This morning I met up with the Capital TNT team at City Island. As a team we were either going "about" 8 or "about" 12 miles. I have run all of the course before. I remember my very first run with TNT before I had actually signed up was on most of this course. It is amazing how several months changes how I think about the run up to Negley Park. The first time I ran that hill I thought it was huge... today I was the one saying "this is the only hill on the course... I know we can do this and by the way, it's nothing like the hills at Messiah College." I told myself during this run up the hill "I love hills" and other positive thoughts. Some might think I'm crazy, but hey, it works :-).
A few things to mention about this run. First, I find that when I "fall back" in miles the run is harder than it needs to be because I'm not as mentally prepared as I am for the longer runs. I don't think this impacted me as much today because I intentionally slowed down in general because I wanted to take it easy in this taper run. Second, when you have other runners who are running a similar pace or stride it makes a huge difference. One of my fellow runners and I were running side by side during part of this run and at that point the run felt effortless. This happens sometimes and I hope that there will be times during the last half of the marathon that I find people who are running the same pace as I am.
I'm having a decent time with the taper. My body feels ready for more... which is a great thing. All season I have not been as good with the lower mileage runs, but I haven't missed a single long run (other than when I've had a race in Harrisburg (10K run or Harrisburg Half). I'm pretty proud about this because I've been very consistent with my long runs. This is also true about the "longer" mid week runs. Fortunately, I've been able to get in all of those which has tremendously helped me in the long runs. The reality is that for all of us there is more we could have done. This is not the time to do it. Taper time is the last 2 weeks before the big race where we give our bodies a little bit of break to finish getting ready for the Marathon. I read somewhere that this time (taper time) is a perfect time for me to sharpen my mental abilities and strength.
This experience training for a marathon is one that I will never forget. It has come with so many benefits and also some sacrifices... It's all been worth it. As far as I'm concerned regarding future plans... I plan to run marathons in the future, but with all that is going on at home I think I'm going to at least take off the spring season from official marathon training. I am sure that I'll do a half marathon at some point earlier on in the season than this year. My plan is to keep myself in "half-marathon" shape so that I can be within a month or so of running a half marathon. I do believe that this running thing is to stay... it's just how far and how fast I'll be running that is in question.
Lastly, I want to specifically thank people who have been so helpful in my training. I have to go back to the first part of my training (unofficial training before the MCM training started) with Coach Larry. I am so thankful that he made sure that I did not go too far during that time in March and April so that I could peak when I needed to during this training. Amy - it's been awesome training with you to see how you progressed during your two marathons this year. Shannon - been running some of these miles these during the last month or so. You're such an inspiration to me and I know you'll come back stronger than you were before (and by the way you were pretty strong before!) Liz - thanks for running part of that 10 miler with me on a Monday... that was a tremendous help :-). Coach Mike for all the hard courses you've given us to run over these last several months. Coach Linda - thanks for all the miles you road your bike with me in the past two weeks. Thanks so much for being there even if we didn't talk during the entire time. Eileen and Mark - thanks for being such a huge support and for running with me during some very difficult miles. Ok, I could go on and on and if you're not specifically mentioned here know that you have also made a huge impact on me this season. I also wanted to mention that the support my wife has given me has been so incredible and I truly could not have done it without her!
It's very hard to believe that I just have one more "long run" of 8 miles on Saturday, 10.20.12. Time flies and it has been such a great experience. I plan to still come out after my event. My desire would be that I could come out most weeks, but not every week and run. I'm not certain what events I'll be doing next year, but I would be surprised if it's anything less than a half marathon in both the spring and fall season.
I still am raising money for blood cancer research through my involvement with Team in Training and you can still be involved. Please go http://pages.teamintraining.org/cpa/corps12/natewagner08 to donate. Every dollar counts and is very much appreciated. I have a goal of raising $2,700 by the end of the weekend and I am only about $40 short of that goal. Will you help? My "reaching goal" is to raise $2,900 before the race on 10.28.12.