Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Taper taper taper

I'm starting to get antsy. I wish Saturday would hurry up and get here--I just want to run. It's getting to the point where I'm suffering from paranoia about getting sick or injured. I even had a bizarre dream in which I was at the marathon but had forgotten my shoes. I woke up and was so incredibly relieved that it wasn't real that I had to take deep breaths to slow my heart rate. It seems silly to stress out so much over a road race, but when you spend months preparing, it begins to loom large. I think I'm going to pack tonight, so I can check and recheck my bag a few times before leaving on Thursday.

Yesterday was my last run of any meaningful effort. It was actually quite a bit too fast, and I hope I don't regret it. Another group run from INRunCo. I went 5.3 miles in an average pace of 8:41. Yipes! I truly did not feel that we were going so fast. I was planning on a 4-miler at MP of 9:00. Oops. I also ran on Sunday with Mark, Michelle, and Becky. I ran a few beforehand and then ran six miles of the Red Eye Relay course to round out 9.4 miles for my last cutback long run. I'll run twice more before the race: tomorrow and Friday, for a total of 4-5 more miles. Oh, and let the carbo-loading begin! I'm trying this concept of cutting back for a few days, then amping it up to 70-80% with three days to go. Let me tell you, I don't know how the low-carb dieters do it! I am used to eating some kind of pasta or rice dish almost every night. Not to mention a lot of pretzels and bagels. Mmm, I love me some carbs.

I heard from friends on the current team that my former coach at Knox has been fired. He was kind of a polarizing figure--a good coach, extremely knowledgeable and well-organized with the most uncanny memory for numbers of anyone I've ever met. This guy could probably still tell me all my PRs and my old address. Heck, I could ask him what time I ran at the conference XC meet my freshman year and he would probably tell me (I don't even remember that--I think it was 22 something). But, he had weird social skills and could never reconcile his need to be competitive with his job at Knox, a school notorious for the lack of competitiveness in its sports teams. Although our teams have had moments of brilliance, we are generally mediocre. It's simply not the focus for the majority of students. Put another way, you just don't go to Knox to play sports. So anyway, his frustration at our suckiness was always evident. I think this was always the biggest problem. From it stemmed issues with retention, recruiting, and overall team numbers. For all his pushing, we regularly finished near the bottom of the conference. But he did help me and many others improve. He was great for the self-motivated athlete, but he alienated so many people who were less serious about running that the team was hamstrung. Sometimes I really just didn't like him, but at the same time I watched him adjust and try to make the best of the situation at Knox. He always tried to do better and I have to give him credit for that. It was hard at first to get past the brusque exterior but once you do he's not a bad person at all. Sigh. It's a real shame. I can only hope that the new coach will be as diligent in keeping alumni connected to the accomplishments of the team. Will there still be a Homecoming invitational? Monthly newsletters? I'm trying not to get my hopes up. It's weird that this happened just as the freshman class when I was a senior is graduating. Now I don't know anyone on the team and I won't know the coach either. I feel totally disconnected.
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