Taper Week Sass

This post is going to be a little sassy and judgmental and I guarantee I’ll offend someone. I’m not ranting about anyone in particular, these are just some observations I’ve had about the running community. Am I an expert on any of this? No, of course not, so don’t take anything I say TOO seriously.

Things I think, but never say:

1) Aches and pains are part of the game. Listen, I’m not saying you should push through a stress fracture or something serious. If that’s what’s happenin’, take a break and see a doctor. But on the other hand don’t freak out if you’ve got some aches and pains. Honestly? Something sort of bothers me nearly every week. Do I troll Web MD and convince myself I’ve got plantar fasciatis, ITBS, and shin splints? Yes, definitely, you should SEE my browser history. But in the end, is it usually serious? No. Listen, all I’m saying is running is tough. Training for a race is tougher. Aches and pains are going to happen, accept the fact, don’t blow it out of proportion, and don’t use a sore muscle as an excuse to skip a run.

2) You’re wearing too much clothing. This is coming from the girl who instigated bragate 2011, so take my fashion “advice” with a grain of salt. But 75% of the people that I see running (or more importantly RACING) are over-dressed. I suppose if your race pace isn’t too quick, you might need some extra duds, but if it’s over 45 degrees, you do not need spandex tights and a jacket. And you can probs leave the arm sleeves and iphone holder at home too. I don’t know about you, but when I’m working hard, I get sweaty. And I certainly don’t want to deal with any extraneous fabric or worse – a jacket tied around my waist. So, if you’re running a race this year, try wearing a little less. Your long pants will be waiting at the finish line!

3) You can probably run faster. Whenever I hear “I’m not built like a runner” or “I’m just slow”, I want to get on my soapbox. I started running when I was 14. I was about 20 lbs overweight, only exercised when forced, and joined the Jr. High track team so that I could be a thrower (shotput, discus, javelin). Can we just pause for a moment and think about that?

Megan, a thrower? She can hardly open revolving doors.

Okay, moving on. I could barely make it around the 400m track one time on my first day of running. And believe me – I’m no elite, but obviously I’ve gotten faster. I don’t believe I’m inherently talented at running, but if you work at something for long enough, you will improve. Not everyone is going to be qualifying for the Olympics, but you also don’t need to be running 10 minute miles in the back of the pack. Increase your mileage, start doing tempo runs, maybe hit the track, and stop setting limits for yourself. I know that running is supposed to be an enjoyable activity and if you’re a casual jogger, that’s cool. Go do your thang, but if you’re putting time and energy (and $$!) into training and races, don’t half-ass it. Are you completely spent at the end of races? Do you run until you think you might vomit? Nice job. You’ve given 100%.  /End rant.

4) Post-Marathon Antsy-ness (totally made this word up): I’m a pretty high volume runner and I don’t always take a rest day once a week (sometimes it’s every 10 days or two weeks), so I understand the itch to get on the roads. BUT LISTEN UP MARATHONERS – In my high and mighty (and very unofficial) opinion, if you don’t take at least a week off after 26.2, you’re doing it wrong. I don’t care if you didn’t BQ like you planned or if the weather is 65 and sunny or if your friends are all out running. You cannot continuously train and race – that’s a one-way ticket to burn out town. Take some days off completely from exercise and when you do start running again, take it easy. You don’t need to be doing tempo workouts the week after a marathon. I don’t know about you, but at the end of every marathon training cycle, I start to feel a little fatigued and burnt out. If you’re still fresh, maybe just maybe you aren’t training hard enough. The key here is cycle – plan out your key races, train for them full-tilt, and when you’re done, back off. Then you can start over again. I really think you need that downtime to get some perspective on your running, to figure out what worked and what didn’t, and most importantly – focus on the other things in your life for awhile.

Phew! Glad I got that off my chest. In other news, I ran my last key workout before Boston this week. I had to peace out of  the office probably before I should have…and then dodge cabs and tourists to make my way uptown by 7pm. I felt like just getting to workout, was the workout, you know? Anyway. The deets:

8 mile tempo run (continuous) with 2 miles @ marathon pace, 4 miles @ half-marathon pace, and 2 miles @ marathon pace.

 Splits: 7:29, 7:29, 7:06, 7:03, 7:11, 7:03, 7:30, 7:27

I haven’t been feeling super confident about my training lately, but this workout was a nice confidence booster. It didn’t feel easy (workouts aren’t supposed to!), but I did feel stronger and more relaxed than I have in a long time. The marathon pace miles are a little faster than they should be – in Boston I won’t be shooting for anything faster than 7:35, but I’m still pretty pleased with the splits. I ran a similar workout a month ago and while Thursday night’s effort was only 10 seconds faster – my splits were a lot more controlled and I didn’t feel like I was working quite as hard. I talked my running buddy’s ear off in the last marathon-paced mile, good sign, right?

