Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tip Toe-ing along the Taper Trail

Race Day is 3 days away.  Gulp.  I'm not ready.  I mean I am ready to run - I just don't believe I am ready to run my best.  I peaked perfectly for the North Fork 50K early this Summer - having a great training cycle leading up to it, being as fit as I ever have been.  I had been smart with eating, training, recovering between runs and I went in to the race quite confident of getting a good finishing time.  It worked out well and I ran a 5 hr 21 min race - a bonus was finishing 5th overall - completely unexpected but thrilled to grab.

That race was not my goal race of the year though - this one on Saturday is.....or was....or still is....but I just can't see myself pulling off a similar time as I did in June's race.  I'm not sandbagging - I don't even know what that means as I am a middle of the pack runner who happened to finish 5th in June - but that's because a bunch of fast runners were not in the race - plus I finished well over an hour behind the race winner.

My realistic goal is try beat 5:30.  If I do that then it will because the course will be kinder than it looks, the weather will be good and I will run a smart race.  That all may be possible - but when you add in the key ingredient that I have not trained as well for it as I did for North Fork - then I can't see myself doing as well.

I hate "The Taper".  My mind is soft and it often leads to thoughts like those expressed above.  Whether they are true or not, whether it is because instead of running 10+ hours a week during the real training period - that shrinks to just a few miles in this past week - and I begin to feel lazy, tired, heavier and quite honestly - completely full of self doubt for the upcoming race.

So - this taper trail I have been on the past 10 days or so - despite the mind games - has been one in which I have tried to stay out of a funk - and get some good runs in.  I did, for the most part.  Sure the runs were not as good as they could have been, certainly when comparing to the 2 weeks leading up to North Fork.  But they have served their purpose and now I am as ready as I can be.

I fly out tomorrow to Nashville - will run 4 miles or so when I get to my sisters house.  Drive to Chattanooga on Friday and run the race on Saturday.  I'll see how the race plays out, suffer a bit, try my best and really be grateful that I can and will be able to run.

A couple of Sundays ago I was in the midst of a 3 1/2 mile training run that was a ridiculously hard run - on a winding, dirt road that apparently was once named in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the windiest road in the world - that being the road up Cheyenne Mountain from the Zoo to the Summit.  I got a ride to The Will Rogers Shrine 1.4 miles past the Zoo.  I then ran the next 3 1/2 miles and 1700'+ up to The Broadmoor's Cloud Camp (excuse the shameless plug).  During the run with each step as my legs were crying out, as my eyes were drawn towards awesome views below - I had the thought that I really should be more grateful that I can run.  That I enjoy running.  That I am healthy.  That I choose to run mostly on trails and get distracted by squirrels, butterflies, flowers and some of the prettiest scenery around.  I'm grateful that I have people that care about me, that love me.  They could care less if it took me 5 1/2 hours to run a race or 15 1/2 hours.  They would still say I did great - and mean it sincerely.

Life is fickle, running is fickle some days more fickle than others.  I have no idea how Saturdays race will go.  I'll finish most likely - I may or may not do well (according to my goal of 5 1/2 hours) - afterwards I will eat to much, gain some weight I'm sure and run a whole lot less than I have been doing in the past 6 or more months.   A few days after the race I'll start running again and look for some runs to do strictly for fun - with no training purpose in mind.  And I will be more grateful for where I live, where I can run, that I am loved, that I enjoy the hurt of the run, the joy of the run, and the happy place it puts my mind into. 

And I will not taper.  That messes with my mind too much.

Sunrise from Cloud Camp - yeah I was spoiled and got to spend the night there.

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