Ah, it seemed like just yesterday when there was plenty of time to prepare for the ING Miami Half Marathon. It was light years away.
And now, it's T-minus 13 days.
At this point, it's more an observation in how quickly time passes rather than any sense of panic. Because after this weekend's long run, I feel ready to tackle the 13.1 mile tour of downtown Miami and South Beach.
This week's long run was another two-hour endeavor. While the temperatures and the roads were just fine for outdoor running, I kept my workout on a treadmill. I wanted to be able to control my pace. I wanted the heat and humidity of the gym. And I wanted to mentally challenge myself.
I took the lessons learned from last week's long treadmill run and applied them to this one. Focused on my workout, I let go of the obsession of trying to hit my prescribed workout paces perfectly. Instead, I tried to simulate a road workout, where my speed would vary greatly without me even realizing it. During tempo intervals I played with the speed button on the treadmill, paying close attention to the 40 second countdown intervals on the machine's dashboard. I picked a base pace -- quick but still something I could sustain -- and increased my pace every 40 seconds, falling back for a 40 second recovery to my base pace. My tempo intervals were 10 minutes long and the 40-second game made that time fly by.
At the end of my run I had covered just about the same distance as last week. Only this time I felt so much better. The quality of the run was amazingly good. It was hard and challenging, but I felt confident, even in the last half hour. I straddled the treadmill only twice taking a pair of 1-minute "walk breaks" which, to me, simulated how I approach water stops in a race anyway.
More important than the actual pace and distance was how good I felt. I didn't breeze through the workout physically. Mentally I had to challenge myself, talk myself up that I could do that final 10 minutes of intervals and finish off the workout at my fastest pace. But while there were difficult parts to get through, there was a decided absence of struggle. That made all the difference in my attitude before, during and after.
My volume of workouts begins to decrease this week as I slide into taper during race week.
And I have never felt more ready for a taper to begin.