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What I’m Loving Now: MCM Taper Edition

There are only 8 more days until I’m standing on the starting line of the 36th Marine Corps Marathon; 5 until I’m on a plane heading south to VA. As the race draws closer, I’m spending less time running and more time thinking – reflecting over my training and my goals for marathon day.

Translation: the taper crazies are currently ramped up to an all time high.

I don’t know why I always think that marathons will suddenly become less intimidating. While nothing will ever be as nerve-wracking as my first, the truth remains – a marathon is a very long race. A race that you put a lot of time and energy into training for. And no matter what your training has looked like, anything can happen on race day.

In case you were wondering, heavy thoughts and a restless body aren’t exactly the greatest combination.

Luckily, this taper hasn’t been all bad. There are a few good things that have gotten me through the week, and distracted me from those heavy marathon thoughts about performance, goals, and whether these achy knees of mine are going to hold up for 3+ hours. So in the spirit of my 6th marathon, here are 6 things I’m loving:

1.) Operation Leave No Carb Behind. The gradual upping of carbohydrates in preparation of race day is in full swing. While I do happen to consider myself a bit of a pro at this already, I’ve been more conscious than usual about the types of foods I’m eating from now until the marathon. Candy corn and alcohol are out. Whole grains, healthy fats, and proteins are in.



2.) Followed closely by Operation Hydration. Particularly in the form of Bananaberry Nuun. Half a tablet of banana + half a tablet of tri-berry = my newest obsession. And the greatest flavor of nuun that has yet to be created.


Good thing I’m pretty well stocked at the moment.


3.) Long runs that are “only” 10 miles. Tomorrow morning I’ll be doing my last long run of this training cycle. It’s a strange, but wonderful thing to think I’ll be running for less than an hour and a half. And then it’s all about resting until race day.

4.) Real time race tracking

I'm tweeting Marine Corps Marathon times for LAUREN BUCKEL in real time on race day. Courtesy of Nissan

Actually, I’m not really sure I love this yet. Knowing that your times will be automatically tweeted whether you’re running well or not adds a little element of pressure, I think. But I know I like stalking tracking other people’s times on race day to see how they’re doing. So now you can stalk me too.


5.) Sparkly Soul Headbands. I somehow won Dorothy’s giveaway for one of these headbands and I’m excited to sport one during MCM next week.


A perfect accessory for my #teamwatermelon race wear…and for keeping back hair that still doesn’t quite fit into a ponytail on its own.



6.) The end of Marine Corps Marathon Training. There comes a point in every training cycle when I just get tired of the act of training. And during today’s short uneventful run, I realized – I’m at that point. I wasn’t running fast or going far, but yet I felt tired…just from simply being out there. I’m tired of having MCM in the back of every single one of my thoughts and as the end goal for every single one of my workouts. And I’m tired of this taper – of making sure I get enough rest to be ready on race day. I need this week to speed up and get me to the starting line already!

While at the same time, I’m hoping it drags out forever…

34 Responses to What I’m Loving Now: MCM Taper Edition

  1. I’m SICK during my taper! Not much to love there! Any thoughts??? I know I have 2 weeks to let it leave, but I pushed my 12 mile run to tomorrow, and I’m nervous about having the energy to complete it.
    kristin miller´s last post ..Fall Cold

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry you’re sick. That has happened to me in the past. It’s like my body takes my cutting back the miles as its cue to just stop fighting anything that was in its system. Such awful timing, but hopefully you’ll feel better by race day.

      Anyway, I would take it easy and try not push it too much. Just keep reminding yourself – that 12 mile run isn’t going to make or break your training! At this point, getting healthy is the most important thing. If you have to push the run back another day because you’re feeling awful, it probably wouldn’t hurt. Get well soon!

