The countdown is on!

I am just under 4 weeks away from my marathon and I’m starting to taper down my mileage. This is always the scariest part for me – the part where I’m not running as much, or at all. It doesn’t matter how much cross training I do or how active I am, I still feel nervous that I’m not running.

But I know I have to stick to my plan and trust my training, so I’m going to enjoy these last couple of weeks of running. After that I’ll just count the days and hopefully when marathon day comes I’ll be anxious to GO.

My training so far has been a success. My speed hasn’t improved much, but my endurance is much better than what it used to be. I’m so proud of my recovery time. The first time I ran over 21k I needed a couple of days to recover. Now the last time I ran 30+k it was back to business by that afternoon.

I have been incorporating some Chi Running techniques, which have been invaluable to getting in those super long distances. I’m trying not worry about my time, even though in the back of my mind I always do. I’m quite slow. I like to blame my height.

I’ve become familiar with the different stages of TIRED that I experience when running for more than three hours. At first it’s just regular tired, when your heart rate is going up and you want to stop to catch your breath and rest. If you push through that, you enter a comfortable pace and a stage where it feels like you can go on forever.

Then your muscles become tired. They complain about the repetition and they bitch at every hill. After that your mind starts to go. You can’t remember why you decided to run this far. You wonder why you chose this specific route. You tell yourself that you might not be able to make it. That you’ll fail.

If you push through that, your muscles don’t feel as tired anymore. They’re a little tight, but there’s no pain. Your mind starts to clear and you are only concentrating on one thing: BREATHE. So you just breathe. And push on.

I found a theme song for my marathon. I’ve been looking for one for months, and listening to this particular song pushed me through that mental obstacle stage more than once. It’s Eminem’s Til I Collapse.

Here are the verses that drive me to run when I really really really want to stop:

Cause sometimes you feel tired

Feel weak

And when you feel weak

You feel like you wanna just give up

But you gotta search within you

You gotta find that inner strength

And just pull that shit out of you

And get that motivation to not give up

And not be a quitter

No matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face

And collapse…

This is your moment

And every single minute you spend trying to hold onto it

Cause you may never get it again

So while you’re in it

Try to get as much shit as you can

And when your run is over

Just admit when it’s at its end…

Till the roof comes off

Till the lights go out

Till my legs give out

Can’t shut my mouth

Till the smoke clears out

Am I high? Perhaps

I’m a rip this shit

Till my bones collapse.

You can hear the full song on YouTube here.

This week is my last significant long run. Then it’s just a matter of keeping limber, eating well, and mental preparations.