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 Responses

  1. I’m in Eastern PA, too. 🙂

    My moment was last night when my 6 year old went to cheer practice and I walked loops around the parking lot…very relaxing! And, I walked by her group many times, so I still saw what was happening!

  2. Good luck with your race! Unfortunately I was unable to stick to my training to a T this time due to an injury, but a think that is ok… the adrenaline of race day, the music, the fans…. will get you through!

  3. I started running this summer but it didn’t last long, reading your updates is encouraging and motivating me to start again!

  4. My Downy moment came last Sunday after I spent all day harvesting tomatoes and making sauce to freeze for winter. Afterwards it rained and i crawled under my freshly laundered-with-Downy blanket and watched a good movie. Good day!

  5. My Downy soft side moment came a few weeks ago. It too was running related. It was after I complete my full marathon and no longer had to follow a training plan. I could take a rest day or two or maybe three without feeling like I was going to miss out on making my goal. It was great!

  6. I thought a 5K was the new black! LOL! Just did my first one (still can’t run the whole thing but working on it!). Good luck with your race. 🙂

  7. My downy moment came when sending my oldest off to Kindergarten. She planned her first day outfit weeks before (it was a favorite dress) and it was freshly laundered and ready to go on the big day!

  8. My #softside moment was this morning when I realized I had another 30 minutes to sleep. And my husband brought me coffee in bed. A beautiful thing!

  9. I’m totally into Downy. I like to mix it with water and spritz the house with it! I also sometimes leave some in a bowl and let it waft through the house. Of course, everything I wash is also blessed with Downy! My @softside moment is to have freshly washed sheets and pillows scented with that lovely Downy and softness and feel like I’m floating on a beautiful cloud!

  10. My #softside was actually this morning when I allowed myself to sleep in for a little bit before tackling the day!! (And I’ll have another #softside moment tomorrow when I slip out for some shopping sans kids 😉

  11. My #softside moment is a movie and late night snack with my husband after a long day at work – curled up in blankets laundered with Downy of course.

  12. I actually had a Downy moment this evening. I had the house to myself for a change, hubby at work, kids gone. I made myself dinner, watched some tv in bed and was completely relaxed!

  13. My husband let me sleep in today while he was out running a race. I want to start running but need to sign up for a 5k. Love your blog.

  14. I love soft sheets and towels, especially bed linens. They bring out the soft side of sleeping & make my dreams even sweeter. Thanks Jo-Lynne for the giveaway!

  15. Best wishes on your race day next week! But more importantly, congratulations on reaching your goal and sticking with the runs through the humidity, loneliness, pain, and time. That’s what gets me the most is the time. I’ve just picked up running again after taking off about 8 years from it. And I love how it makes me feel, but I’m struggling to stay consistent. Way to go!

  16. I don’t know if this qualifies as a “Downy moment”, but this past week found a bag of old pantaloons and baptism dresses from most likely my great-great aunt and her mother. It was so neat to just take in all the details and imagine a time when they would’ve been worn. 🙂

  17. Your post a few weeks ago about your running gear made me feel that if you ( a runner in my book) needed a water belt, then I could have one too as I started training for my long runs. I just finished my longest run a 10k last Sunday. Thanks.

  18. My softside was surprising my daughter with a relaxing father-daughter night. She wasn’t expecting it and we had a wonderful time hanging out

  19. My Downy moment came a few weeks ago. It was after I complete my full marathon and no longer had to follow a training plan.

  20. What a wonderful accomplishment.
    My downy moment is after having family visiting with us for three weeks, I got caught up on all the house cleaning, laundry and paperwork. Husband took the kids out for the next day and I got to relaxed for the day, snuggled in bed with a book.

  21. There is nothing like wrapping myself up in my Downy soft robe after a hard day at work. The swoftness makes it that much easier to relax.

  22. My Downy moment is every night after hard days of work to finally snuggle in Downy-fresh sheets and enjoy a movie.

  23. My #softside Downy moment was this weekend. We have had big events every weekend for the last month and this weekend we had a break. It was a great relaxing weekend.

  24. My downy moment is when I do the linens and get into bed and smell how nice the sheets small and how soft they are.

  25. My Downy moment is whenever I get to hang out with my best friend Chad and his daughter, Rhiannan. I just love that girl!!

  26. My Downey Moment was when I recently tackled a home improvement project all on my own. When I finally put away my new power drill and admired my handywork, I knew there was nothing I couldn’t fix in the future.

  27. my downy moment is every time i take a shower and towel off…the smell of the towel makes me feel like i’m in an expensive spa.
    how i bring out the softside of life is to be gentle and respectful of all plant and animal life.

  28. My moment was doing my strength training which I’ve been so slacking on.
    And then relaxing in the whirlpool!
    Thank you.

  29. My softer side moments will be coming up as the weather gets colder. I can’t wait to snuggle in my blankets softened with Downy

  30. I love downy, I love the moment I slip in between my sheets and get a big strong smell of downy. It just makes my day!

  31. my downey moment was last weekend when my child came home from college-to surprise me. and the next morning…woke me up to have breakfast in bed. my child crawled in bed and we shared the breakfast. amazing!

  32. My Downy moments come whenever I’ve had a hard day at work and my husband and I meet up back home at the end of the day. I get that big, calming hug and just breathe him in! He smells soo good! I absolutely love Downy in his work shirts!

