I’ve reached the point of the taper where my legs are feeling restless and my brain is filled with strangely vivid dreams of being fast, smooth and powerful. I’m still going to be running the race at a snail’s pace, but there’s something to be said for subconscious empowerment.
On Tuesday night, our coach confiscated our timing devices. After our warm-up mile, we started to play a game: write down our estimated race pace per mile, and then run timed miles without any pacing devices other than our natural inner pace clock. If we hit within 30 seconds of the time we had written down, we would win a box of Clif bars.
I honestly didn’t know what to write down. Obviously I could go all out and plow through a single mile at a decent clip, but this was supposed to be our overall race pace. Without outside timing, could I rein in my pace? I wrote down 11:15 and hoped for the best because I know that I have no sense of internal pace calibration. At the end of my mile, I was surprised to hear that I finished at 10:45 — just inside the :30 window.
When we got to Saturday’s long run at the reservoir, I decided that all bets were off for pace and goals. I was out there for the sole purpose of shaking the restlessness out of my legs. I left the Garmin at home. Pace goals meant nothing. I didn’t hesitate to stop and hold the latchless door of the restroom shut for a teammate; I was in no hurry. I greeted other runners, petted dogs, and marveled at the geese, water birds and deer that we passed as we circled the reservoir.
I also have to mention my eternal gratitude for Mentor Travis. I picked up my Team in Training singlet today and the women’s tanks… well, they’re short. And I’m tall. The resulting combination was a bare midriff look from the 1990s. Not flattering. Fortunately, Travis has a whole drawer of Team race singlets from previous seasons. He graciously offered me his men’s medium singlet which comes down to my hipbones. Happy, happy day! And now I know for future seasons (she says, admitting that there will likely be more Team endurance events in her future).