Betty Is My Bike

Because of the late start to this training cycle and accumulating nowhere near the kind of mileage and hard workouts I had planned on, I decided on a two-week taper rather than three. That extra week made no sense; the taper needs to be a taper from something, and not just some mindless fart in the wind. Okay, so I have done some training: fairly consistent long runs (5 at 30k+), less consistent tempo runs, hill repeats, strides, and the odd bike race, peppered here and there (the purpose of the bike races was fourfold: fun, cross-training, mental strength, and an outlet for being kind of a competitive jerk) –just enough to necessitate a modified taper. On a side-note, I know someone who is doing a four-day taper after struggling through the last few weeks of training. I’m hesitant to say that this is a great idea, but I’m hesitant to say anything in this case. I think there’s a metaphor about a bark being worse than a bite but I don’t want to risk being bitten. I hate being bitten.

The last two weeks leading up to Chicago will consist of early bedtimes, nutritious meals, self- and other- massages, a few key workouts, including a final tempo 10 days out and a few race-pace specific workouts, researching the best spots for pre-marathon pasta and post-marathon burgers and beers, and more early bedtimes.

Don’t Pick At It

I picked at it, “it” being a scab that had grown over a fairly significant gash I had earned on a hot, hilly trail run a couple weeks ago. On a good day, along a clear path, my risk of falling is probably higher than most healthy individuals in my demographic –but then add gnarly roots, sharp rocks, heat and fatigue, and it’s surprising that I fell only once. I lay on my back for a while in the mud, blood trickling down the front of my leg, knee throbbing, before pushing the pace back home; it wasn’t just an act of masked bravery and saving-face –I actually felt okay. For a “recovery run”, one of those two words it was not, but as far as physical discomfort during a run goes, it ranked as mild to bland compared to something like, oh I don’t know, GI distress.

So over the next few days, a hearty scab formed over the wound, and having been gently instructed, reminded, and re-reminded not to pick at it, I refrained from tearing it off for a short time. Before my tempo last night, though, it was starting to dangle, like a racer toeing the line and ready to tear off. So I did what any grown-ass woman with the sensibilities of an eight-year-old boy would do: I tore that sucker off.

The result was not great. That scab was almost ready to be torn off, but the science of scabs reveals that a scab almost ready to be torn off is not meant to be torn off, perhaps not unlike the science of a souffle, which I have heard is very difficult to make, requiring patience, poise, precision.

Not to be deflated, I still went on my tempo as planned, completed it, and by the end of the run, I looked down and saw that a new scab was starting to form.