Sunday, November 2, 2014

Taper and Abundance

Weekend blog entry—All Souls Day, 2014.

I could write about the 24 miles I ran yesterday and the 7:48 pace overall.  There are a few things worth mentioning but I do not want to spend a lot of time on that.  I’d prefer to spend my time talking about the start of the taper.  The taper can be a challenge for some runners as they switch from high levels of activity to lower levels while waiting for the race.  In today's entrym I will explore why I do not think I will have any problem with a lack of things to keep me occupied while I am in the taper stage.  

But let me write a few observations from the 24 mile run first.  Running at that pace put my total time at 3:07:03.  If I continued for 26.2 and allowed for the fact that my Garmin invariably say 26.3 or more at the end, it would have been on pace for a sub-3:30 marathon.  It was not intended to be at race speed.  It was, according to plan, supposed to take the same amount of time as the amount of time in the race I will run.  It did that—almost.  I’ve been thinking 3:10.  We’ll see how I perform on race day.

It has been an amazing training season.  Yesterday was my fifth run of 20 miles or more.  That is the total number of 20+ mile runs I did for my first three marathons combined.  Moreover, I ran 20 at 7:30 pace, a more difficult 20 after the weather had gotten cooler but then warmer again, a great 20 with a partner, a great 22, and then yesterday’s 24.  The 24 was nice—7:48 pace.  Just three seconds behind my planned pace.  A comfortable start.  An unplanned rest stop at 8.3 miles.  Started up again just fine.  Ran 5 laps around Lake Montebello.  That was mentally challenging.  Then climbed up Greenmount and York to get home.  The last few miles were slow.  I had a good overall pace because of the pace I ran around the Lake.  I stated focused to try to meet my ambition as I’d mentioned in a social media post on Friday after I left work.  

Lessons learned.  One—while I had some workouts go better than planned, not every workout goes as planned.  Accept it and move on.  Two—since I don’t care for the fruity gels from one company what ever made me think I’d like the fruity gels from another?  I don’t know but while I have a few fruity gels remaining I don’t use them before the marathon in Philadelphia.  Three—for a workout of 3 hours or more I probably should carb load. 

Good lessons to learn and happy to move ahead. 

So, today was the beginning of my taper.  #WhatMakesYouSoar: My answer today is an easy seven miles run a running partner to chat with and not worry about the pace.   The plan gave no particular time—run them as slow as 9:00/mile or even more slowly.  My running partner and I decided to meet in part so that each of us would be accountable and get our miles in.  I don’t usually need to have someone else to guarantee I’ll get a run in, but after running 72 miles in seven days accountability helped.  We ended up running an 8:07 pace.  It was comfortable.  It was simple.  It was not pushed.  That was despite the wind blowing pretty hard.  And it all felt right.

So what else have I learned?  My body has been trained to be incredibly resilient.  How long will it last?  I can’t say.  What I can say, however, is that I have really enjoyed this training season.  It has pushed me to limits that I didn’t know I could push through—miles per week, miles in a year, times that I have only dreamed of.  Now there is just the goal of the Philadelphia marathon during which I hope to have a friend by my side most, if not all, of the way. 

We will see how I do.  There are 59 days left in the year, and I am at 1895.4 miles.  The only question is whether I will run the last 105 before marathon day or whether I will hit the 2000 mile mark during the Philadelphia marathon. 

I may never have another race during which I shoot for a 3:10.  I may never run another 72 mile week.  I may never run another 24 mile workout.  I may never follow such a workout with a seven mile run that I do easily on the day after a 24 mile workout.

Recently I have been asking myself, what comes next?  I’ve been thinking just some easy runs for a while, then I’ll come up with an answer after that.  But that will be hard.  I haven’t run like this since I was 17.  I do not want to waste what I have achieved.  But there are so many other things in life. 

And that is what I have to sort out. 

I know I’ve got the support of family, lots of friends who like to run and run with me, and lots of life ahead of me.  I have an abundance of choices. 

How to sort out a life of abundance is a lucky “problem” to have.  Taking the idea of a life of abundance into my taper will mean that, as I pointed out at the start of this entry, I am not going to be at a loss for things to keep me occupied during the taper.

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