The Plan has become a sort of religion for me, complete with Sunday Services.
For weeks, every Sunday, I carved out hours to pay worship to sun, rain, wind and road, to beat myself into a new form, a runner. I have had a plan, a routine. I have metrics and numbers, and goals. I’ve added to my weekly mileage, upped my endurance, crammed 5 miles into a weekday run where before I struggled to get 3 in.
And then I started to taper. No long run Sunday. 4 miles Tuesday, no run Wednesday, 3 tiny miles today. Only 2 tomorrow. And then it’s race weekend, the whole point of this exercise (or maybe, just the tip of the iceberg that is really The Point.). And I’m confident, I’m ready for the race. All the change to my schedule, my 5x a week worship, my daily catechism, I was not ready for. I wasn’t ready for the taper.
Tapering is hard. For some people, it seems to be physical. Cold symptoms, cramps, wild appetite. Not for me. For me, it’s just breaking my mold that’s hard. Hard to tell a random co-worker that I’m only running 3 miles today, only 9 miles this week. Hard to fill in all the yellow squares on my summary log. I’m listening to my body, and doing the right thing this last week, but I want to do more!
But not as bad as I want to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I want to run it strong, and fast, and leave nothing on the table. So right now I have to load up that table with rest and kindness to my body. Not anything it wants, but just a few extra carbs with dinner. Going to sleep early. Running 11 minute miles when it screams to run 10s.
Look out Smithfield Ave. Look out, Roberto Clemente Bridge. Look out Heinz Field. I’m coming. I’m going to storm the Strip District, I’m going to power my way out into the Northside and burn my way down Carson St, and then I’m coming for you, Pittsburgh.
2 days, 17 hours to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. 2 days, 19 hours, 30 minutes to the finish line.