I’m going to do one last longish run on Sunday (~10 miles) and then back it off a whole lot next week – just a few 4-5 mile runs before race day. And maybe some strides to keep the legs from getting sluggish. And sleep. SO MUCH SLEEP. Or at least more than 6 hours/night. T-Minus 9 Days.

If you’re coming here for nutritional advice, you may want to think twice – I have been know to consume beer & banana bread for dinner – but I do try to make healthy things when I can.

For example, here are some highlights from the last week:

Brunch: Cornmeal Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce and a Veggie & Mozzarella Frittata

These brunch was enjoyed with some lady friends, who conveniently live in my ‘hood. The cornmeal pancakes were based on this delicious recipe. I’m not usually a pancake fan, but these? Make them.

Lunch (I packed my lunch TWO DAYS this week everyone, it’s a miracle): Curried Chickpea Wrap

Makes about 3 servings


1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 container of baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean

1/2 bunch kale, de-stemmed

1 Tbs olive oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp curry powder

Salt, Pepper, Sriracha sauce to taste


Toss the chickpeas and mushrooms in oil and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes (you may need to keep an eye on them – they’re done when they’re lightly browned!)

Lightly steam the kale (I popped it in a bowl and microwaved it for about 45 seconds).

Let the chickpeas and mushrooms cool and then transfer them to a large bowl. Add the kale. In a small bowl combine the mayo and spices and then add the curry mayo to the chickpeas. Mix everything together and refrigerate. I spooned my chickpea mixture into whole wheat tortillas. Cheap, healthy, fast.

But honestly, I’d still rather buy my lunch.

I hope I offended less than half of you. Stick around – hopefully one or two more (rambling) posts before the marathon.

Some days I’m pretty sure I’m going to run a 4-hour marathon, but other days? Well, then I start to think that maybeeeee a PR might be a possibility (<3:18:17). Let’s play a game, leave a comment predicting my finish time and whoever is closest to my actual time will win a (to be determined) prize. Also, if you say DNF I will cry, so don’t say that. Even if you’re thinking it.


  • runnerskitchen

    I’m sorry you feel that way. However, this blog is an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. If I’m not able to express myself on my own blog, then what’s the point? I fully appreciate that many runners aren’t interested in competing or getting faster and if that’s the case – okay. I even said in my post – if you’re just a casual runner, do your thing. My beef is with the runners who make excuses. “I’m not faster because XYZ” “I’m slow” etc. I feel that if you’re going to devote time and energy to something – you should give 100%. And the 10 minute mile reference was arbitrary, just a number. A 10 minute mile pace for a marathon is a lot different than a 10 minute mile pace for a 5k, you know? And if that is the fastest pace that you can run, that’s fine. But I think one of my favorite quotes sums it up best:

    “One of the rarest things that a man ever does is to do the best he can” -Josh Billings

  • I love the title of this post.  I told my mom I had unemployment sass today.  

  • Is using Cool Running’s pace calculator cheating? I plugged 7:29 min/mile and got 3:16:12. Sounds good to me! Now please finish in that time so I get my prize.

    YES to No. 2. I wore armwarmers and gloves to my last half (I think the temp was 51 degrees) and within the first mile the armwarmers were rolled to my wrists and the gloves were stuffed in my bra. I learned my lesson.

    It’s a good thing you didn’t post these food pics before you and Jacqui visited S.F. I would have demanded you cook instead of meeting at the pub.

  • I sort of agree with Megan here. I mean, I don’t think 10-min miles are slow. I think that pace is on par with most race finishers (correct me if I’m wrong). And I still run my long runs around that pace.

    But 10 min was my pace for EVERY distance for the past eight years. Why? Well, even though I put in the miles I didn’t do track, tempos or any type of speedwork. I’ve only started to get faster in the past two yrs because I’ve devoted at least one day a week to speedwork. It’s amazing what only one 3- to 4-mile track or tempo session can do. Yeah running faster is uncomfortable but I feel like it pays off right away.

    So I encourage people to get uncomfortable one day a week. I’m kicking myself for not hauling my butt to the track sooner! I still consider myself a middle-of-the-packer, but it’s exciting to think about how I’ve gotten faster, and how I’ll keep getting faster.

  • runningseal

    I like ranty posts. They are the most entertaining…so rant away! Also you might want to flip your greater than sign to be less than 🙂 I don’t normally play these guessing games but I like prizes so you have given me enough of an incentive to play! I am going to go with a PR of 3:17:45. Super scientific calculations went into determining that 😉 I expect to pick up my prize…

  • megmiller

    Love this. As someone who isn’t fast, but also knows it’s not because of my build but that I have to train more/harder- I totally appreciate everything you’ve said.  I’m definitely not the kind of person that will run a race just to finish- if I sign up and slack on the training, I don’t bother going to the event just to clog up the course.  Some may see this as giving up, I see it as showing respect for those who have been training hard, and who have stuck to their plan.  If I just want to go out and run some distance, I can do that any day on my own! 

