I decided to train for and run AR50 because I wanted a new challenge. I wanted to set new goals, push new limits and see what I had in me.
Of course when I made my training plan, I didn’t just set out to do the bare minimum. I created a challenging, aggressive plan that was for sure going to test my limits. It was scary to look at on paper, and I did have my doubts, but I was excited to see what I was made of.
Week after week I met and succeeded those limits and week after week I pushed them a little bit more. I kept waiting for that “breaking point” to happen where I just couldn’t do anymore, but every week my body and mind adapted and got stronger, so I continued to push a little harder.
This weekend I had plans for my biggest back to back runs yet, and then I would taper! I was nervous, but confident, but also exhausted from the last few months of running. I had visions of my first 100 mile week dancing through my mind, but also kept my head on straight and made sure I was listening to my body and not being blinded my numbers.
Saturday’s 32 miler was tough. Definitely the toughest run this training cycle. It not only was long, but it was super challenging with the hills, water and mud. It tested my strength, willpower, and patience and left me exhausted. I did my best to refuel, I slept in and I got ready to go out for my second long run… one last run between me and taper.
Usually I wake up after my first long run and feel pretty good. I have been consistently surprised at how fast my body recovers and bounces back, but this morning I woke up sore and stiff. I knew it was going to be a tough run and I promised myself I would listen to what my body was telling me.
I started running and my legs actually felt better when running. I thought maybe I would be ok and make it through the whole 20+ mile run, but within a couple miles I just knew it was not going to be a 20+ mile day.
I had these constant mental battles going on inside my head.
Running 50 miles is going to be harder than this, suck it up and keep running!
You have been running so much and so hard and are so ready for your race. Listen to your body and give it a break or you might be sorry.
I ran to a park and sat on a bench at mile 4 and just wanted to stay there. I could feel myself fighting off tears, so I got up and decided to do a loop back home and see how I felt once I got there. The longer I ran, the more tired I got and I knew I just needed to call it a day.
I walked in the house 11 miles later, sat on the floor and let it all out. I cried for the first time this training cycle. Cried from exhaustion, cried from relief, cried just to cry. I listened to Chris telling me all the things I already know, but are still nice to hear coming from someone else’s mouth.
Then I got up. I took a shower and washed my hair. I put real clothes on. I went and had a giant brunch with Chris. I went and bought my race day shoes. Now I am sitting here relaxing and reflecting and looking ahead.
This entire training cycle I was trying to find this breaking point and although I would rather not have it on my last big training weekend, I now know I am very ready for taper. I know I am ready for my race and I know I gave my training every ounce I had. I know I have done so much and I won’t let this last run put any doubt in my mind about everything that I have done.
It’s officially taper time and I am ready! 20 days to go…