I have made it to the taper!
First, a recap of my last two workouts. Thursday night I ran 1km, 2km, 2km, 1km. The first km was slow and I was off pace. To remedy this situation I ran hard on the next 3 intervals. The first km of the second 2 km felt awesome. I was able to move along at pace without feeling the need to drive hard, I was even able to take a gaze at Beaver Lake as a light steam came over the water and a few ducks bobbed along. The last km of the second 2km didn't quite feel as good but I was able to dig deep and think light and easy. I ran below pace times for both my 2km. The last interval of any workout is always the easiest. By the time the last one comes around it is all about going hard and holding on for dear life. My last km was well below pace time and may have been one of my fastest splits ever. It did not feel light and easy, it was a grind, but it was fast!
Today was a track day. After cycling with my friend Sony up to the track we started our warm up. I felt good in the warm up and thought that I wasn't too sore or tired after the hard effort on Thursday. John (my coach) has a pre Sun Run surprise workout for us. After the warm up 400 I knew this was going to be a tough day on the track. After the 400 we had a mile. I was to run 4:35, 68's for quarters. I ran the pace time but it was an effort and did not feel light and easy. Following the mile we had a quick 400 recovery followed by a 400 hard. I ran 58 0r 59 and felt like dirt. My feet were stuck to the track, heart in my throat and breathing through a wheezy straw. We had a 200 recovery and then a 200 all out. Again, I felt like dirt but finished. We had full recovery before running a 1200. When John announced the 1200 a collective groan went through the training group. These are the times when it is so wonderful to train with a group. We all felt the exact same at the beginning of that interval, tired, full of dread, nervous for the pain, afraid to fail and miss the pace time. The 1200 didn't disapoint. It was one of those intervals when 200 in I know it is going to be a battle with myself. The last km I felt like stepping to the side of the track, crawling into a ball and crying, but I didn't and made my pace times. After the 1200 we had 200 recovery with 200 all out. At this point I just wanted to be done. I was happy with the 200 and it was great to have my club mate Mike to chase on the home straight. We had 400 recovery and a final 400. The last 400 was to be hard, then John yells and you go harder. I ran 60 flat which was pretty good for how I felt throughout the duration of the workout. After the workout Sony and I took a dip in English Bay as a recovery ice session, quite nice! And a very attractive older gentleman came by as well!
So now it is taper time!!!! Taper time is really hard. It is during the long hard hours of training, when the brain says go and the body says no, that I really look forward to this time. But this is also the time that I question my training, question if maybe going out for a light run will help my stride, perseverate on food and worry that I am getting fat because I am not training as much. On the good side my energy level gets back to baseline and I think about meeting friends and going out and seeing people, although the week before a race it is not an option. Taper means nerves, excess energy and starting to feel human again. This is the time when I have to be mindful, shut off my brain and enjoy the fruit of my labour. This is when I get to rest, recover and stop to see the view.
"The hay is in the barn"