This weekend was my last training run before I begin in full taper mode. Not sure how you actually taper to run 50 miles in two weeks.
Do I run less, but then how much?
Don't do anything new in my training? Definitely so!!!
But I came back to "The beginning" on Saturday. The Chicago Lakefront 50k, the place that put the notion of distance running in my head. This stuff isn't to bad, I said to myself that day while I limped to the car. I ran this race two years ago, two weeks after the Chicago Marathon. It was a rough day running that 50k that day, the first 20 was good, 21 through 25 started to hurt, the last mile was extremely painful. But with all that, it struck a fire in me believing I could run further than that.
Fast forward two years and the fire in my heart and the belief in my head will be put to the test on a "Tough" UltraMarathon. But I guess I would not have settled for anything less.
That is what I thought about on the last half on my Chicago Lakefront 50k this weekend.
It was supposed to be a cold and rainy day. As I arrived, we where still in luck and the rain had not started. Around 8:25 everybody had milled around the starting line with some teeth and legs quivering, including mine. Two minutes to the start, rain starts, okay this would not be to bad if it was a shorter race, but 5 hours of this stuff would really not be fun.
So the race director says, repeat after me:
"there no other place I would rather, then be with you here today."
A minute after that we all started. I had a plan this day, this was purely a training day, zone 2 all the way no matter what that pace that would bring me. The first 10.2 lap went to plan, but some reason it did seem to take forever. People where passing me, quite discouraging I must say, but I had to stick with my game plan no matter what.
Mantra of the day "eye on the prize." I want to hold that UltraMarathon Finishers Buckle in my hand in two weeks.
The second loop went according to plan as well. Felt pretty good running up to 20 miles so far, what no feeling of "HITTING THE WALL," Wow, I must be actually getting better at this stuff.
So along came mile 26.2, hey I just ran a marathon with NO signs of the "WALL." in sight.. Way cool.
Okay, so what the hell, the last turnaround, approximately 5 miles left, I going to negative split the last half lap and go past at least 5 people if I could. That was the goal now, finally the turnaround came, no more thinking of heart rate and just run.
Okay there is 1, then there was 2, bonus 3&4 together. OH, 4, dang it, he just went straight on the route instead of turning, he is just training.
Maybe I could PR, well crap, maybe not. Just get under 5 hours I would be happy. Okay my GPS watch says 31 miles now, why did I till have 3/4Th's a mile left.. Okay maybe the trip to the bathroom added a few tick on the GPS..
So "NO" PR on the course, a 5:01:24 finishing time (9:28 avg pace/31.84 miles) on a semi-cold day with on and off rain showers. At least I'm sure I passed at least 5 people. Was I sore afterwards, "Hell Yeah", did it feel as bad as other races, definitely not. It was more of a road 50k with the route mostly on the running path, not to technical at the least, with a couple of mounds (Chicago Hills) to break up the route.
But 31 miles knowing I still have something left in the tank was what I wanted to accomplish this day. . So no more 20+ runs until the "Big Show". 14 out of 16 week training plan is now complete, not sure if I would ever get here, but just starting was actually the hardest part.
So shorter trail runs for the next two week. Relax and figure out the course so I do not get lost in the woods. "Game ON" I must say.
Now to find something cool to wear for the race..