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.