  2. I am SO ready to run MCM and have it done with. I know this is horrible to say because it’s my first 26.2, but the taper is making me anxious. I am sneaking in miles here and there (terrible) and running faster miles (awesome .. yet not the time for it). Next Sunday can’t come soon enough!
    Melissa´s last post ..Last long run

    • Not horrible – it’s normal! Taper always makes me anxious, no matter how many marathons I’ve done. Just don’t sneak in extra miles! I know it’s tempting (especially as the stress level goes up) but speaking from someone who has been there and done just that, rest is always better in the end. :)

  3. I’m excited to stalk you marathon and, no matter what you do, I’m going to think its awesome. Anyone who has run a marathon or knows anything about it knows that something can go wrong or go better than expected (hoping the latter for you). You’re such a smart, disciplined, and accomplished runner, I don’t think anyone will be judging how you’re donig! (Or, at least, they shouldn’t).

    I got a similar band to sparkly soul — the BIC band. I’m excited to wear it for NYC!

    I need to branch out from Tropical Nuun….
    Meggie´s last post ..My Body Hates Me

  4. You lucky sparkly dog! Dang! I wanted to win that giveaway! lol

    Taper crazies… I had forgotten about those until this last race I ran… in full force. You seem to have such a solid handle on it all :)

    I am eager to track you on race day :)
    XLMIC´s last post ..Garmin Grief

  5. I know, taper never get easier no matter how many marathons you do! I also love that last “long” run of 10 miles, feels like nothing.
    Hang in there this week and enjoy all those good carbs!

  6. I can’t find banana nuun anywhere – waaahhhh! I’m excited for your race next weekend and the live tweeting – much easier to stalk that way :) I also think you’ll do great. It’s so fascinating to me how the taper drives all of us nuts, even though I was so wishing for it to get here a month or so ago. I also want one of those headbands – so cute! Happy carbing!
    Kelly´s last post ..Two Weeks

  7. you are going to do great! i love MCM (hands down my favorite marathon) and i’m so jealous of all you MCMers!

    i’ll be stalking 😉
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad´s last post ..Friday Favorites

  8. I love the sparkly bands…I am fully planning on sporting my blue one for MCM because I’m pretty sure they make you run faster (probably not a scientific fact, but whatever). Also, yesterday afternoon I was heading out to a baby shower, driving with a former coworker, and as we came around a corner, all of a sudden Iwo Jima/the finish line was right in front of me and I got a little choked up. All I could say was “finish line” without losing it. Driving past it yesterday has definitely amped up the anticipation and anxiety.
    Amanda @ Running On Waffles´s last post ..A Trip to the Hospital

  9. I am glad to know I am not the only one in taper crazies and that the first one is stressful because I am feeling that but sooo glad yours is not as bad. i am probably insane. i am carbing it up. we hosted a challah making class at our place today. aaron has made about 10 challahs this weekend. it is all we are eating lol ooppss?!? can’t wait for mcm! i know you are going to rock it!!!!
    Stephanie´s last post ..Eating While Running – It’s Like Cheating!!!

  10. Sounds like you have everything perfectly in control Lauren–now you just have to go rock the MCM. By the way, finally picked up some Nuun at REI last week. I tried it on my long run this weekend, and I LOVE it!
    Jessica Morrison´s last post ..Running Long on the Cape

  11. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to be ready to rock this marathon next week :). The banana berry nuun sounds amazing! I’m loving the strawberry lemonade right now, but I think both of those flavors will be in my next nuun stock up order :) Rest up this week, and best of luck next weekend even though you don’t need it!
    Nancy@triathletestrials´s last post ..The Barre Effect

  12. I think I’m going to have to try the banana berry combo…that sounds delicious.

    I once heard someone say that if you get to the taper and don’t feel the need to taper, then you didn’t train hard enough. It kind of makes sense…if you’ve been training hard, then you’ll probably be tired and the taper period will be a huge relief to give you time to recover your legs and get in gear for the first day. I don’t know if you’re feeling this or if it’s more of a mental, “I’m just DONE with marathon trainiing,” but either way it’s time to embrace the taper and gear up for the big day. Marine Corps is a really fun race, especially since it’s about the little people since they don’t bring in any elites. Finishing up Iwo Jima is a bit rough, but so worth it at the end! I might be biased since it was my first marathon, but I’m excited to hear all about it…and of course I’ll be tracking you!
    Susan´s last post ..knowing when to say when

  13. I’m sure you will rock the MCM! Can’t wait to see how you do!

    Regarding your “achy knees”…this will be my first marathon(Philly) so I’m still trying to figure a lot of this out but ever since my 18 miler last weekend my knees have been really achey towards the end of runs- not injury achey but sore/tired achey. It’s kind of freaking me out and I’m worried they will not hold up this last week of peak training. Is this normal? Any advise to give a newbie?? :) Thanks!!

