Monday was the first day of week 16 of a training plan that has succeeded, to a boring degree. I set my sights on a modest increase in my pace in the half marathon, and I’ll know soon if that training plan has succeeded. These 6 days are populated with a mere 11 miles of running.
With only the vaunted (or dreaded) taper remaining, that particular outcome is decided, but unknown. It is Schrodingers race. Right now it has both succeeded and failed, but I will not know until I open the box on Sunday morning and let loose all those tempo runs, all those mile repeats, and try to run 13.1 miles at an 8:43 pace and finish the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon in 1:54:xx.
Over the past few weeks, my training plan hit the 30+ mile weeks that I knew were coming. And at first glance, I felt like I did not do anything new. The plan was so similar to my Pittsburgh plan. And because it was so long, the differences snuck up on me. I haven’t tracked the milestones, but I have turned in some of the fastest, hardest and longest workouts of my entire life this training cycle, and I did it without feeling miserable.
I’ve adjusted my life, my sleeping schedule, and my attitude, to hit those key workouts. I’ve run in the rain, in the dark of night, in the hour before dawn. Things I didn’t do in my last plan, I did here. I did them to achieve a number most people don’t care about, something you can’t even explain. With breaking two hours, people got it. Now, it’s just another 5 minutes. But that is what is left to me, what I drive toward as long as my body will gain another 5 minutes, before I have to change my goals to a different kind of growth. Today I am young, and I am getting fitter, maybe too late to have ever seen what I was truly capable of, but certainly not too late to know what I am capable of now.
So this half marathon is not a milestone. It’s not my first, it’s not my first sub 2. It might be the next PR, but I won’t know that until Sunday. But at some point you go from laying your keystone, to laying just another brick in the wall, and I always said I was in this for the whole building.