One week out…

Well, here we are one week away from the big day.

The “taper” has begun, and I am easing into recovery.  Thus, the reason why I am writing this entry in the middle of the day.  It is nice to have a day off but feels odd.

I have put in many long hard hours over the last several months.

The journey almost brings me to tears reflecting on it.

I have lost faith and gained faith in my coach and in myself over and over, but I never strayed from the training plan as much as I wanted to out of fatigue.

Yesterday was a huge race for me.

I came in third for my age category at the Pittsfield, MA Berkshire Ultra Running Club’s 13.1-mile race.  If I had only known how close I was, I would have never lolly gagged taking photos and eating my Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches at the aid station.  I had no idea.  I was just running for the sheer fun of it, finally.

I came in first before last years top age category finisher’s time.

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The course was terrific.  No better than that, it was absolutely stunning.  Challenging ascents but not overly and nice descents that I took advantage of.  Many were complaining about the course being hard, but after some of the recent ones that I have been on, i.e., Jay Peak and my other mountain races, it was a piece of cake for me.  Actually, this was a paltry 2,500 in elevation gain – a piece of cake!  Actually, I was running up some ascents when others were walking.  That felt damn good.

This photo was taken atop of Berry Mountain located at an elevation of 2,201 part of the Tacomic Mountains of Western, MA and New York State.  Stunning…

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All in all, a great effort that restored my confidence for next week.  And, it proved that all of this hard work is starting to pull out my potential as an endurance athlete. It has ground me down to the point of exhaustion, but now I see why.  Perseverance and persistence are my greatest attributes and yesterday shows it is paying off.

Phew, did I sweat that one out?

I even am resurrecting my goal of going to Moab, UT to run 31 miles in the desert in the red rocks in February.

But, let’s keep it within the day.

Or at last next weekend.  I have my “drop bag” prepared with snacks, Tylenol, rain gear, Immodium, wet wipes, and all the usual “drop bag” kinds of stuff.  A “drop bag” is basically your supplies that you can pick up at points along the course as a 31-mile race is not as “supported” as say a road race would be.  So, you must be a bit self-sufficient.

I am having a “take it easy” kind of a running week so that I will be well rested for our big endeavor.  Think of me next Sunday, nearly all day…as I anticipate it will take anywhere between 7 – 9 hours depending on how fatigue sets in and how I handle it.  I have a run, walk, run strategy lined up, and I will work it as best I can.  But, fatigue is the enemy here.  And, thus, all of my back to back runs over the last several months – running on tired legs.

And, I finally hit 1,000 miles running this year.  1,022 to be exact.

Next weekend.

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