Surviving the dreaded taper

Hello, hello!

So, I’m smack in the middle of my marathon taper and, up until last night, I thought I was handling it pretty well.

I’ve been very proactive about making a conscious effort to ease off appropriately, especially with weight amounts at CrossFit, because I wore myself out so much that I had to take some time off.

Generally, a runner doesn’t take time off 4 weeks before a marathon. :/

I went to CrossFit on Monday and had a really good workout.

I didn’t force the weights during the strength portion – mostly concentrated on form, which was apparently sucky because coach was nitpicking me to death about my knees tracking in on the squats – and I modified to 55# push-presses for the WOD.

I kept it steady and I  made it through 13 1/2 rounds.

Then, Tuesday was so beautiful that I had to get outside for a run. I only knocked out about 4 1/2 miles – my normal entrance to the park where I run was blocked so I had to improvise but I didn’t want to overdo it – and it was exactly what I needed.

My plans for the rest of the week looked like this: CrossFit on Wednesday (yesterday), running today, rest Friday, run Saturday.

But, I know me and I was tired yesterday so I decided to rest. I’ll go to CrossFit tonight, rest Friday, and then run on Saturday morning (mileage tbd).

Next week will probably look like this: CrossFit Monday, run Tuesday, CrossFit Wednesday, rest Thursday & Friday, travel Saturday, marathon on Sunday.

Anyway, last night. I had MAJOR ants in my pants. I couldn’t sit still! I totally felt like I should be working out.

It’s not like I’m a marathon newbie and have never tapered before. Totally been there done that but last night, it was like tapering was a whole new experience for me. I don’t even understand it!

I’m just going to take it as a sign that I’m better prepared than I’m giving myself credit for. Yeah. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

race-meme

So, let’s talk about the taper.

It’s difficult for most runners, as the big day nears, to dial back on their training. I mean, seriously, it’s like taking candy from a baby!

You’ve been logging tons upon tons of miles, you’ve been waking up before the butt-crack of dawn to get started on long runs, you’ve missed out on date nights with your significant other or social events with friends because you’re “in training” and now you’re supposed to run LESS?!?!

taper

Yep. Less running makes for a cranky runner.

But, the taper is important and even necessary.

Here’s why:

1. all the glycogen, hormones, etc that you’ve depleted from your muscles during training return as you ease off

2. you’re giving your body time to heal any muscle damage that has occurred

3. you’re giving your body the break it needs so you don’t get sick

4. your body will be raring and ready to go on race day rather than be tired and unresponsive.

So, the general rule of thumb is to decrease your mileage by 20% each week starting 3 weeks out.

That final week before the marathon will feel like it takes an ETERNITY because you suddenly have all this time on your hands but, fear not! You can reacquaint yourself with your family! Remember them? The ones that love you and have supported you during your training? The ones that picked you up from the floor because you were too stiff to get back up from stretching after a long run? Yeah, those people. :)

They’ll be happy to see you again. Even if you are cranky. (well, probably. if you’re super cranky, they may push you out the 2nd floor window.)

You also need to fuel up a little more than you normally would.

Yes, I know your brain just exploded.

Run less and eat MORE?!

mind blown

Yep. It’s all part about repairing and refueling those muscles to make sure you’re ready for race day. 26.2 miles isn’t a short, easy run, people. Your muscles are going to need fuel to help you cover them all.

I highly recommend avoiding the scale this week, too. Trust me. No sense in getting all stressed out and then forgetting that you’re going to go RUN A MARATHON and burn it all off anyway. :)

Lastly, make sure you hydrate well and DON’T TRY ANYTHING NEW!

No new sports drinks, no new foods, no new workouts because you’re dying of boredom from not running and you just have to do something.

Boring is the new cool. An upset tummy, food poisoning, or an injury just prior to a marathon is NOT cool.

Take this time to kick back on the couch and catch up on your favorite show(s), read a book, do crossword puzzles, color with your kids,  meditate, sleep or whatever.

I promise you will not literally bounce off the walls. It’ll be okay.

Yes, the taper is difficult. And kinda annoying. And sorta stressful.

But, it’s survivable. And you’ll be happy you did it. I promise. :)

Talk to me: What’s your favorite non-workout/running activity to do during the taper? How do you manage the stress of feeling like you should be working out but knowing rest is the right thing? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

- jennifer

Wine Wednesday – 2012 Decoy Pinot Noir

Hello, hello!

