Sunday, October 14, 2012

Taper Time

On Monday I ran an easy 5.5 in New London, NH before beginning the long, slow journey back to Maryland. 

The next morning I ran an easy 12 in the Walter Reed Annex Trails. The crisp fall air, falling leaves and soft, but not muddy, trails made for a great run.

I ran 9 on Wednesday morning and made the call to opt out of the workout this week. I wanted to get in a hard effort over the weekend, but also wanted to go into it feeling a little fresh.

I doubled on Thursday (9 and 5) and ran an easy 7 on Friday.

After watching the team race a low-key xc meet on Saturday, Sam, Beth and I hit Bull Run National Battlefield. It was a great day to run the fields and trails in Manassas. I left Sam and Beth shortly before an hour into the run to continue my jaunt through the park. It was one of those days where I felt as if I could have run forever: beautiful weather, great terrain and fine views. After passing a number of horses, I spied a RED FOX about 200 yards ahead of me on the trail. I doubled down and soon was right on top of him/her. S/he was old, was ragged and had a thin, wispy rat-like tail. I don't think s//he ever saw me, but I let it wander away peacefully into the forest. Shortly thereafter, I happened upon a field and, for no particular reason, I decided to go "off road" and soon found myself at the grave of a Revolutionary War veteran (strange, since Bull Run is a Civil War battlefield). I continued across the field and after adjusting my internal compass I realized that I might, just might, see that darned old fox again. I squinted into the golden fields ahead and spied my adversary. I crept close, keeping a tree between me and the fox so that s/he couldn't see me, and got within 30 feet of the beautiful beast. The fox munched on something in the grass; a crab apple, a field mouse...I'll never know. S/he was old and couldn't quite make out the fact I was a human (read potential threat). I threw my hands up in the air and the fox took off. So did I. I ran down a long grassy road then had to double back because it was a dead end. I meandered my way back towards the trail and spied that ol' fox face protruding from the grass one last time. This time, s/he was with its mate. Two fox faces! I started towards them, but realized I had harassed this canid enough. I jogged back to the car and got in 13.

On Sunday morning I met Sam Luff down near the Lincoln Memorial volleyball courts. We jogged part of the Army Ten Miler course, then changed shoes (flats) and bee-bopped our way down to Hains Point. After a 5-mile warm-up we crept up to the bridge separating West Potomac Park from East Potomac Park. Cars and cyclists alike whipped past, but we both agreed this would be the best place to run a hard 3-mile tempo. Just before starting, I noted how Beach Drive would have also been good, but there was no point in bringing that up as we were about to get under way. The goal, or at least my goal was to run 3 miles in 15:00. Sam, who will be flirting with 5:00 miles next week at Army, wanted to try running pace. I, on the other hand, just wanted to run a hard effort. We beeped our watches and zipped forward towards the end of the point. We quickly realized how awful the wind was, but neither of us said much about it. There was no point. Instead, we leaned into the breeze waiting for the tip of Hains Point to come into view so that we could benefit from the wind on the backside. Mile one was 4:59 and mile two was 5:01. Sam struggled some and pulled up soon after that and I raced for an imaginary finish line somewhere ahead of me. I split 4:57 for the final mile and logged 14:59 for the workout. It was a nice confidence booster heading into Army. We ran a cool down of 4 miles and called it a day.

This week marks my 10th of which I've averaged 70 miles per week. I'm fit, ready, but not super fast, for Army Ten Miler next Sunday. On paper, ten miles is my best distance and I have an *outside* chance of setting a personal best (50:56) at the distance.That would obviously be outstanding and give me pause. I could also run over a minute slower than my personal best. It's hard to say.

Next week starts the taper. I'll take at least two days off and run 2-2.5 miles at ten-mile pace on Wednesday morning. Aside from that, it's in God's hands. And my legs.

1 comment:

Andy said...

You'll never know...