Health/Fitness
194 Comments

The Taper!

On Saturday I ran 12 miles — my last “long run” before my half marathon.

I can’t believe I am DONE!

Well, I’m not really DONE; I still have to run a half marathon. Ha! But that 12 miles is almost as significant to me as running that 13.1 on September 15th.

Jo-Lynne running

You see, six months ago, a half marathon wasn’t even on my radar.

I’ve watched several friends train for their first half-marathons. I’ve read their updates and followed their journeys, but I had no desire to do one myself. The infamous long runs sounded grueling, and it all seemed completely unattainable.

Then a friend talked me into running the Rock and Roll Half this fall. To this day, I’m still not sure why I agreed to sign on. At that point, I had never run farther than 7 miles. Even when I bought my ticket and started researching training plans, I couldn’t imagine actually completing the process.

Once you say you’re going to run a half marathon, everyone starts coming out of the woodwork with advice. Evidently the half marathon is the new black.

The one piece of advice that I heard over and over was to follow my training plan to a T. Everybody promised that if I did that, I’d be fine on race day. So I printed out a training schedule, marked my calendar, and set out to stick to it like glue.

And somehow, I did. I hardly missed a single run in the entire 16-week training program, despite some nasty weather and my constant battle with plantar fasciitis (heel pain).

If you’ve been keeping up with my updates, you know that about halfway through my training, I seriously considered quitting. Not just because of my plantar fasciitis, but because I just wasn’t enjoying those long runs in the heat and humidity. I was kicking myself for deciding to train for a half-marathon in September and not one later in the fall when the weather would be more cooperative. For a short while, I wasn’t having fun anymore.

Then the weather took an unexpected turn for the better, and overall the rest of our summer has been fairly mild. I also found a few friends who became running partners, and that helped matters a TON. It is so much more fun, and the time goes SO much more quickly, when you have a friend to run with. I got my mojo back.

But the last two “long runs” were really hard. The heat and humidity returned, and to make matters worse, I had to run them alone. But I was determined, and I completed them both — one grueling mile at a time.

Completing my training plan is almost as momentous as completing the race itself. The training is the hard part — getting up before dawn; persevering when it is hot, cold, rainy, or muggy; battling the loneliness when there is no friend to keep you company; pushing through the pain of sore muscles, chafing, and injuries; enduring painful therapies to keep your body working for you; and taking time away from family to fit in those long runs. The race itself seems almost anticlimactic at this point. I feel like I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do.

Now it’s time to taper!

The last 2 weeks of any training plan includes a taper — where you reduce the volume and intensity of your workouts so you get to the starting line feeling ready to run. I’m definitely ready for the taper!!

After running 10, 11 and 12 miles, it’s a welcome relief to head out for 4 or 5. The goal is to take it easy and enjoy the runs, not worrying about time or pacing. Add to that, fall weather has just arrived here in Eastern PA so I’m a happy camper!

A few days ago, I set out to run just three easy miles. I put the kids on the bus, laced up my sneakers, and set out along my favorite path. The sun was shining, but not too hot. There was a light breeze, but not too harsh. Three miles passed in no time, and when I got home, I spent extra time stretching and icing my feet.

I feel like I’ve already made it. I know the half marathon will be a challenge, but I am confident that I’m ready. I’m thankful that I’ve already done 12. What’s one more mile, after all??

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194 thoughts on “The Taper!

  1. my downy moment was when my shipment of a nice new mattress arrived and covered with downy soft sheets. had the best sleep since the old mattress turned lumpy on me. thanks!

  2. I bring out my softside by volunteering at the animal shelter. And I tried the Downy Unstopables the other day for the first time LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  3. My downy moment came when I was helping my college daughter do her laundry & it smelled so clean and fresh as I was folding clothes with her.

  4. My downy moment was when I brought my son home from the hospital and wrapped him up in his blanket and rocked him to sleep.

  5. My Downy moment is when you make your bed with freshly washed sheets and then crawl up in it and just buy your head under the covers and enjoy the fresh scent of Downy
    annabella @ centurytel dot net

  6. My downy moment was a week ago we went to the fair and after a long day of walking in the hot sun and watching my 7 year old ride all the rides she could possibly ride with her ride band I came home to snuggle in bed with her and hear just how much she loved the whole day

  7. My downy moment is sleeping in on the weekends and snuggling with the dogs while my husband served me breakfast in bed. he is such a sweetie

  8. my downy moment is when i get into a freshly laundered bed and bring #outthesoftside with the great smelling sheets and the soft touch!

  9. I have a downy moment every time I use downy when I do my laundry, and every time a wear an article of clothing that has that downy smell and feel.

  10. My downy moment is that first moment where you take the clothes out of the dryer and get a wiff of that wonderful smell. I use downy all the time to bring out the softside of life and laundry.

  11. My “Downy moment” is when I take clean blankets out of the dryer on Sundays and just sit and cuddle with them inhaling the soft warm scent of Downy!

  12. My Downy #softside moment came earlier this summer after playing a grueling 3-hour tennis match in 90+ degree heat — after somehow winning the match and not succumbing to cramps or dehydration, I immediately took a dive into the pool at the park where I played and then collapsed on a soft towel in the grass to rest and recover.

  13. My #softside moment was cleaning a blanket that my dog soiled on. I washed it, then dried it with some Downy and it because my soft good smelling favorite blanket again!
    sellcrystal2 at yahoo dot com

  14. My softside moment was snuggling up for an hour last night with my dogs and a good book in my nice cushy bed- it’s the first time we’ve been able to use the blankets in weeks since it’s been so hot and we all love to bundle.

  15. my downy moment came this year when I gave up smoking and got my sense of smell back, now I can smell how good my clothes are after laundry day

  16. My Downy moment was last night. It was cold and rainy here and I got into my bed that had nice soft clean sheets that smelled like Downy and fell asleep. I always use Downy on my towels when I’m rinsing them too, they come out of the dryer soft and smelling like Downy.
    Thanks for having this contest.

  17. When you jump in bed after the sheets have been done. Even though they may not be warm, they’re all nice, fitted and fresh!

  18. Thanks for the giveaway… as the coach of my daughter’s volleyball team I have learned that I must present both a tough, demanding coaching style side and a softer, less aggressive style (#softside) at times, in order to encourage the best performance out of each individual young athlete…the trick is learning when & how to moderate each.

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