  33. My #softside #downy moments are when my grandson gets to spend the night once a week & he gets to enjoy fun times with his papaw & I with a family meal together, maybe watch a movie he likes or just go for walk while he rides his bike. And those hugs we get are the sweetest of all 🙂

  34. Our air conditioner had broken – horrible in 100 degree humidity for 3 days. Then finally worked again and got under my cool bed in freshly washed downy – Oh yes! My downy moment! #softside

  35. My moment is after the girls go to school. I fix myself a cup of coffee and sit down and relax on facebook. Thank you!

  36. My #softside moment is when I first get into my bed at night after just washing the sheets and comforter with downy!

  37. #softside moment was when the three grandkids came over for a visit today – so great to see them even though it was my son and daughter in laws anniversary they took the time for a visit so I just had to give them some money for a nice dinner with the kids

  38. My downy moment is taking grandma’s sheets out of the dryer when they smell so good and putting them on her bed. At age 95, she still loves the aroma on her bed and in ehr room.

  39. my Downy moment is crawling into bed after I’ve washed the sheets and I’m exhausted! Ah the fresh smell and feel!

  40. My downy moment is after washing my puppies stinky blankets and smelling the freshness of downy when they come out of the dryer
    pedidentalasst at yahoo dot com

  41. I have softside moments all day every day because I stay at home with my kiddos. I am disabled and so are two of the three of them. My youngest has a condition called Periventricular Leukomalacia and Cerebral Palsy. He is 6, but only about 18 months developmentally. He is the sweetest, happiest, most loving child I have ever known.

    If anyone is interested in knowing more about him, click on my name to go to our website.

  42. My moment would be my youngest daughter graduating this year. My husband brought a hankerchief because he knows Im a crybaby and I used it alot that day. Downy clean.

  43. I bring out the softside by caring about my parents and siblings, I try to reach out and stay connected because I live a few states away from them.

  44. My downy moment is watching tv with my kids in bed on the summer mornings, and I bring out the #softside of life by using fabric softeners on our bedding and towels.

  45. My downy moment is something I am in the middle of right now with me having difficulty at work. Working on my #softside as I try to find a new job.

  46. My Downy moment is when I crawl into bed under my freshly washed sheets (of course, using Downy in the process) and I melt into the bed and fall asleep which I rarely am unable to do (sleep that is). The smell of just laundered sheets is comforting.

  47. I am participating in a biggest loser weight loss group. My Downey moment was finding out I was last weeks biggest loser. We will be ending the group at the beginning of October (we are doing it as a competition and as a way to get together as ladies) and it seems bitter sweet. I have been pushing myself to loose weight and to get healthier. I am not going to stop doing that at all, but I am going be “softer” on myself. When I have moments of weekends, I am accepting them and then pushing forward. Not letting myself wallow or beat myself up.

  48. My Downy moment is when someone else launders my sheets so I have more time to do my other chores. That’s the #softside of life.

  49. my #softside moment is right after I finish a long run and get into the shower. nothing better than feeling the water on my tired doggies!

    rafflecopter: daniel

  50. I bring out the #softside of life by giving hugs to my family. My Downy moment is bundle up with soft sweaters during winter.

  51. My downy moment came when I washed all my bedding last weekend, because the dog sleeps with me.. it was so soft and smelled amazing when I was finished.

  52. love the smell of downy, it is very relaxing to snuggle on the couch w/a good book or watch a movie under a blanket that was laundered w/downy, the smell relaxes

  53. I am a downy addict, especially the unstoppables! My moment comes daily when I open my closet or move my shower curtain and get a big whiff……oh how I love thee!

  54. I love spending all day cleaning and washing things in Downy and at the end of the day being able to wind down and crawl in the bed with my freshly washed Downy scented sheets!

  55. My moment came last night when it was pouring outside so our plans were cancelled. Instead we stayed in, cuddled up in a nice warm blanket and watched a movie. Love the smell of downy!

  56. We have three boys and one girl. I just love when I get to spend quality time with my daughter – she is 17 and is becoming such a wonderful and funny young lady. I really cherish our times because in just a year she will be headed off to college.

  57. I love the soft freshness of clean sheets laundered with Downy. I try to bring out the #Softside of myself and others by being a good listener.

  58. My Downy moment was last week. I had worked around the house all day and was just finishing laundry that night. As I got them out of the dryer my son and daughter jumped in front of me and gathered on the couch. They were saying over and over put them on me mom put them on me. So I did to which the said I always love how the clothes smell from the dryer.
    That told me I was using exactly what I needed to be, Downy.


  59. We use Downy in every load! My Downy moment is snuggling under a blanket on the couch to watch tv at night.


  60. My downy moment came at 3:00 this morning when I was binge watching Dexter, surfing the web and feeling completely serene all at the same time.

  61. Sadly I’m not a committed Downy girl as I tend to forget to add it halfway through the wash. But there’s nothing like fresh linen-smelled-Downy towel, nice and hot right out of the oven (I mean dryer) on a cold winter’s day. Folding warm, nice-smelling towels on a winter day is never a chore. 🙂

  62. My softside moment comes when I wake up realizing my comforter has turned decoration side in (aka upside down) and it is still as comfy as the “right way”. ;D

  63. My soft side came out when I walked my grandson to school for his first day of kindergarten in his Downy fresh clothes!

  64. My downy momemnt is when the kdis get home from school tell me about all the things they learned and how much fun they had at school. I love have little converstaions with them about their day, I miss them so much when they are at school.

  65. My Downy softside is when my grandbabies come over and I lay out a soft, clean and fresh Downy blanket. ooooh they look even more huggable!.

  66. 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!

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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

  71. 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

  72. 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

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

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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!

  77. 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.

  78. 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

  79. 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.

  80. 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

  81. 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.

  82. 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!

  83. 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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