The Last Training Day

August 17, 2014.

Tomorrow the taper starts. This is the last big training day. The schedule is quite modest: 15 mile run. Before I even begin, I am bothered by this. It seems…anticlimactic.

The weather is perfect: cool, overcast, light breeze. Aside from the humidity, I could not ask for a better running day. I had my mega workout 3 days ago 115 mile bike/23.3 mile run). I should just stick with the plan, not risk injury and coast into the taper.

But that is not my style.

I have nothing else on the agenda for the day. The yard work and errands are done. There is just me and the pavement. I would be running laps around my neighborhood. One lap is just under 3 miles. The plan is 5 laps. I figured I would start with that. The nice thing about this set up, is that I can extend the run or bail at any time. I would just play it by feel…although, deep down, I knew what I wanted to do.

The first lap was fine. I settled into my zone. Pace was slower then usual. That was fine. Nobody was out. No distractions. Just me, my tunes, and the road. One lap down.

The next few hours reminded me why I love to run. I was at peace. My mind was quiet. There were no distractions. It is oddly relaxing…almost hypnotic. 4 more laps down. I felt good. Heart rate in the 120’s, slow easy breathing, nothing hurt. Might as well keep going.

Lap 6 and 7 down. Above 20 miles now. The minimum for my “long run”. Still feeling good. 24 has been my standard long run lately. Might as well keep going.

Lap 8 complete. Still feeling good. Another lap puts me over the marathon distance. Always nice to complete one run of that distance if possible before the big day….

Lap 9/27 miles. Now, my not so secret agenda bubbles to the surface. Complete my first ultra distance run. I want to run a 50k (31.1 miles). I am getting tired now. The legs are sore. But I am too close to stop. Doing an ultra is next on my bucket list. Would be nice to have completed one in training. One more accomplishment during this training cycle. I was going for it.

The final lap hurt. A light rain started to fall (had to stash my iPod). Kept moving forward, albeit rather slowly. I finish lap 10, but was still a mile short. Another half mile out and back. Was running up the driveway as the Garmin clicked to 31.1 miles (50k).

That was it. The high note that I was looking for. Ironman peak training was behind me. Three weeks of tapering, rest and good nutrition await. But, this last success gives me the confidence I need heading into Ironman Wisconsin…

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