Guess what day it is?!

Wine Wednesday!!

wine wednesday

If you don’t know what Wine Wednesday is, well, shame on you.

Just kidding. (not really. you really should be ashamed.)

Wine Wednesday is when I totally put myself out there for you by buying and drinking a new bottle of wine (of my choosing unless you plan on sending me one, making a request or suggesting something. Worthwhile, of course. If you suggest Boone’s Farm, we can no longer be friends.), and letting you know how it was.

It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.

we-have-too-much-wine-said-no-one-ever-eecards

Since last weekend was Easter, many grocery stores (gosh, I love living somewhere where grocery stores can sell wine!) had specials on Pinot Noir. In case you didn’t know, Pinot Noir goes fabulous with both ham and turkey so not only is it a perfect accompaniment for that Easter ham, but it will also pair quite nicely with a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey (or ham) (or pizza) (or popcorn) (or whatever it is you eat on those days). Consider yourself learned. ;)

Because of those specials, I picked up a wine I wouldn’t normally reach for.  But, it was on sale for $20 down from $28.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have NO qualms whatsoever about dropping $50 or more on a bottle of wine but I usually reserve those choices for special occasions. My grocery store wine budget usually tops at $20. I do that because 1. there are some really good inexpensive wines out there and 2. I don’t have all the money in the world. If you do and you have extra, please share. :)

So, this week I grabbed a 2012 Decoy Pinot Noir.

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Decoy is Duckhorn Vineyard‘s “inexpensive” brand. Much like Gwen Stefani has Harajuku Lovers (affordable) and L.A.M.B. (affordable if you win the lottery or have a rich grandmother), Duckhorn has Decoy.

Many years ago, when we lived in California, we took a trip up to Napa and visited Duckhorn.

Oh. Em. Gee.

At the wine tasting, they sat us at a little table (!) and provided us with mini-bottles of wine with the Duckhorn label on them! No standing around a crowded tasting bar trying to squeeze your arm in for what the guy is pouring next in this joint! We fancy!

And, of course, the wines were seriously amazing. Seriously.

We bought 2 bottles – 1 merlot and 1 cabernet sauvignon – and then the bank called and wanted to make sure no one had stolen our card.

So, anywhoooo….Decoy. Their “everyday wine for the well-informed.”

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On first sniff, I was supremely intrigued. Like, it smelled really, really good. I had my nose crammed down in that glass!

I definitely picked up on fruit (strawberry and cherry) and spice. Maybe a little leather. And earthiness.

Whatever it was, it smelled AMAZING!

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As you can tell, the wine is a beautiful garnet color.

Don’t you just want to hop in and take a swim? ;)

My first sip definitely made me happy.

happy minion

I got great fruit, excellent structure, some spice on the mid-palate (back of the mouth but not yet in the throat), and some earthiness on the way down.

Seriously, I love me an earthy pinot – like when you can almost taste the dirt – but this had enough earth to be pleasing without being a dirt sandwich. Which I’d totally eat if it came in the form of a red wine. Just sayin.

But this wasn’t like that. It was vibrant and fruity without tasting like jam (blech! I personally hate that in a wine. It’s got to be balanced by pepper and earth in order for me to like a fruity wine.) and had perfect acidity.

It has 13.5% alcohol but wasn’t weighed down or heavy on the tannin front. No headaches!

I’ll be honest. I wish I had bought a few more while it was marked down. This would be really nice to have in our cellar.

I might even stretch the budget a little and go grab another bottle.

We paired this with some grilled salmon and a salsa-style pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, jalapeno, and avocado.

Dreamy!

You could definitely pair this wine with a variety of foods – burgers, pizza, barbecued chicken, salmon, grilled shrimp, etc.

Or, you could just drink it. Because it’s delicious.

winning

Talk to me: Have you ever been to Napa? What wineries did you visit? Do you even drink wine? Did you read until the end? :)

- jennifer

My first blog award!

Hello, hello!

So, I received the most amazing notification/blog comment last week!

(and I apologize for being totally pokey about sharing it with you! Time just got the better of me!)

Andrea, over at Mommy Got Fit!, nominated me for a Liebster blog award!

liebster21

Whoop!

