectiveness if over-used.

November 21, 2017
I've been floored by the support I've received from my friends and family recently, as I've been wallowing in self-doubt and revising my CIM goal to be slower.  I am so thankful that people believe in me.  I'm not to the point of believing in myself, but this is completely normal for me being 2 weeks out from a marathon...the next time I really truly believe I can do it will probably occur during the race.  In Phoenix I wore a pace band for 2:52 (after a couple of months of thinking maybe just maybe 2:49), and really didn't believe I could run a 2:49 until the 20 mile mark (at half way I felt good about a 2:51).  I've also made my CIM pace band targeting 2:46:55, because 6:22 pace seems reasonable but 6:17 too scary!

November 22, 2017
I've been training for this since June 20...June 19 was my last day off running; although I was already in good shape in June so was not starting from scratch or anything.  This is both confidence-inspiring (the most consistent mileage I've done, by far, week after week after week) and absolutely terrifying (week after week after week of training for one single race).  I have faith that God will bring me to where He wants me to be, so I'm working on trusting that, but it's been a lot of weeks!

In a timely fashion, this was my daily Bible verse email today:  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by pray and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6.  This applies to the marathon, the taper, and everything else in life!

November 23, 2017
There are disadvantages to tapering on Thanksgiving, that's for sure!  I am super routine-oriented, so being off every daily routine in addition to my normal running routines is a little crazy.  We are out of town, I'm off work, eating and sleeping are different, etc.  Not a great time for second-guessing!

November 24, 2017
I woke up very nauseous and dizzy several times overnight.  Did Thanksgiving dinner disagree with me?  Did I get minor food poisoning (after all, we ate dinner from food that had been sitting out for hours -- I should have known better!)?  Am I getting sick?

November 25, 2017
My last "long" run was horrible!  When I saw it on my schedule, I didn't think I'd want to stop at 11 miles, but when I ran it I wanted to stop at 3.  I am currently Googling, "feeling bad during marathon taper"...apparently this is normal.  I think it's happened to me before, but I tried to forget it.  I am also still feeling very nauseous and dizzy, which is not helping matters and was probably actually 100% of the problem.  Is this tapering?!

November 26, 2017
Well, in true taper nightmare fashion, I had my medical scare of this taper.  It wasn't as bad as this one, but I guess this is becoming another tapering tradition, much like bombing my Yasso workout.  I need to find some different traditions!

As I mentioned, starting on Thanksgiving night, I became very dizzy when laying down in bed, and was overcome with nausea.  I thought maybe I was just tired and had eaten foods I wasn't used to, but I kept waking up dizzy and on Friday it wasn't any better.  I had a dull nausea most of the time, and the dizziness was brought on by certain movements.  I had a horrible run on Saturday, along with continued symptoms, and ended up self-diagnosing myself Saturday night with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It has a pretty clear diagnostic test (involuntary eye twitching when you quickly lay back with your head tilted towards the affected side), so once I did that and it was positive I was 100% convinced that was my problem.

On Sunday my awesome neuro-PT friend (who is also an awesome runner!) confirmed my self-diagnosis and treated me using the Epley Manuver, and then I had some relief.  The nausea hasn't completely subsided, but it has improved.  I have to sleep upright for a few nights, not sleep on my right side, and avoid certain movements, but the prognosis is that I'll be fine.  It's pretty much a random ailment -- not brought on by anything -- but the timing was tough!

I went through some time of thinking that I wouldn't even be able to start the marathon.  As with my last taper nightmare, I think this serves as a reminder to be thankful for my health, and thankful for the ability to run a marathon whether it takes me 2:45, 2:47, 3:15, or 4:00!  It is probably also God reminding me not to take this all too seriously, and not to judge myself by my ability to hit an arbitrary time standard -- and to remember that it's all in His hands.  It's hard to let go of what I want and what I've worked for, but I trust that His plans are better than anything I could dream up!

November 27, 2017
I'm not sure I'm out of the woods yet with the BPPV.  My dizziness has improved but it's not completely gone.  I felt it when I stretched my piriformis and IT bands this morning in a laying position after my little 20 minute shake-out run.  I'm questioning whether to wait it out, to try to get in to the doctor, or what.  It doesn't help that my doctor moved to South America to do mission work, and I have a physical with a new doctor in April (first available), so I actually don't have a PCP right now.  I'll just pray for guidance and wisdom on all of it.  It's hard to know if I'm being taper crazy or if something is really wrong...or both.  I have never been so glad to have Houston as a back-up, though.

November 28, 2017
I woke up this morning feeling very nauseous after waking up feeling dizzy throughout the night despite sleeping with my head elevated at a 45* angle.  I was unreasonably terrified to try my last little workout; what if I got out there and could only muster 6:30 pace?  But I decided to try because I wanted to gauge how this would effect my performance, in case it's still happening on race day.  And I am so glad I got out there and did it, because in spite of the symptoms I felt fresh and strong.  It was hard to hold back and I ran my tempos faster than prescribed (2 miles in 6:12/5:54; 0.5 in 2:51).  I wasn't supposed to dip under 6:00, but this morning there was nothing I needed more than to run sub-6:00 pace and have it feel relatively easy.  I kept telling myself that there is nothing physically wrong with me; it's just my inner ear playing tricks on me.

If I wasn't obsessing about the BPPV I'd be surely be obsessing about something else, so perhaps that's the gift in this.  I feel at peace and that whatever happens, it's going to be okay.  I think I can run a strong marathon on Sunday, but if I can't my worth is no less.  No matter what happens, this training cycle will help my next.

November 29, 2017
My legs and body are coming around!  I'm feeling fresh now, which typically happens a little sooner than this in my taper, but I suspect the higher mileage made it take a bit longer this time.  My BPPV symptoms are also lessening each day, today being more of a minor annoyance as opposed to a constant discomfort, so I am optimistic.  The Sacramento race day forecast looks perfect, and the work is done.  My worth is no more nor no less based on a good/bad marathon, and I am blessed to have a chance to give it a go either way!

November 30, 2017
And tomorrow, I'm flying to California!

You can sign up to track me here.  There are timing mats at the 10K, half, and 20 mile marks - if not more spots.  I've learned that you can't always trust timing mat placements and live results, but I'm hopeful this one will be accurate since it is the USATF Marathon Championships!

I am ready to go do my best and let God handle the rest!  Few things match the thrill of the marathon, and I am ready for this one!


  1. That is so scary! I can’t imagine! I was freaking out over having terrible allergy issues in the days leading up to my marathon and I wasn’t even going for a PR! You are going to kill it and I’m excited to track you. Starting in a corral with Sara Hall? Now that’s the real deal!

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    2. The whole ordeal certainly gave me a big dose of perspective! Fortunately I'm feeling completely normal now, although I am still sleeping with my upper body at 45* just in case. I told Jon that since I could handle the people-movers at the Denver airport without feeling off today, surely I am now fine. 😊

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