Less than two weeks remain until the Trials and I am finally getting excited for the race. This past week my fitness finally caught up to where I wanted to be going into the Trials. It has been a long, doubtful road since my last marathon in Daegu. A few weeks ago I was worried that I would not be able to even finish the race but each day I have gotten my training in, hoping that one day soon that I would start to feel fast again. That day has finally come and I am pumped about it.
The past two weeks I have run 120-130 miles and each run I have done has felt better than the last. I started feeling good when I went home last Thursday before Christmas and got some sea level training. I was only home for 5 days, but during that time I ran 92 miles. This sea level training included a 24 mile long run with Danny, where we both completely depleted ourselves. It was motivating that I felt good, but at the same time I was worried because I felt so beat up afterwards.
The next few days were dedicated to recovering and getting my legs sharp and woken up again. I did an easy track workout on Monday and then a long tedious track workout on Wednesday. We drove down to Sedona for Wednesday’s workout, which was 10-15 x 1k with 1 minute rest. The goal was to run and feel comfortable at marathon pace. This workout is what brought me back to life. I sat myself right behind Brett on every single rep, making sure that I didn’t lose an inch on him. This worked for the first 14 reps but on the very last interval he blew me out of the water, running a 2:42 to my 2:55. Despite that it was the best workout I had done in over 5 months. I felt like I was back to my old self again; ready to take on whatever came next.
Well, what came next was yesterday’s 15 mile tempo run out on Lake Mary Road. I was nervous and excited going into it. I wanted to prove to myself that I could run as well as or better than I ever had before, but I was nervous that Wednesday’s workout may have been a fluke. I went out at a pace that I thought was conservative, but it ended up being a 5:16, followed by 5:13, 5:13 for the next two miles. To put this in perspective two weeks before on this same workout my fastest mile was only a 5:13.
I was still feeling good, so I did what I could to keep my pace as even as possible, getting mentally prepared to push the last 4 miles. Through 11 miles I hit everything between 5:13 and 5:18 multiple times, the most consistent I had ever been on a tempo as long as this. My last 4 miles I dialed the pace down and ran 5:06, 5:11, 5:04, and 5:05, finishing with a total time of 1:18:20 (5:13 pace). So my average mile was as fast as my single fastest mile two weeks before. I was pumped!
Now as I write this we have 12 ½ days until race morning. My fitness and my confidence are exactly where I hoped they would be at this point. And if everything keeps increasing like it has the past two weeks, then there is no telling what I will be capable of doing on race day. I know I have a shot of making the team, and of running a personal best. Anything can happen over the course of a marathon, I just need to be ready to put my best performance out there.