My taper has begun. I successfully ran 10.16 miles on Tuesday! I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll look back at this column, and laugh that I think 10 miles is a big deal, but I have to tell you – it really was. To be honest, I actually couldn’t sleep on Monday night, I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to succeed. Even the little sleeping that I was able to do was full of dreams of falling off treadmills, breaking my leg, not being able to find the finish line at the race. I was actually kind of surprised at what a barrier it seemed to be.
In my rational thoughts, I thought I felt fairly confident – it was only .75 miles longer than I had done the previous week, and that previous run was almost a spiritual experience it was so positive. I knew that I had given my body adequate rest, in fact I’ve been treating myself with kid gloves in an effort to stay healthy, and injury free. But somehow I just didn’t feel really confident about it.
The goon wasn’t blasting me like normal, although I did consciously decide to run even though I had gotten no sleep because I figure I won’t sleep before the race either, so it was good practice. But he was being extra conniving… I was just hearing whispers of concerns, no real actual threats of failure, but quiet questioning. The thing that kept cropping up in my head was that I had rarely done 10 miles of running in a week. In fact, in the last year, only 16 weeks were over 10 miles, and 9 of those were barely 10. There were 5 during this training cycle. I’ve only hit 14 miles twice, and I’ve never reached 16. So doing 10 miles in a day was a bigger mental hurdle than I had anticipated.
This is where I would like to thank Dave Matthews Band for Live at the Red Rocks. This disc is about 2 ½ hours long (funny, so was my run), and has a patient, but underlying driving movement to it. It’s absolutely perfect for a long run. There are four separate chill moments, and one of them lasts almost 5 minutes. Every song is between 5 and 15 minutes, and they all make you feel good.
The run itself was not the spiritual cloud-9 experience that I had encountered with my 9 miler, but it was not nearly as bad as I expected. I hit double digits baby! You should have seen my grin. Random people were returning my smile as they walked by and I was finishing up. It was an accomplishment on it’s own.
I’m so glad that I made the decision to attempt a ½ marathon. I feel like my feelings on running have been changed forever. I will never be fast, but for the first time I feel like it’s a natural movement (at least for the first hour). I feel like I have strong legs, a strong core, that my arms are relaxed. It’s just absolutely not how I felt when I was “only” running 3 – 4 miles at a time. I never felt like I had my wind, never felt the “high”, and certainly never experienced such comfortable and easy running. Maybe distance will be my thing? Who knows. I only know that I’m grateful for the gifts that have come with this training. Who knew it could feel so good??!
And so now the countdown continues. As of right now we are 008:22:41:38 from race start. That’s single digits away from the most challenging thing I have ever asked my body to do. I am prepared, I will be well rested, I have the courage to start it, and the desire to finish. I hope that I can celebrate the success as much as I have enjoyed the training.
It is in the translation between intent and action where excellence resides. – Kristin Armstrong