I bought new running shoes!
They aren’t anything earth-shaking — they’re the same make, model, and even color of my last two pairs. I could tell Randy, the owner of my favorite running shop, that I’m going to swing by for a new pair of shoes and he would have them ready and waiting when I walked in the door. Reliable, yes. Exciting, no.
Except that these shoes are the ones. They’re the shoes that will support me (pun absolutely intended) through my marathon taper. They’re the shoes that will travel, at God knows what pace, through a handful of Massachusetts towns, up and down hills, and finally along Boylston Street to the finish line in Boston. They’re the shoes that I’ll place firmly but lovingly in the basket by my front door, where they will remain for at least a week after the marathon. And they’re the shoes that will bring me back to running, no matter how the race goes.
I also stocked up on energy gel. Again, nothing really exotic — I’ve tried different brands and have concluded that I’m a Gu girl (those Ghirardelli squares during the Nike Women’s Marathon notwithstanding), so I stuck with the familiar. The amount I bought may not get me through the marathon itself, but it’ll do for these final weeks of training. They’ll keep me from hating my last few long runs, or at least hating them due to hunger. And even if they don’t taste like, say, a delicious Cadbury Creme Egg, I know somewhere in the recesses of my brain that every one of those shiny little pouches carries me closer to another shiny object that’s not nearly as squishy or messy: a finisher’s medal.
New shoes? Check. New gels? Check. Thinking more and more about the 26.2-mile jaunt that’s now less than a month away? Ahhh…check.
A tricky but so-worth-it part of the taper process is getting your mind off the darn race.
This means that, in addition to my longest training run, I have done the following recently:
* acquired and learned how to operate a smartphone (see last week’s post)
* gone to a friend’s birthday party
* had a good long visit with my hair stylist for a cut and coloring
* bought wedding presents for my friends Emily and Robbie, and
* gone shooting with Robin Hood.
That last one was a fun and downright character-building day. Robin Hood was testing out his new M1A rifle and, after he was satisfied, wanted me to try it. I balked — an M1A is two or three healthy lunges forward from the .22 pistol I’ve grown fond of — but gave it a shot (heh, heh. Last pun, I promise). My first effort wasn’t pretty. Even though R.H. showed me how to stand, how to hold the gun, and warned me about the noise and the recoil, it freaked me out a little. But after a few minutes and a few deep breaths, I asked for the gun back, planted my feet, and fired every round in the magazine.
Hooray for getting back in the saddle! Kind of like when you have a bad race but sign up for another one, right? Maybe. However…
Final thing to remember during taper time: stop analyzing so much.