In life, in general, when you say "it's all downhill;" that's not a good thing.
However, when training for a race, that phrase takes on an entirely different connotation; it's a good thing.
When you hit that point in your training when "it's all downhill;" you've got it made. You're on easy street. The hard work is done and there's nothing left to do but cruise on to the main event.
I hit that point today and it feels oh so good!
With 13 miles looming, I met my running partner and we started on our way. For the first three miles my legs felt heavy, my body resisted the effort. Then the course started going uphill and my partner began pulling away, handing me a big piece of humble pie.
When we hit the high point of the course, I sucked down an Espresso Hammer Gel (first time I've ever used a caffeinated gel!) and began to gain some ground. With the wind at our backs and running a flat section of the course with breathtaking views, we switched to negative split mode.
With three miles to go before the nastiest hill on the route, my partner suggested we run at race pace. Ugh. She is one tough cookie, but she pushes me, and that's a good thing. She helps me to be a better runner.
We finished strong and, still having some gas in the tank, sprinted the last leg of the run until we were sucking wind and feeling light-headed and tingly. Gotta love those anaerobic moments.
But we did it and now it's taper time. Race day is two weeks from today; the day that all the training and hard work pays off. I managed my fluids and fuel much better today and felt stronger than I have during the entire past two months of training. It's exactly the feeling you want to have going into race day. I Walked Like an Egyptian over to Cabo Wabo and then Walked on Sunshine down to Panama where I Shocked the Monkey with my negative split, leaving me feeling pretty Crafty when all was said and done.
So, I'm feeling optimistic. I may not set any records on race day or achieve a new PR, but I'm pretty sure I am in a good place to run a race I can feel good about and be proud of.
DC Rock N Roll Half Marathon--Bring it ON!