The Liebster award (thanks Google!) is an award given to bloggers (usually smaller – as in followers – or newer blogs) BY other bloggers. It’s a great way to learn about new blogs – help others learn about them too! – and meet people over the blog-o-sphere!

I love that! I’ve already made a good friend through blogging and I can’t wait to actually meet up with her and hang out at FitBloggin’ 14!

There are a few rules that go along with the blog award – it’s kinda like chain mail but I prefer to think of it like a sourdough starter or that friendship bread starter that pops up every now and then. It’s sharing and spreading the love. :)

The rules are:

1. you must link back to the person who nominated you (ok, easy peasy!)

2. you must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you (let’s not get TOO personal now!)

3. you must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following) (only 10?!?!)

4. you must create 10 questions for your nominees (oh boy. let me put my thinking cap on!)

5. you must notify your nominees (wouldn’t want to keep a secret!)

So, here are the questions posed by Andrea with my answers following:

1. What personal moment are you most proud of (athletic or not)? Hmmm…I’m going to have to go with an athletic moment (I’m not going to be held responsible for any fall-out in having to pick the birth of Thing 1 or 2 as my proudest moment and I don’t want to lump them together!) finishing my first marathon – the Philadelphia Marathon in November 2008. I had such an amazing time and practically floated over the finish line. In that moment, I realized I could accomplish ANYTHING I set my mind to if I worked for it. :)

2. What is your biggest goal to reach? Well now, this is a toughie. I’ve had, and still have, some pretty lofty goals. I’d still love to qualify for Boston (um, hello, did you SEE the amazingness that was the Boston Marathon yesterday?!?!?!?!?!) but I’m going to say completing my first 50k in October. *bites nails*

3. What is your favorite type of workout? Wow. I don’t know if I have a favorite type but I’d say I’m a big fan of any workout that tests my abilities and makes me feel tired and strong and powerful all at the same time.

4. What motivates you to take on new challenges? My family, definitely. My kids – I want to be amazing in their eyes. My grandfather – he had cerebral palsy and never let that disability get in the way of life. I mean, really, the man played tennis and lived well beyond anyone initially expected. My grandmother – she’s just flat out amazing. If you met her, you would agree.

5. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome? Teenaged daughters! Haha! I’d like to say I’m kidding but it’s true. Oy.

6. What is your most favorite total indulgent meal or dessert? Wow. I don’t really know. (as I’m plowing through a bag of Jelly Bellys….) As long as it has peanut butter and chocolate, I’m good. :)

7. What time of day is your favorite to work out? MORNING! Rise and shine, lovelies! :)

8. Wine, beer, or mixed drinks? Yes, please! Ha! No, seriously, you know I’m a wino. ;)

9. Would you/have you ever dress/ed up for a themed race? Um, no. Not my thing. I would feel ridiculous. I never even really enjoyed dressing up for Halloween. Just give me the chocolate.

10. What is your healthy go-to meal? It actually varies. Lately it’s been anything that I can pair roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli with. Like these bacon-wrapped meatballs from Paleomg. Holy. Yum.

11. What is your dream race? I would love to go overseas and run a race in Europe. Paris, perhaps? Or maybe through Burgundy? ;)

Now, on to the part you’ve really been waiting for! My nominees!

Lean Lena

Next Page, New Chapter

Life Laugh Eat Run

Little Fit Mama

Color in Your Lunch

The Girl that (actually) Likes to Lift Weights

The Road to Physical Fitness

Kayla Gets in Shape

Little Green Running Shoes

Finding my Strong

And now, here are my questions!

1. What made you decide to start blogging?
2. Who is your fitness idol? (Who do you want to be when you grow up?) ;)
3. Top 3 favorite blogs & why. (yes, I’m aware that’s not a question. Don’t judge me.)
4. If you have to choose between an event (any type) or a workout, which do you normally pick?
5. Do you have a mantra and if so, what is it?
6. Do you chew gum when you run?
7. What is the toughest workout you’ve ever accomplished?
8. Name 3 of your fitness goals – either long or short term. (yep, another non-question)
9. Do you have a favorite cooking show?
10. What’s the one thing you would drive more than 100 miles to eat?
11. (Stealing from the question Andrea asked me because it’s a good question…) What personal moment are you most proud of (athletic or not)?

Holy Moly! We’ve made it to the end! :)

- jennifer