This was it. The final "long" weekend run. Taper down is officially over for the long runs.
This felt weird and special at the same time. Anxiety and nerves start to set in thinking of the big dance next week (i.e the actual Race day). The hardest part now is going to be able to keep the legs injury free and show up at the race.
Months of training and all that running and it's come down to this.
The run was not bad at all, decent weather though it was a bit warm by the time we started. I did notice that having a conversation (which seemed unreal at some point) was possible and made the miles fly.
This was my last opportunity to experiment with carrying things on actual race day. I wanted to make sure it would be convenient to keep the phone along and keep some of the electrolyte packs as well. Logistically it somewhat worked out but I don't think I'll be making any changes to my routine and gear at this point. It's GAME ON now.
In other news, this weekend was the first taper down run! This is exciting since the hardest part is done, it's all downhill (no pun intended) from here.
11 miles, felt so easy but made me worry that the big run is just 2 weeks away now and this taper down will relax me way too much. It was a decent run at Los Gatos trail, quite shaded and the Cloud Gods were smiling which helped the run quite a bit. I did hit my knee pain again (IT-Band, not even the fun kind of band) but the good news is, I can expect that now and better prepare myself to handle it.
Also tried out ice in water for a quicker knee recovery and oh boy, boy it was cold. Might try it once more for the fun of it....said no one ever. But it did help me quite a bit. I may need to do it a few more times just to make sure I can calm down the legs a bit.
Anyhoo, 1 more weekend with a short 6 mile run before the grand finale. And then hopefully I can finally turn off that horrid 4/5am weekend alarm.
I must mention that coming this far wasn’t easy without support of the group I’ve been training with and the coaches/mentors at Asha for Education! But I’ll save that Oscar speech until after the run.
Final 22 miles long run is ✅ and taper down runs begin. 2 more weekend long runs (technically, short ones now) before the big dance!
*Side note* - I’m running this marathon to create awareness and help raise funds for “Asha for Education”, a non-profit org to help support underprivileged kids in India, more on that at www.sarthakgrover.com) So if you can, please donate! Every little bit counts.
So, this run was supposed to mimic the final run as closely as it could and the backdrop/weather couldn’t have been better - at the Golden Gate Bridge.
And ofcourse, things that could go wrong did go wrong and that was the best part about this run, lots of lessons learnt and managed:
1. Mile 8, left knee starting acting up. Aid station had some “Tiger Balm” but that didn’t help. Well, only solution was to slow down the pace a bit and move forward. I was almost a block behind my pace group by mile 10.
2. Mile 11.5, the Runkeeper app I was using to track my runs....went 💥. It zeroed out, battery on the watch went nuts and the watch shut down. I was only half way through, with a hurting knee and now I lost all my metrics and my HR/pace. This threw me off quite a bit mentally. But moved along somehow.
3. Mile 14, the hill at Presidio came by and just when I thought this was going to be easy cheesy, the knee said nope. Hellz nope. It was hard to even walk down that slope, forget running. I almost thought the day was a wrap at this point, it was not worth injuring myself further. But....miles to go!
4. Mile 16, made a pit stop and refueled and stretched some more. It was time to conquer the Golden Gate bridge. Mile 17.5 and I had to tell the rest of the gang to keep going and that I was just going to walk whatever distance I could. It was game over. Almost.
5. Walked 1.5 miles up the hill to GG slowly dragging my leg around carefully, and soon enough I was at Mile 19. About halfway past the Golden Gate Bridge and met the folks who were on their way back. Quick selfie and we decided we will regroup at Sports Basement since it would be a while before I catch up anyway.
6. Started jogging lightly to not fall behind too much and suddenly I was starting to feel better. It was weird! The knee wasn’t complaining as much or much at all. I picked up the pace a bit and dodging the pedestrians at GG was able to start heading down back towards Crissy.
7. Mile 20 and of course the left knee is feeling good but the right knee say heyyyyy...and then the back muscles go woahhhhh...it was like trying to keep the machine working while systems were going down left and right. So a quick stretch along the way and I was back on my feet and heading back to the finish, slow but steady.
Finished the final mile walking back to the car and realizing that the hardest part of the run was over. When the actual run happens, the crowd will drive the rest of the 4 miles.
Easy cheesy. Onwards!