Berlin Marathon Training: Week 16, At Long Last

I’m back! Well, okay: I’ve been back. But I came back straight into a big work project, and the sudden need to understand what one wants from an electrical contractor, and the phase of moving where you’re like, “I’ve thrown away a dumpster full of stuff and I still haven’t put anything in boxes and oh my god, I think I’m a hoarder” — so my post-marathon thoughts haven’t really gotten their due here.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking them. It’s been…interesting to transition from someone training for her first marathon to someone who’s on the other side of the finish line. In the past I’ve found it oddly rough to reach any big milestone; I often find myself at loose ends in the days and weeks after. This time, I can channel my spare energy into sorting through a year’s worth of magazines I haven’t read and figuring out whether I want to be a person who still owns physical CDs, but mere packing hasn’t placated the more introspective part of me. And that’s the part that has feelings about what it means to have run a marathon — at all, for starters, but also in the way that I did and in the time that I did.

So I’m going to start writing some of those things down in the days ahead. And — spoiler alert? — for once I’m actually healthy enough after a big race to start thinking about my next goal, so I suppose I’ll be making some plans along those lines shortly too.

But first, I wanted to close out the Berlin training part of 2012 — if not the Berlin thinking part of 2012 — with a quick recap of the last week of training, if only to prove to myself that I once tapered without going totally nuts. (Though it was close.)

Monday: 1320 yards of slowww swimming.

Tuesday: In the morning, a little more than 4 miles at Stow Lake with Alyssa (plus a surprise appearance by another Dailymile friend!). Yoga at night. This is the day Pete left for Chile, and I remember telling a small fraction of the story to our yoga instructor and having her respond with all the most calming things — “but what an amazing opportunity!” “but think of how romantic it’ll be to meet up abroad!” — and thinking I’d made a very good decision to go to yoga that night.

Wednesday: Aqua talking jogging. I met my pool-running buddy for about 35 minutes of what I’m sure was very self-absorbed chatter about houses and marathons and international travel.

Thursday: 2 miles of literally running errands and freaking out because it felt like something in my left knee was tugging on my kneecap, which I was immediately convinced was going to become stabby IT band pain that would make my marathon a disaster. I suppose I couldn’t have gotten through taper without one inexplicable “injury,” but this really scared me, especially because I could feel it even walking around later that day. I’m recording this so that I can remember that I ran a pain-free marathon less than 72 hours later, self.

Friday: “Rest,” which in some ways was almost as total as rest gets (I was more-or-less immobile on airplanes for 12 hours) and in other ways was not restful at all (nine time zones of travel). Somehow everyone — Pete, my parents, and I — all landed in Berlin within an hour of each other, and after a quick airport reunion, Pete and I hustled to the expo. We got there with about 45 minutes to spare, and there was some confusion finding the actual packet pick-up area, so we only had time for a quick lap through the retail area, which was probably for the best.

Saturday: The Berlin breakfast run, one of my favorite parts of the weekend. I was nervous about what my knee would do, but it felt fine for the 3.5ish miles. (See again: taper tantrum.) I didn’t have a watch for this run, so my rule was that if I was getting sweaty, I was probably running too hard. We did some walking later in the afternoon, trying to find the right balance between resting our legs and getting to explore the city.

Sunday: 26.2

I closed out the last week of training/racing with about 36 miles of running, basically a lifetime high. That sounds so puny, but if nothing else, I’m proof that you can finish a marathon injury-free with that kind of mileage. And I’m damn proud of that.

But can you race one? Well, well … that’s a musing for another post.

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