Fall marathon training: Run, taper, eat, repeat


OK, as I write this Saturday morning, I am on vacation in a town called Santa Claus, Ind. Yes, Santa Claus, Ind. There are cups of coffee, powdered donuts, and the smell of bacon all around me.

For two days I consumed strange dessert concoctions (one thing called a “banana boat” that’s made of a split banana, marshmallow, chocolate and peanut butter wrapped in tin foil and cooked on campfire embers). There have also been burgers, potato salad, chicken salad, bacon, pancakes, potato chips and dip.

This could not have come at a more inopportune time.

The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon is about two weeks away and my taper has begun. I feel bloated and gross from all the food I ate over the past couple of days, and with knowledge of the lack of miles ahead. Keeping weight off at the end of training is always a challenge

In order to stay on track I finished my second 20-mile run around my neighborhood starting at 7 a.m. Thursday. The route was 4, 5-mile loops with my house in the center. The circuit cut out drive time to-and-from a start. I also pretty much planned on dreading seeing the same five miles, four times over.

Instead, I found myself fascinated by watching the neighborhood I live in wake up. With each loop, I could see stores open, cars IMG_0835start, and the older people walk their dogs. Shadows also shifted as dawn broke. I felt like I was on a sundial.

I can happily say my second 20-miler (and my first) was strong. Running by myself, I’ve loafed on the long runs the past couple of training sessions, or my legs felt horrible days after.

On Friday, I ran a recovery run in; you got it, Santa Claus, Ind. It was the most surreal five miles I ever ran. Everything was a creepy ode to St. Nick, from the post office to the small grocery store near where my family is camping.

Additionally, every sidewalk terminated into a cornfield or intersection. Seriously, without knowing the road I came in on, I could only imagine I was somehow trapped in the Village. My run consisted of running a half mile down one sidewalk, turn around and run down another half-mile sidewalk, and on-and-on.

IMG_0834(The oddest part was the quarter mile public walk/bike path that ran from the town’s dollar store to the retirement community.)

Now all I have to do is survive two more days of family together time, try to squeeze in a run on Sunday, and stay away from that third doughnut this morning.

Oh, and make it out of Santa’s Village.


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