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Building During the Taper.

8 November 2016

I voted. It was a new experience for me, because it was my first time voting in ECC. I had to figure out an electronic voting machine. I don’t like them. Much prefer the old punch-card ballots. But I voted, and I voted hard. As I wrote before, the GOP has lost me forever, and I voted against every GOP candidate, and took positions on each ballot measure that I could in opposition to what I believe the GOP position to be. Now we wait. There were long lines at my polling place, and at others I passed on my way to work. But with no frame of reference to previous elections, I don’t know if turnout was big or small.

Yesterday I had arguably the best training run of my season. It was 55 degrees, a little breezy, and sunny. I went out with a bottle of water and a power bar. And I ran 10 miles in 1:27:32. If you don’t feel like doing the math, that’s an 8:45 pace. My fastest mile was my last: 8:22. Slowest was the first, at 9:01. But I had about a 10 second pause in that one for a traffic stop.

This is only the second time in my life I’ve run this far this fast. The first was my 10 mile race, at the Cherry Blossom festival in DC in April. When I was the fittest I’ve ever been. I ran that one in 1:25:23. So this was about two minutes slower, which is a lot if you’re a professional, and not much if you’re me. I’m really proud of this run, and in general of my decision and commitment to do the 10-mile tempo run as part of my training this year. This was my 5th of the cycle. And my fastest.

Even though I’m in the taper now, with less than two weeks until the race, that’s no reason to slack. Tapering doesn’t mean sitting on your ass. The reduction in mileage (especially the long run) helps make sure your legs are fresh on race day. But with a three week taper, like I’m doing, you can easily lose fitness if you just take “taper” to mean “rest”. At least, I will. So to maintain, even though I’m doing less mileage, I need to do some hard work.

That means harder gym days, faster short runs, and for me, this time, the ten-mile tempo run. Running fast (fast for me, anyway) for 10 straight miles is an exercise in pain (pun not intended but foreseen – couldn’t think of another word). Any pace that starts with an “8” is fast for me. My quads burn, my heart rate – even at 55 degrees – ticks into the 170s. My hamstrings scream and my glutes revolt. My lower back engages, my feet pound the pavement. Everything hurts.

But going out and throwing down everything I’ve got on a training run? Finishing 10 miles in under 90 minutes? That is worth the pain. That’s how I train to finish 26.2. That’s how I stay fit for the things I want to do in life. That’s how I stave off diabetes. That’s how I maintain my health and drive for my partner. That’s how I accomplish my goals. Pain, failure, rage. And then trying again. Until I hit the mark I didn’t even know I was shooting for.

Turn the corner. Sometimes the finish line is right there.

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