    Good luck at Boston-3:14:24!

  • runnerskitchen

    oh god, my math skillz need some work. thanks for the heads up! greater than sign has been changed to less than 🙂

  • runnerskitchen

    these are some speedy time predictions! i hope i’m close.

  • annie

    I appreciate your honesty. I agree that 10 min/mile is not the back of the pack and would argue that maybe some people like to run for enjoyment rather than to race, and shouldn’t be judged for it. But, I absolutely agree with the too much clothing – I saw a guy with a face guard at a race yesterday and it was 50 degrees!!

  • Courtney

    Good luck @ Boston!!!!! I predict 3:16:48.
    I hear ya on the injury thing! Runners lovvvve to dx all their injuries..just gotta keep going unless it persists for awhile, then go talk to a sports med. dr.!

  • 3:17:33
    I agree with the aches and pains, it’s true. It’s hard to tell someone to just grin and bear the pain, which is sometimes just what it takes. I hate saying that, but it’s true. Your body will tell you for sure if you need to take time off (ie, stress fracture, etc)
    I am def guilty of never knowing what to properly wear when racing. I *hate* being cold and pretty much spend 6 months out of the year in a perpetual state of cold. But the real issue for me is being cold at the starting line or after races, since I rarely check a bag.
    And I agree with encouraging people to push themselves. The best tool for me to push myself beyond what I thought my pace was for years was the purchase of a Garmin. Being aware of my pace actually helped me realize I was faster than I thought.

  • Sun

    i couldn’t stop nodding my head as i read this post! i’ve seen people dressed in everything from tights to sweatshirts to wool scarves while running even during the 70-80 degree heatwave wisconsin had last month. also, if i hear one more person suggest the 5k distance is “easy” i just might scream. it’s like you said – if it’s easy, they aren’t giving it 100 percent.

    as for your time, i predict 3:18:14! best of luck in the upcoming race!

  • runnerskitchen

    i agree re: the 5k. whenever i mention that i’m running a shorter distance (5k, 10k, 10 miler) people will say “Oh! that must be so easy for you – you run marathons!”

    just because it’s shorter, does NOT mean it’s any easier. shorter races = faster paces 🙂

  • Kale and chickpeas – two ingredients I’ve been loving on lately, thanks! 

    … and since you can’t win if you don’t play … 3:16:59. 

  • I am so confused by people running in tights and Boston Marathon jackets when it’s 60 degrees out. I would assume they would know better. Ha. That being said, I often tend towards overdressing but I’m trying to get out of the habit.

  • Betzita

    I like the sass! And best of luck, I hope you enjoy the marathon! I guess 3:23:45.

  • My problem is that I often vomit after a run even if it WASN’T my fastest or farthest, but I’m with you [or really more just HOPING you’re right :)] on the “You can probably run faster” part.  I’m trying to do some of the types of runs you mentioned above to get better this year.  Good luck at Boston!!!!  I guess 3:14:37

  • Jocelyn Bonneau

    Okay first of all, you are hysterical. I love the ranting.  Second of all, I needed the tough love on #2.  I always wear too much clothing during spring races! Eeek.  It’s an issue I’m working on…

  • scarlett elliewood

    I LOVE THIS POST! And I’m a slow, half-assed, complaining runner, but I think you’re quite right. 

  • Thanks for #3. Seriously! I read this post on Sunday AM, then went outside and ran my fastest 3 miler ever.I’ve never in my life run consecutive miles at a pace under 9:00/mi – but I negative split the whole way and my last mile was 8:50.
    I know it won’t be an overnight change, but I’m feeling so positive I CAN speed things up. This run was a major confidence booster. I’m stronger than I think. Now, I just need to figure out how to apply this to my half coming up in 6 weeks.

  • runnerskitchen

    That is so awesome!! Congrats! I know I might have rubbed people the wrong way with that post, but I honestly think that most people (myself included!!) could give more if they really tried. And I know that running isn’t a priority for everyone and that’s cool, but if it IS something you devote a lot of time to and care about, why not give 110%?

    Good luck in your half 🙂

  • I saw a woman wearing long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a wool scarf while running last night in Philly.  It couldn’t have been colder than 62 degrees. A WOOL SCARF. Unbelievable/hilarious. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself when I saw her, thinking about this sass post.   I predict 3:16:58 for you on Monday – good luck girl!!!!!   

  • Robyn

    Or where pants and long sleeved shirt if you might happen to be muslim, orthodox jew or some other such religion requiring modesty. If you’re working hard running, chances are you’ve broken out in a sweat and are hot whether you’re practically naked or covered head to toe. Fewer clothes just gives an illusion of cool. Anyways, Good luck in the race! I’m excited for you and hope you do well. :0)