There is nothing quite like wrapping up your last major long run before a big race. There is a sense of validation that washes over you as you stumble up the three flights of stairs, completely in need of a big glass of water. A post-workout stretch and a nice, big smoothie packed with strawberries, yogurt, and chia seeds confirm that it was a good training session . . . and that we are good to go for race day.
Deep down, there is always some doubt about being ready for a big race. Did we train enough? What about all those skipped workouts back in weeks 4 and 6? Why didn't we suck it up those nights we were too tired to run? None of these things bother me after last night's run. We finished our 12 miles and have just under two weeks to get some easier runs in and get our legs back and ready to go. We know we can go the distance; we know we could have finished 13.1 last night. We know we won't just complete the race, but we'll also push ourselves to do our best. It is an exciting feeling.
This training block of ten weeks was not even close to being as consistent as I believe both Ellie and I would have liked. By my count, we missed 8 workouts total, and many others were shifted around by a day or two. If this were our first rodeo, I'm fairly certain we would be completely freaking out about not being prepared. Instead, it is the complete opposite. We are feeling pretty confident, and really I think we both feel much stronger than this past October when we ran the B.A.A. Half Marathon.
It is a bit surprising how much of a difference 7 months of consistent training can make you feel, physically and mentally. Realizing that your pace on long runs really doesn't matter that much is such a valuable piece of information. Knowing that speed gains are made all week long, through interval and tempo runs, really alleviates so much pressure on long weekend training days. I know that not every workout will feel good or leave me with a great feeling. In fact, I'd say the majority of training doesn't go as planned. Being flexible and understanding that persistence is what really pays off is huge.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I am excited for this race; I think it is going to be a good one.