It's a rough Monday. Between Daylight Savings and a 21 miler yesterday on a "rolling" course, I am one beat-up, exhausted runner girl. In fact, after this post, I'm going to take another catnap, my third in three days. Nothing says Monster Month like the actual need for a nap and vague sensation of hunger at all times.
Yesterday was a tough long run, my second to last 20+ miler of this cycle. When I walked into the club yesterday, Erin's face looked like I felt. We announced ourselves as non-committal and headed out. As turn after turn passed (8 mile loop, 10 mile loop, then13 mile loop), we just kept plugging until we were at the turnaround for the 20 mile option. It wasn't pretty, we weren't as bubbly as we usually are, but we ran a tough 21 miles over hilly terrain with tired legs and minds. As we were sitting in the hot tub after (NOTE: Ice really really really is better, we were being bad girls), we just kept remarking how thrilled we were to get that run in, how pivotal it felt to have another 20 done.
During March or in any month prior to the marathon, many of us plod on with only the faintest glimmer of hope in the form of the taper. The expression "the hay is in the barn," for those unintroduced, comes from the most challenging part of the taper (the 2 to 3 week period prior to a marathon where miles get cut back, everything hurts and a mental battle ensues). It is so hard not to let yourself squeeze one more workout in during these two weeks where workouts don't seem hard enough or long enough to maintain fitness, let alone tune up for a race. We tell ourselves over and over to "trust the training" and "believe in the taper," but it is an incredibly challenging task. Thus, as we finish up the last 3 weeks of this cycle, it may help to consider that every workout we can do well, every well-balanced meal and every good night of sleep is another bale in the barn.
Keep plugging, all. The hay is (almost) in the barn for the Boston runners. For Vermont City folks, you're just starting the hard part, but it too shall pass. One day at a time, one hour at a time, heck, one foot at a time if you need. Just get that hay into the barn.