I'm choking down my daily banana as I write. I am not a huge fan of the banana (although I do love banana nut bread and muffins and such), but knowing how good they are for me and how my grandmother ate one a day and lived to be 98, I force-feed myself one every day around 10:00 a.m. They aren't that bad as long as they are not too green or too ripe. Finding that middle ground, however, can be tricky. Today's was perfect so not as bad as some. I've been known to make a few faces while eating them and to heave big sighs between bites.
Here is how I see it. When I am asking my body to do things like run marathons, run 60 miles a week or run a 50 mile trail race, I've GOT to take care of it. Like owning a car, only more important, you get out of it what you put into it. Even if you take away all the running and such, I just plain enjoy feeling good. Getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising - it all helps me stay that way.
As for my training, I am down to taper time. I am enjoying this as I thought I would, but I'm still having a hard time holding back. As a result of all the consistent training, the increase of miles, and the fact that I am a little lighter on my feet, I have noticed a change in my pace. When I set out to run a shorter distance (3-7 miles), I've noticed I have quite a bit more push than I've had in the past. I start around an 8:30 pace and end around a 7:30 pace. And it feels FINE! Last night I ran the No Boundaries course to mark it before the runners arrived and each mile was right under 8 minute pace. All week, my runs have been faster than normal and what's more, when I stop running I find that I am not used up.
All of this excites me and gives me the confidence I need for the upcoming challenge. It is a sign that my training has made me stronger and that is exactly what I needed it to do. I've also begun looking passed the 50 miler with visions of a marathon PR dancing around in my head.
So this week I'm aiming for around 40 miles, or just under it, and next week even less. I'm trying to give my body the nutrients it needs to go the distance. I'm trying to keep things stretched out and to let any current aggravations heal. I'm trying to get plenty of sleep, keep my mind and spirit at peace, and think positive, mile-conquering thoughts. As I instructed my No Boundaries runners, each time I look in the mirror, I tell the girl I see there that she has trained well and she is ready for the upcoming race.
I'm figuring out what I want in my aid station bags, the headlamp situation, what I will wear, and any other race logistics that need addressing. I've read the Gore-Tex 50 Mile Participant Guide cover to cover multiple times so that I won't forget anything important.
Now all that is left is to rest and then run.