My last "long" run of taper, that is. Tim said to me "Your first long run of taper will be awful." That was last week's 15, and it wasn't. Then 10 miles I ran today was the hardest run of the training cycle (running wise, not pain wise). It required MUCH more effort than any of the 20s or 20+s I've run.
My legs didn't hurt. They just felt like lead. The best way to describe the run, from start to finish, is that I was working. At a pace that generally feels very, very easy. I felt like I couldn't get into any sort of rhythm. Everything, from my breathing to my stride, felt awkward. I felt like I was bonking just a few miles in. I took two gels throughout (which I usually would never do on a 10 miler), and got minimal benefit. I began to lose all confidence. How can I possibly hold any kind of decent pace for 26 miles when I feel like this? Where did my fitness go? My legs felt better at the END of my peak week.
Now, I'm on two different kinds of antibiotics (which will be finished three days before the race), and I've noticed that those are making me feel pretty awful, and my appetite is very much decreased. So I've not been eating much at all, and I think that probably caught up with me. And, as Tim tells me, it's taper. It makes you feel weird. It makes you doubt yourself to degrees you didn't realize were possible.
Anyway, other than feeling like a non-runner had taken over my body, this was a really interesting run. We've had a lot of rain. We were concerned that the bottom of Slaughterhouse Hill might be flooded. Tim mentioned that we could run our course backwards (meaning we'd hit SH hill early), and if it was flooded we could reroute. Um..no. This is my last longish run of taper. I am a very routinized individual. I was going to, if at all possible, run the same 10 mile course out there that I run every time I run 10 miles. So Tim went to check before the run. It was clear. When we headed out, there was a pretty steady rain. When we approached the 2 mile mark, near the base of the I Street Hill--we got a surprise. It was TOTALLY flooded. There were high water signs. We just didn't think to check there. I said "Let's go down to the water, then turn around." When we got down there, Tim said "It's only about 6 inches. Let's just take our shoes and socks off and walk." It was probably a little over a tenth of a mile long. I thought about it for a second, and I thought he was crazy. And then I thought about how doing that would allow me to run my usual route. So, I took off my socks and shoes.
When we started to cross, it was 6 inches. Except, it kept getting deeper. We kept going anyway. I'm sure it was a sight to see and I have never so much wished I had my camera. It was raining hard, windy, dark, and, apart from me and Tim, completely void of any animal (that we could see) or human activity. It was like an armageddon scene: two runners trying to escape a flood. Nike Frees high over their heads (must save the important things). At its highest, the water was up to my waist. And it was cold. Mid-run ice bath, anyone? And I had my TENS on. I'm pretty sure the manufacturers of it would not recommend crossing a RIVER while wearing it. But I didn't notice any ill effects. We emerged on the other side, slipped our shoes on, and trudged on. I've done a lot of things on runs, but that's the first time I've done that. And it was a lot of fun.
Now, the other good part of this run, in addition to the water wading, is that my abdominal pain was the best it's been in a LONG time. I had both TENS units on, and turned the new one off just a mile in, as it felt too much. I even had to turn the other TENS off eventually. I noticed that the TENS was hurting me. Usually, the other pain is so bad that the TENS feels like a really rough massage. It felt painful today because I didn't have nearly as much underlying abdominal pain. I had it off from about 2 to 7, then turned it back on, but only at half strength. I couldn't handle it at full strength, and I'm usually wishing it would go higher.
So...I'm thinking that I would really like to only wear the small TENS during the race. It's a pound less of weight (and I really can tell a difference). But that will depend on how my runs go this week. I get cortisone injections tomorrow (more for peace of mind than anything...I'm not sure they help at all), so it's possible I might be able to run the whole thing TENS free. But, of course, I would never chance that. I'll at least have the small one with me and hooked up, but I might be able to turn it off and on. And, I might freak out and wear both of them. We'll see.
My pain has been less, too, just sitting around. Why? Well, it's been improving ever since the NP started me on the antibiotics. She gave these to me because I had some signs of pelvic inflammatory disease (again, NOT from STDs), and in a condition known as Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome, this infection can spread upward, where it usually lands on the liver and diaphragm, causing adhesions to form between these two organs if the condition goes on for a while. So, I'm wondering if that's what we're dealing with. In any case, I'll take the good fortune.