    Love those headbands – I may need to get one!

    • I’m not sure if it’s normal for everyone but it does happen to me a lot. You’ve put a lot of miles on your legs! Are your shoes old? My shoes tend to break down by the end of a marathon training cycle, which then causes my knees to hurt. If you’ve been running in the same shoes that you started training in, I would recommend buying a fresh pair and start phasing them in over the next couple of weeks.

      I would also just try icing and resting. If they’re really bothering you when you’re running, try taking a couple of days to cross train instead. It can’t hurt, and may help them feel less achey on your long runs. The most important thing is that you make it through your 20 miler this weekend healthy! Hope they feel better soon!

      • Thanks Lauren! I drastically cut down my mileage this week so that my 20 miler will be a bit easier…I know that’s all that really counts at this point, just tough to skew off the training plan. Icing and foam rolling a lot this week too. Thanks for the advise and best of luck to you this weekend!!

        ** I also noticed I spelled achy wrong 3 times….yikes! I swear I’m not that bad of a speller!! :)

        • No judgement here! Looks like I spelled it wrong in my last comment too (oops!)

          I know it’s tough to not be able to follow your training plan but hopefully the extra rest will only help you in the end. Good luck on your 20!

  14. Sparkly headbands, WHAT?! I need some of those. I, too, sport hair that is just a shade too short to go into a ponytail all by itself, but I just use boring old black hairbands.

    I am such a fan of carbs, so I am a natural at carb-loading on the week before a race. However, I have never quite managed to convince myself to follow the “no alcohol” rule, expect for the night before…
    Lauren´s last post ..Why I run

  15. I’m so happy you decided to do the live tweeting! I’d feel a little uneasy too, but I’m selfishly glad I can spy on you. :) It sounds like you’re doing a great job handling the taper crazies. So excited for you, Lauren!
    Jen´s last post ..Charlotte baby shower

  16. Good luck this weekend!! So exciting! Wildflour to celebrate?!? :)
    Erin @ Big Girl Feats´s last post ..Changing Course.

  17. I can’t wait to stalk you on twitter this weekend :) You are going to be fabulous! Even if it wasn’t your strongest training cycle I wouldn’t be surprised if you surprised yourself!! You are all set. Also I love those Sparkly Soul headbands! I have a blue one and I think I may get a pink one too!
    Celia´s last post ..homecoming, last 10 miles, and favorite things

  18. I’ve definitely had that “I’m SO done” feeling with marathon training. The good news is – less than a week left! Wheeee. I’m going to email my friend your blog, so she can know who to look out for on race day (she’s spectating MCM). Is that creepy? Ehhh, I hope not 😉

    • Meh – that’s sort of what blogging is all about, right? Thanks for sending my blog to your friend! I’ll probably be wearing a pink top with my name on it.

  19. Good luck with your taper! I will be spectating (and possibly running with a friend…) at the Marine Corps Marathon. Maybe I’ll see you?
    Also, can I just say that carbs are my favorite part of the week leading up to a race? I ate so much toast in the week before my last race. I like to think that the starch is converting my stress into energy. It’s totally a real thing.

  20. Have a GREAT GREAT race this weekend!!!

    Totally know that feeling of #6. I actually had that feeling all summer which is why I knew I had to pull out of my fall marathon… it came way too early. Yours came at just the perfect time :)

    Kill it this weekend!
    Aron´s last post ..The Solo Jogger

  21. I know you are going to do so great tomorrow, I’m just so sad I won’t be there to see you cross that finish line like last time. We run better in cold weather, remember that and go out there and kill this marathon!!!! I’m so proud of you!
    Lizzy´s last post ..Butternut Squash Lasagna

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    sumatra surf camp´s last post ..sumatra surf camp

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